Saturday, May 16, 2015

a really nice twist on (homosexual vs. other) orientation and choice...

a really nice twist on (homosexual vs. other) orientation and choice...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

should X unionize? (in this article, X = adjuncts and grad students)

I want to discuss this set of NYT articles and these two groups (adjuncts and grad students), but I also want to answer the question in broader terms to help people apply the principles more generally.

A union is a cartel of labor suppliers. They're striving for more (monopoly) power in their market, as they negotiate compensation (pay, benefits, deferred comp, job conditions/characteristics, etc.) with those who "demand" (rent) labor services.


1.) Is it good for X to form a cartel/union? Likely/maybe. IF they can form the cartel AND keep it together at relatively low cost-- AND IF it enhances their bargaining power sufficiently-- then the benefits may outweigh the costs for them. (The various articles do a nice job in wrestling with the practical concerns here.) 

In a word, it's (far) easier said than done-- to form/maintain an effective cartel-- at least, without the government's help. One practical concern is that the increased bargaining power may not result in sufficient gains, particularly if employers are hamstrung from compensating at an artificially high rate-- e.g., because of budget constraints in the public sector or product market competition in the private sector. That's why government is often encouraged by cartels (as special interest groups) to restrict their competition in product or labor markets, to engage in crony capitalism on their behalf at the expense of the general public.

2.) Is it good for society for X's to form a cartel/union-- in terms of equity (fairness) and efficiency (good for economic growth, society as a whole, etc.)? Unlikely, in a modern, reasonably-developed economy. Why? Because the norm in those settings is competitive labor markets. If workers are relatively free to shop around their skills, then a competitive labor market will take care of them. Even though employers would love to under-compensate, they won't be able to do so, given the presence of many employers. (Why don't engineers get paid $10/hour?) This is akin to competition in product markets-- where firms would love to charge higher prices, allow lower quality, etc., but cannot do so in a competitive environment.

That said, as labor market are less competitive, then a union can be helpful-- in both equity and efficiency terms. Here, think about the Polish labor unions bargaining with a Communist government as a terrific/clear example-- or American baseball players before "free agency". As "monopsony" power for firms increases, the door opens wider for unions to be effective and equitable.

So, how do we know? Two relatively easy tests come to mind. First, you can think through the labor market options for most of the affected workers. If they have few options, then they are more vulnerable, more prone to under-compensation, etc. Second, if you see the cartel using government to lock out competitors, then it's not monopoly power being used against them; it's their (ironic and cynical) pursuit of monopoly power instead.

Finally, so what about adjuncts and grad students? Unless they're in a large city, adjuncts have relatively few options-- in academia. But given their intellect and broad skills (right?), they (should) have many options outside of academia. Whatever the level of monopoly power in this market, it's certainly wisdom for them to have/pursue non-academic jobs and only adjunct on the side.

Grad students generally have a number of options as they enter grad school. (There are certainly exceptions for those who want to enter more specialized fields.) Once they're in a program, it becomes more difficult to leave, increasing the monopoly power of the school/employer. Then again, i
f a school (or even a department) is routinely taking advantage of students, their reputation should take a hit, harming them in the future. That said, wisdom here would be for prospective grad students to research their options thoroughly-- in particular, asking current students how they're being treated as teaching assistants and as they write their dissertations.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

fewer Americans "calling themselves Christians"-- probably (very) good news!

Love/appreciate the NYT editor's choice of title here-- to include "Calling Themselves Christians"
Hopefully, this is an increase in honest atheists, agnostics, and deists. If so, that's good news all around for the Good News.
And hopefully, more "Christians" are moving into discipleship, disciple-making, and making disciple-makers. If so, even though times look a bit darker now, we may look back and recognize that the Kingdom was actually moving forward, even in America.

More detail from Joe Carter at Acton's website...


Looking more globally, here's an interesting point / counterpoint in the WSJ...

what it takes to advocate public policy on "Global Warming"

As an economist or even as a libertarian, there is no necessary problem with public policy to deal with AGW. The conditions? 

If we have 1.) GW; 2.) AGW; and 3.) benefits of AGW greater than its costs, then we have a case of significant negative externalities, violation of property rights, etc. One can then easily make the case for intervention-- on paper. From there, we need public policies that would really work-- benefits > costs; not just in theory but in practice. 

So, for me, none of the first three are slam dunks. And the public policy solutions are far from clear to me. (E.g., what if China does nothing.) That said, IF you're going to do something with the best op to work, it would be a tax on the underlying pollution. Again, the intuition is easy here: the tax should be roughly equal to the social costs created by the pollution (and used to finance solutions to the problems created).

"I want you as you are, not as you ought to be." and then "I want you NOT as you are, BUT as you ought to be."

Reflecting on the first line in Hawk Nelson's catchy new song, "Drops in the Ocean", speaking for Jesus Christ: "I want you as you are, not as you ought to be."

That's the concept of "justification"-- through the grace of God and our acceptance of the gift, it will be "just as if" I'd never sinned. As in the "not saved by good works" of Ephesians 2:8-9. The "rest" in Matthew 11:28. The grace of Romans 5:8's "while we were still sinners". 

But in "sanctification"-- the process by which we are "being transformed into Christ's likeness with ever-increasing glory" in our time on earth; becoming more like Jesus-- it's the exact opposite: "I want you NOT as you are, BUT as you ought to be." The "saved to do good works" of Eph 2:10. The "pick up your cross" of Mt 16:24. The "how much more shall we be saved through his life" of Rom 5:10. 

If you have not yet accepted the grace of God and dealt with "justification", accept the gift today-- come as you are. 

If you have accepted the gift/grace-- but are stuck and stagnant, a fan not a follower of Jesus Christ-- it's time for "sanctification". Don't settle for who you are, but instead, strive through the Spirit to be who the benevolent God wants you to be. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

countries with out a MW

 In U.S. dollars, it's interesting that the following countries all have exactly the same minimum wage: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland.

on Baltimore and the policies that got us there

Thanks to the Democrats for your lovely combo of crony capitalism and well-intentioned poor policies!

I've written at great length about welfare programs as a (the?) primary contributor to family structure/stability problems among the lower and lower-middle income classes. (Here's my review of Murray's Coming Apart-- a must-read on this. See also: Robert Putnam's recent book.) 


My memory is that Baltimore, two decades ago, was the poster-child for out-of-wedlock births and not having fathers in the home. Among African-Americans, the rate has been 70% for quite awhile; among the poor, it's a bit higher; in Baltimore, I think it was 90%. In fact, Baltimore was used in a paper I heard to be an example of the sociological peer pressures of a NORM of single-parent households-- where one would be seen as a freak to have a father involved. 

It doesn't help a culture or a local economy when you're busy jacking things up-- i.e,. the business problem. A bunch of other resources here: William McGurn and Walter Williams on it's not about race; Jonah Goldberg (on the culture of poverty); Larry Elder on entitlement and grievance-- and now, the hard part; Nick Gillespie on liberalism and police violence; and of course, this hilarious piece (with colorful language) from Chris Rock where it is, at least in part, very much about race.




Friday, May 1, 2015

Barbara Brown Taylor on Judas, law and religion (not atheism and anarchy) bringing Jesus to the cross

One of the many nuggets from my readings in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter-- this one from Barbara Brown Taylor. I have her Learning to Walk in the Dark-- and am looking forward to reading her thesis there-- that we're too averse to "the dark", given how God often moves in that medium. This blurb moves her book up my reading list. (It's on my dresser now!) 


One of the many things this story tells us is that Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware of those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware of those who cannot tell God’s will from their own...

No one knows what Judas said. In John’s Gospel he does not say a word, but where he stands says it all. After he has led some 200 Roman soldiers and the temple police to the secret garden where Jesus is praying, Judas stands with the militia. Even when Jesus comes forward to identify himself, Judas does not budge. He is on the side with the weapons and the handcuffs, and he intends to stay there...

I remember being at a retreat once where the leader asked us to think of someone who represented Christ in our lives. When it came time to share our answers, one woman stood up and said, "I had to think hard about that one. I kept thinking, ‘Who is it who told me the truth about myself so clearly that I wanted to kill him for it?"’

letter to the editor on RTW

It doesn't look like the C-J will publish this...
__________________________

I was surprised to read Rep. Greg Stumbo's assessment of my profession in saying that economists see "right-to-work" legislation as something to "declare dead". Economists don't typically describe policies in such terms. Instead, we focus on trying to identify the more subtle benefits and costs of personal decisions, business decisions, and public policies. 

An economist would note that unions are cartels in labor markets and that members of a cartel work together to elevate the price of that which they sell. These artificially high prices will benefit those in the cartel at the expense of society at large. And we should not be surprised by a cartel's opposition to policies that would weaken it (such as "right-to-work").  

One can find research on "both sides" of this issue-- not surprising if you think about it, since such things are quite difficult to measure well. When politicians or self-styled economists only cite one side of the relevant research and only note the benefits or the costs, then you should wonder what they're trying to do to you. And you should know that they're not thinking like an economist.

Government Policy From Before the Cradle to Beyond the Grave

I forgot to post this earlier! This is the longer piece that will appear in the IPR journal (vs. shorter op-ed versions that appeared in newspapers throughout Indiana back in February). 
____________________

Government is supposed to help individuals with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Using this metric, let's see how our government often struggles and how people are damaged as a result, especially the most vulnerable in society. We’ll look at a host of economic and social policies, chronologically—from before the cradle to beyond the grave.

Before the cradle, we start with abortion, where life is snuffed out before it reaches the cradle. Archaic knowledge of science and certain metaphysical views can lead one to believe that life does not begin in the womb. But if one has any doubts, we should obviously err on the side of life, rather than risking fatal errors. (We must go "beyond a reasonable doubt" to put the most serious criminals to death. Why not the same "reasonable" standard here?)

A civilized society should protect the vulnerable. But abortion has a disproportionate impact on the poor and "disadvantaged" minorities. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 42% of abortions are for women below the poverty line; 30% are Black; 25% are Hispanic. At present, there is a great focus on African-Americans and the police. But hundreds more are killed by citizens and thousands more are killed by abortion.

Once out of the womb, we offer “welfare” policies to poorer parents and children—redistribution of wealth based on income and family structure. As a society, we want to help those with fewer resources in more vulnerable family structures—most notably, single-parent households. The problem is that when you provide big resources for those in state X, you inevitably encourage people to enter and remain in state X. As such, our policies have encouraged the poor and lower middle class to bear and raise children in single-parent households. The resulting family instability has caused a range of serious, long-term problems for these children. 

Charles Murray ably describes this in Coming Apart. In the middle and upper income classes, marriage and two-parent households have faded a bit over the last 40 years, but have generally remained strong. But in the lower income classes, the vast majority of children are born and raised in single-parent households—the new norm.

With childhood, we have our government's education system. In pre-K, government offers Head Start for poor children. Unfortunately, research has shown that it’s quite expensive ($8,000 per student) and generally ineffective.

For K-12, parents are usually offered a free education at the government-run school in their neighborhood. The education is free, but the school is assigned. Poorer people, as a captive audience, are prone to abuse by the monopoly power of the local school. Where can they go? Of course, there are profound challenges in teaching within poorer areas. They have a far higher concentration of the social pathologies that generally follow from the single-parent households subsidized by the government. Still, one would not expect a government-run entity with tremendous monopoly power to be the height of efficiency or effectiveness. 

Our War on Drugs naturally leads to Prohibition-style violence and gangs, especially in inner cities. The artificially high profits are a temptation for teens to work in that sector. Sentencing guidelines allow children to engage in crimes with the promise that their records will be expunged when they become adults. Combined with poverty, the prevalence of single-parent households, and less-than-optimal education, the current drug policy provides a wide road from school to prison. 

If one tries to get a legal job, we have many laws that make it more expensive to hire workers. In particular, when productivity is low, artificial increases in compensation can make it prohibitively expensive to hire less-skilled workers. From workers' compensation to the Affordable Care Act, the flip side of trying to help workers is making them more expensive and less employable.

The most famous of these interventions is the minimum wage—where we try to help heads of households who need a "living wage" by making millions of workers more expensive to hire. Even with the policy’s benefits, the costs are troubling and the policy is clearly not well-targeted. 

Other laws serve to lock out workers directly. For example, taxicab medallions erect artificial barriers to entry into a profession that would be ideal for many low-skilled workers. (Uber and Lyft are now rapidly eroding this monopoly power.) Occupational licensing makes it more difficult to get into dozens of professions—for example, hair braiding and working on nails. 
If you're fortunate enough to get a job, many of the working poor get to pay local and state income taxes. In 2013, the National Center for Children in Poverty reports that 16 states impose income taxes on workers at and below the poverty line. In 2011, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported that 24 states imposed income taxes on workers within 125% of the poverty line. 

The federal government won't make you pay income taxes if you're poor (unless you're a one-person household). But they'll nail you with payroll (FICA) taxes on income to finance entitlement programs for retirees: 15.3% of every dollar earned—no deductions, no exemptions, no credits. If you're at the poverty line, you lose about $3,000 per year to FICA. 

Government redistribution is often used to "reverse Robin Hood"—taking money from those with less income to redistribute to those with more income. Two huge examples: First, the federal government subsidizes the purchase of health insurance through employers. This policy causes the bulk of our problems in health insurance and health care, but that's a topic for another day. Here, the problem is that the subsidy is pricey (more than $250 billion per year—$3,250 from the average family of four) and regressive (it disproportionately helps those with more income). Second, the home mortgage interest deduction is also regressive and pricey (another $130 billion—$1,700 per family). 

What about spending your legal take-home pay? Unfortunately, there are a range of policies that drive up the price of food (farm policy), clothing (trade protectionism), shelter (regulations in housing), and health care (dozens of policies). 

When you retire, you’ll hopefully receive Social Security and Medicare from people who are then paying their FICA taxes. Well, Medicare is ok, but they're reducing it now—and will cut it much more in the future. And the rate of return on Social Security now averages 0%—and is less for the poor and disadvantaged minorities (since they die earlier than average). 

Beyond the grave, estate taxes are famous for taxing the same money for a second or third time at death. But for more marginal people, Social Security is their nest egg. In addition to its anemic low rate-of-return, Social Security is only a stream of income, not an asset that can be passed along to descendants—quite a death tax on those with lower incomes!

From before the cradle to beyond the grave, government imposes huge costs on people, even the most marginal in our society. 

why do Democratic politicians prefer MW to EITC?

Why do Dem politicians continue to pant over a higher MW instead of an expanding EITC? They certainly don't mind subsidizing those in the lower-class (e.g., welfare, extended UI, etc.), so something else must be at hand. 

a.) Their amazing penchant for crony capitalism: The former helps unions; the latter harms them.
b.) Politics and the pursuit of power are more important than policy-- and the MW allows them to score cheap political points.
c.) As is common in economics and public policy, they believe in magic and hate logic and science. 
d.) OK, they'll be some job loss, but we give them food stamps, etc.
e.) A surprising lack of policy imagination / knowledge, esp. for such smart people.

E is least likely since we already have this policy on the books, big-time. I'll vote for A and B, with some combo of C and D.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

brief review of "The Hobbit Party"

If you're into politics, economics and culture-- and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings-- then Witt and Richards' The Hobbit Party is a must-read book for you. If not, on either category, then just keep on moving!

In part, their book is a defense against various claims about Tolkien. In part, it's a series of assertions about how to properly interpret Tolkien's work with respect to politics, economics, and culture. 

They rely heavily on TLOTR itself, but at times, seek extra-book sources (such as his letters and other writings). In particular, his experience with war (WWI), family (torn up with the death of his mother), and rural vs. urban (having to the move to the city after his mom's death)-- are all portrayed as crucial to his worldview and writings. 

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with Tolkien or TLOTR to read their book all that critically. But most of it sounds quite reasonable. 

In the authors' hands, Tolkien...

-valued freedom over power, with its illusions, deceits, and general nastiness

-was critical of crony capitalism and especially "gatherers/sharers"

-was not a distributist (with its attractive general properties, but its internal contradictions-- e.g., looking to the power of government to ethically and practically regulate "power" outside of government)

-was local-oriented, but not provincial

-was certainly ok with technology-- neither to the point of worship of being a Luddite

-small was fine and probably preferable, but big was certainly ok-- as long as it was not for its own sake

-was earthy, valued culture (broadly construed) and fertility; in this sense, he is Wendell Berry-esque

-was critical of those who would try to cheat death and limits-- and the curse and blessings of same

-valued individuals over aggregates, but valued subsidiarity within community

-not fond of war or an advocate of pacifism; his beliefs would be consistent with "Just War" theories

My favorite story: Jonathan Witt's story about trying to have chickens at his three-acre home outside of Grand Rapids, in semi-rural Michigan (27-30). By zoning laws, he is allowed to own a horse, "a pack of large, snarling dogs and half a dozen roaming cats"-- but not a single cow, chicken, or goat. He noted that the subsequent fertilizer and a goat would be friendlier to the environment than the alternatives. They sought a statute, but it eventually failed with a tie vote. He wonders whether the commissioners asked themselves, "What moral right do I have to deny my fellow citizens" this right?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Smith's "Good and Beautiful God"

I finally read The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows, the first of the James Bryan Smith "Apprentice Series". (The good and beautiful "Life" and "Community" follow "God" in the trilogy.) He sees these forming a "curriculum for Christlikeness" (13, 14). This phrase comes from Dallas Willard's awesome book, The Divine Conspiracy, and was one of many inspirations for our Thoroughly Equipped (DC)

As an aside, Smith's goals for multiplication and disciple-making are less direct than ours in DC. In the intro, he mentions leading three groups of 25 people through a 30-week course he developed. I'm confident that his mentees were greatly influenced by this-- often in a life-changing way: "...the results have always been the same: significant life change.") By way of comparison and contrast, DC is longer (21 months) and seemingly more intense; it relies far less on the initial source (Kurt and I have only led 50 of our 2000 "graduates"); and it is more explicitly focused on multiplying disciple-makers. 

First, Smith's overview of his own journey and his amazing set of mentors. He refers to himself as "the Forrest Gump of the Christian world" (10). It's funny and true, with mentors like Willard, Richard Foster, Rich Mullins, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning!

As for the book's structure, there are nine chapters, seven covering a principle about God's character. (The intro chapter asks about the reader's goals; the concluding chapter reminds us that the process of discipleship and sanctification takes a lot of time.) Each chapter concludes with a relevant activity/exercise in "soul training". (These exercises are commonly called "spiritual disciplines", but Smith wants to avoid that term.) Each exercise can be practiced individually, but is ideally done in community for accountability, comparing notes, etc. The seven principles: God is good, trustworthy, generous, love, holy, self-sacrificing, and He transforms.

Another key theme for Smith is "false vs. true narratives" and its application appears in every chapter. We convince ourselves on things about God that aren't true-- and get ourselves in a lot of trouble, theologically and practically (25-26). These should be replaced by true narratives (Rom 12:1-2, Col 3:2, Phil 2:5). 

The false narrative where Smith brings the most value (alone, worth the price of the book): chapter 6 (esp. p. 115-125) on "God loves sinners but hates sin". Smith observes that we usually err in one of two ways, elevating God's wrath against "sinners" and/or diminishing his passion against sin. Smith quotes Romans 11:22 on the kindness and severity of God". But he notes that "Integrating God's love and his wrath is difficult. Most people don't; they simply decide to go one way or the other." (118) 

Key points: "The cushy, fuzzy god is neither biblical nor truly loving...powerless to stand against this darkness...the wrath of God is a beautiful part of the majesty and love of God...The wrath of God is not a crazed rage but rather a consistent opposition to sin and evil...the wrath of God is pathos not passion...God is never described by Paul as being angry...Wrath is not a permanent attribute of God [but] is contingent upon human sin...Wrath is not something that God is, but something that God does. While it is correct to say that God is holy, it is not correct to say God is wrathful. Wrath is the just act of a holy God toward sin." (116-117, 120-121, 123)

Other stuff:
-Smith is careful to balance God's provision and our participation:  God's grace within justification and here, sanctification-- but also our work within that grace through the disciplines and otherwise. 

-Smith explains the origins of Brennan Manning's first name (142): His original name was Ray but he changed it after his best friend Brennan saved his life by diving on a grenade. Wow!

-Some really good stuff from Smith on Psalm 23: God is present, pure, and powerful; and He provides, pardons, and protects (60-62). "Psalm 23 is a beautiful expression of the kingdom of God, in which God is with us, caring and providing for us, and blessing us, even in trying circumstances...this psalm is not primarily for funerals but for everyday life...Try to recite this psalm before you fall asleep each night and again when you awake...This psalm contains a narrative about the exceedingly generous God. By letting the images wash over your mind, you imbed this true narrative into your soul." (90-91)

-Smith is good on why we should not underestimate what God has done in dealing with the power of sin as well as the guilt of sin (153). This reminds me of Watchman Nee in The Normal Christian Life on God dealing with sin and "the sin factory". Smith compares Christians saying "I'm just a sinner saved by grace." to "I'm just a worm with wings." before asking "Why would a butterfly want to act like a worm?" (156)

-I LOL'ed at this quote on the common idea that we're too busy, choosing the good over the best: "Most of us do not need to eliminate bad things from our lives...Which should I keep? Bible reading or recreational drug use?" (181) And he repeats a funny/telling story of Dallas Willard communicating wisdom to John Ortberg on the occasion of him taking a new, demanding role in ministry. Willard's only counsel: "Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." (183) Smith concludes "It is possible to act quickly without hurrying...Hurry is an inner condition..." (183)

-Finally, I like Willard's line that God can only bless you where you're at. In contrast, we're often trying to get out of various circumstances. Smith runs with that theme and offers an exercise to help: He tells his son that they can leave a place (where the boy is bored) when he notices five things about the place he hadn't noticed before. After his boy found the first thing, here is "the amazing thing. Instead of wanting to leave right away, he kept looking around." (172) The punch-line: "Stop feeling bored and start enjoying life." (173) Or quoting Robin Myers: "In every waking hour, a sacred theater is in session, played out before an audience that is largely blind." (185)

Laubach's "Game of Minutes"

Awhile back, I picked up an attractive version of a mini-book with excerpts of work by Frank Laubach. Perhaps I had heard of him prior, but Dallas Willard was a big fan and wrote/talked about him intermittently on Laubach's efforts to live out the Spirit-filled life.

This version has two parts. The first three-quarters are excerpts from Laubach's letters to his father on this topic. The last quarter is Laubach's tract, entitled "The Game with Minutes". (I'd recommend reading the latter first; it should make the first part more understandable.) 

"Christ has not saved the world from its present terrifying dilemma. The reason is obvious: few people are getting enough of Christ to save either themselves or the world. Take the United States, for example. Only a third of the population belongs to a Christian church. Less than half of this third attend service regularly. Preachers speak about Christ in perhaps one service in four—thirty minutes a month! Good sermons, many of them excellent, but too infrequent in presenting Christ. Less than ten minutes a week given to thinking about Christ by one-sixth of the people is not saving our country or our world; for selfishness, greed, and hate are getting a thousand times that much thought. What a nation thinks about, that it is. We shall not become like Christ until we give Him more time..." (87-88)

How to do this? A study hour and "we make him our inseparable chum" by "calling Him to mind at least one second of each minute". (89) Laubach observes that "While these two practices take all our time, yet they do not take it away from any good enterprise." (89)

More specifically, Laubach observes that "Experience has told us that good resolutions are not enough. We need to discipline our lives to an ordered regime. The ‘Game with Minutes’ is a rather lighthearted name for such a regime in the realm of the spirit...a new name for something as old as Enoch, who ‘walked with God.’...We call this a ‘game’ because it is a delightful experience and an exhilarating spiritual exercise; but we soon discover that it is far more than a game. Perhaps a better name for it would be ‘an exploratory expedition’...

Practices that would help (98): have a picture of Christ in your field of view; place an empty chair in settings to remind you that he is present; hum a favorite hymn; pray silently for those around you; and whisper inside asking God to put his thoughts in your mind and his words in your mouth.
 

Some other good quotes: 
-Laubach (97) also recommends that we learn to "see double", as Christ does-- we see the person as he is and the person Christ longs to make him."

-"One cannot worship God and Mammon for the reason that God slips out and is gone as soon as we try to seat some other unworthy affection besides Him...Not because God is a jealous God but because sincerity and insincerity are contradictions." (26)
-"...pray inwardly for everybody one meets...grows easier as the habit becomes fixed. Yet it transforms life into heaven. Everybody takes on a new richness and all the world seems tinted with glory." (75)
-He divides people into how they would answer these three questions "Do you believe in God?", "Are you acquainted with God?", and "Is God your friend?". (77)