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  1. I liked Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.”

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

2. I liked the following quote from Hans Boersma’s book Scripture as Real Presence: Sacramental Exegesis in the Early Church. 

The way we think about the relationship between God and the world is immediately tied up with the way we read Scripture. This is something easily lost sight of, yet of crucial significance. I suspect we often treat biblical interpretation as a relatively value-free endeavor, as something we’re equipped to do once we’ve acquired both the proper tools (biblical languages, an understanding of how grammar and syntax work, the ability to navigate concordances and computer programs, etc.) and a solid understanding of the right method (establishing the original text and translating it, determining authorship and original audience, studying historical and cultural context, figuring out the literary genre of the passage, and looking for themes and applicability). Such an approach, even when it does recognize the interpreter’s dependence upon the Spirit’s guidance, treats the process of interpretation as patterned on the hard sciences. In other words, the assumption is that the way to read the Bible is by following certain exegetical rules, which in turn are not affected by the way we think of how God and the world relate to each other. Metaphysics, on this assumption, doesn’t affect interpretation (5–6).

For further reading, see my article, “In Praise of Christian Dogmatics and Theological Retrieval.”

3. I liked Thomas Watson’s sermon “Parting Counsels,” in Sermons of the Great Ejection (1663; repr. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2020). This is a collection of sermons preached by various Puritans before they were ejected from their pulpits by the Church of England.

I found Watson’s fourteenth parting counsel to his congregation quite convicting, to say the least: “Be more afraid of sin than of suffering. . . . He that will commit sin to prevent suffering, is like a man that lets his head be wounded to save his shield and helmet” (172, 173).