Preaching Connection: Irony

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Reading for Preaching

The Four Loves

“I am old enough to remember the sad case of  Dr. Quartz.  No university boasted a more effective or devoted teacher.  He spent the whole of himself on his pupils.  He made an indelible impression on nearly all of them.  He was the object of much well-merited hero worship.  Naturally, and delightfully, they continued to...
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Cannery Row

“’It has always seemed strange to me,’” said Doc, ‘that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest: sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality...
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“A Note on Dedications”

“In an article on book acknowledgments and dedications, Joseph Epstein mentions a dissertation writer who, having been disdained and neglected by his dissertation adviser, converted the thesis into a book and faced the issue of how to acknowledge the role [of his advisor] through all his bitterness. Thus: ‘This is the place to acknowledge my...
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“On Golf”

Quotes British journalist Alistair Cooke: golf has always been popular among Calvinists because “’it is a method of self-torture, disguised as a game, which would entrap irreligious youth into the principles of what was to become known first as Calvinist, and then, through Calvinism, as ‘golf.’ The main tenets of this faith are that life...
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Sullivan’s Sting

Ironies. “I’ve had a lot of experience with hard cases, and I’ve learned one thing about them: none are completely bad. A rapist can be devoted to a sick mother. A safecracker can help support his church. Even a murderer can drag a kid out of a burning house. None of us is one-dimensional.”
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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

In the 1920s and 30s Robert Moses built parks all over New York, and beaches and beach houses that became models and showplaces for the world. But it sometimes appeared to observers that though he ostensibly built them for the poor of NY city to have a place to play and bathe, he actually didn’t...
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Chutzpah

Contrary to the widely held view that in Japan and Germany after WW II the United States was at its finest because of the way it raised former enemy nations back on their feet, Dershowitz argues that “the rebuilding of postwar Germany into one of the world’s most affluent nations is a moral disgrace.” Germany...
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“What Every Boy Should Know,” in his All the Days and Nights

“Shortly before his twelfth birthday Edward Gellert’s eyes were opened and he knew that he was naked.” Maxwell tells us obliquely that Edward has begun to masturbate and that the knowledge that he is doing so torments him. In church, p. 82: “Pure, self-centered, a moral outcast, he sat through church, in his blue serge...
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The Brothers K

Peter Chance, in India on a Fulbright, stayed in a guest house for three weeks at the University of New Delhi, a room that came with a servant. Peter is embarrassed by the man’s constant attentions for 36 cents a day, and tries to relieve him of all responsibilities. Peter requested that the servant be...
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Interview of Christopher Andrew, co-author of The Sword and the Shield

Andrew told how the KGB hated Martin Luther King, Jr., and wanted to harm him. They rejoiced in his assassination because he was a healer. He was a reconciler who was preventing the race war the KGB wanted, and had been seeking to ignite for at least a decade by a policy of sowing racial...
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A Circle of Quiet

“There are educationists (as jargon has it) who think that creativity itself can be taught, and who write learned, and frequently dull, treatises on it.”
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Memoirs

Gromyko tells how Che Guevera became head of the National Bank of Cuba in 1959. Fidel Castro asked the assembled leaders of his revolution, ‘Tell me, friends, which of you is an economist?’ ‘Che paused. ‘I thought he had said, ‘Which of you is a communist?’ so straightway I said, ‘I am,’ at which he...
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