Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.

I believe:

“Thou art Love, and Love alone.” (Frederic William Farrar)

And yet:

“…some who cry the name of Christ
Live more remote from love
Than some who cry to a void they cannot name.” (Christian Wiman, “Into the Instant’s Bliss”)

I believe:

“In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.” (Barack Obama, Jan. 8, 2008)

And yet:

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” (James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son)

I believe:

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.” (Leigh Harline and Ned Washington, “When You Wish Upon a Star”)

And yet:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”)

I believe:

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, NRSV)

And yet:

“And through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20, NRSV)

I believe:

“All is toilsome in the kingdom of the earth
Fate’s decree overturns the world under the heavens
Here wealth is frail, here friend is frail,
Here man is frail, here kin is frail.
The whole foundation of this earth is fading.” (“The Wanderer,” my translation)

And yet:

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” (Haldir, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)

I believe:

“The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.” (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions)

And yet:

“Lord, save me from gloomy saints!” (St. Teresa of Ávila)

I believe:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, NRSV)

And yet:

“I will not say: do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” (Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)

I believe:

“In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don’t imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try.” (Rev. John Ames, Marilynne Robinson, Gilead)

And yet:

“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle)

These things I believe.

And yet:

“I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, ’This is what I believe. Finished.’ What I believe is alive … and open to growth.” (Madeleine L’Engle)

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