Prayer is connecting with God/Ultimate Reality. It is not an attempt to change God’s mind about us or about events. Such arrogance is what unbelievers make fun of—and often rightly so. Prayer is primarily about changing our own mind so that things like infinity, mystery, and forgiveness can resound within us.
.. Instead of presenting a guarded self to the moment, prayer stops defending or promoting its ideas and feelings, and waits for, expects, and receives guidance from Another. It offers itself naked to the now, so that our inner and aroused lover can meet the Lover. Such prayer takes major surgery of heart, mind, and inner sight. Prayer is about changing you, not about changing God.
.. Most simply put, prayer is something that happens to you (Romans 8:26-27), much more than anything you privately do. It is an allowing of the Big Self more than an assertion of the small self. Eventually you will find yourself preferring to say, “Prayer happened, and I was there” more than “I prayed today.”
.. Afterward you know instinctively that your life is not about you, but you are about Life. “I live now not I, but Another Life lives in me,” to paraphrase Paul’s poetic words (Galatians 2:20).
This does not mean you are morally or psychologically perfect. Not at all. But you will now have the freedom to recognize your failings and to grow and love better because of them.
My taste for hate reading began with “The Fountainhead,” which I opened in a state of complete ignorance as bonus material for a college class on 20th-century architecture. I knew nothing of Ayn Rand or of objectivism.
.. What stuck was the abiding knowledge that I was not, nor would I ever be, a libertarian.
.. It was only by burrowing through books that I hated, books that provoked feelings of outrage and indignation, that I truly learned how to read. Defensiveness makes you a better reader, a closer, more skeptical reader: a critic. Arguing with the author in your head forces you to gather opposing evidence. You may find yourself turning to other texts with determination, stowing away facts, fighting against the book at hand. You may find yourself developing a point of view.
.. loathing is mixed with other emotions — fear, perverse attraction, even complicated strains of sympathy. This is, in part, what makes negative book reviews so compelling.
.. the authors were too credulous of certain research, and in ways that served their thesis.
.. It can be interesting, and instructive, when a book provokes animosity. It may tell you more about a subject or about yourself, as a reader, than you think you know. It might even, on occasion, challenge you to change your mind.
.. an even more stimulating excitement comes from finding someone else who hates the same book as much as you do
Judy Banks, a 70-year-old struggling to get by, said she voted for Trump because “he was talking about getting rid of those illegals.” But Banks now finds herself shocked that he also has his sights on funds for the Labor Department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program
.. Some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots, some from a belief that budgets are complicated, and some from a sense that it’s too early to abandon their man. They did say that if jobs didn’t reappear, they would turn against him.
.. One recent survey found that only 3 percent of Trump voters would vote differently if the election were today