— the Overwhelming First
"it is not possible to be ‘incidentally a Christian’. The fact of Christianity must be overwhelmingly first or nothing. This suggests a reason for the dislike of Christians by nominal or non Christians: their lives contain no overwhelming firsts but many balances."
"to believe with certainty, somebody said, one has to begin by doubting. Wherever it began, what it was was a coming together of disparate things - - our love for each other and for beauty, our longing for unpressured time and the night of the cold sea-fire on Grey Goose, the quality of our Christian friends and the Oxford built by hands and the Oxford that I saw in the face of the Warden of All Souls. They came together in focus, and the Light fell upon them."
"it is like the disguised prince in the fairy tale who wins a heroine’s love before she knows he is anything more than a woodcutter. What would be a bribe if it came first had better to come last."
"Kierkegaard’s life is more relevant to his work than is the case for many writers. Much of the thrust of his critique of Hegelianism is that its system of thought is abstracted from the everyday lives of its proponents. This existential critique consists in demonstrating how the life and work of a philosopher contradict one another. Kierkegaard derived this form of critique from the Greek notion of judging philosophers by their lives rather than simply by their intellectual artefacts. The Christian ideal, according to Kierkegaard, is even more exacting since the totality of an individual’s existence is the artefact on the basis of which s/he is judged by God for h/er eternal validity. Of course a writer’s work is an important part of h/er existence, but for the purpose of judgement we should focus on the whole life not just on one part."