More Memorable Hamel-isms


Here are 15 more memorable Hamel-isms culled from my forthcoming book, Stumbling Toward Heaven. These are of the theological variety:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when of the Godhead we conceive.”

“Catholic guilt is not as powerful as Jewish guilt, but it’s still pretty strong.”

“God is the author of all possibilities, but as to specifics, if you give him credit for blessings, consistency requires he be held culpable for evil. These are two sides of the same coin; one that religious people don’t flip very often.”

“If you picture God as a powerful magnet, the poles he creates are faith and doubt.”

“God is more like a Jedi mentor than a stage mom. Guiding by principle is more his style than manipulating by force of personality.”

“Thinking about human suffering is like trying to ride a bull. Most efforts are short-lived and you can wind up getting the faith kicked out of you.”

“All attempts to ignore pain and suffering are fruitless; just ask the father of the Buddha.”

“Does it bother anyone else when guiding principles are lifted from grisly events and sanitized into spiritual maxims?”

“Theology reveals more about its authors than its subject.”

“Asking questions is not a sin, even if we sometimes come up with the wrong answers.”

“Curiosity comes from being made in God’s image. If he weren’t curious, we wouldn’t be here.”

“Changing our minds can either be a sign of gullibility or maturity; it takes some of the former to acquire the latter.”

“We each have a native tongue when it comes to communicating with God. These spiritual languages are shaped by distinct histories and cultures, myths and metaphors, traditions and rituals. Fortunately, God has a good ear for languages.”

“All Scripture is ‘God breathed,’ but the vocabulary and accent are human.”

“Most religions teach that God is incomprehensible, and then proceed to diagram him/her/it to the nth degree.”

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4 thoughts on “More Memorable Hamel-isms

  1. “God is the author of all possibilities, but as to specifics, if you give him credit for blessings, consistency requires he be held culpable for evil …”

    My thought would be we give God credit for the blessings and hold Him accountable for allowing free will. Free will leaves open the possibility for evil.

    1. This is true in a universal sense, but I’m thinking here more of Providence. We praise God for the “miracle” of a healing but don’t hold him accountable for the 10 other people in the service who were prayed for and died anyway. A fireman arrives at a fire he didn’t set and saves two people from the flames yet leaves eight others inside. How should he be treated by the community?

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