There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place.
The next best thing to being really inside Christendom is to be really outside it.
It is well with the boy when he lives on his father’s land; and well with him again when he is far enough from it to look back on it and see it as a whole. But these people have got into an intermediate state, have fallen into an intervening valley from which they can see neither the heights beyond them nor the heights behind. They cannot get out of the penumbra of Christian controversy. They cannot be Christians and they can not leave off being Anti-Christians. Their whole atmosphere is the atmosphere of a reaction: sulks, perversity, petty criticism. They still live in the shadow of the faith and have lost the light of the faith.
Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgements; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard. He does not judge Christianity calmly as a Confucian would; he does not judge it as he would judge Confucianism. He cannot by an effort of fancy set the Catholic Church thousands of miles away in strange skies of morning and judge it as impartially as a Chinese pagoda.
It would be better to see the whole thing as something belonging to another continent, or to another planet. It would be more philosophical to stare indifferently at bonzes than to be perpetually and pointlessly grumbling at bishops. It would be better to walk past a church as if it were a pagoda than to stand permanently in the porch, impotent either to go inside and help or to go outside and forget. For those in whom a mere reaction has thus become an obsession, I do seriously recommend the imaginative effort of conceiving the Twelve Apostles as Chinamen. In other words, I recommend these critics to try to do as much justice to Christian saints as if they were Pagan sages.
– G.K. Chesterton
Adonai, God of my salvation,
when I cry out to you in the night,
let my prayer come before you,
turn your ear to my cry for help!
For I am oversupplied with troubles,
which have brought me to the brink of Sheol.
I am counted among those going down to the pit,
like a man who is beyond help,
left by myself among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave —
you no longer remember them;
they are cut off from your care.
You plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
into dark places, into the depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
your waves crashing over me keep me down.
You separated me from my close friends,
made me repulsive to them;
I am caged in, with no escape;
my eyes grow dim from suffering.
I call on you, Adonai, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
Will you perform wonders for the dead?
Can the ghosts of the dead rise up and praise you?
Will your grace be declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Will your wonders be known in the dark,
or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?
But I cry out to you, Adonai;
my prayer comes before you in the morning.
So why, Adonai, do you reject me?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Since my youth I have been miserable, close to death;
I am numb from bearing these terrors of yours.
Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me,
your terrors have shriveled me up.
They surge around me all day like a flood,
from all sides they close in on me.
You have made friends and companions shun me;
darkness is my closest friend.