Children of God (The Sparrow #2)

And you believe you will succeed, where God has failed me?

Celestina Giuliani learned the word "slander" at her cousin's baptism.

Cynicism and foul language are the only vices I'm presently capable of. Everything else takes energy or money. (64)

...[Emilio] felt once more the strangely visceral thrill of trying to disprove a hypothesis he suspected was robust.

God's got a lot of explaining to do. Of course, God never explains. When life breaks your heart, you're just supposed to pick up the pieces and start all over, I guess.

How can you hear your soul if everyone is talking?

Indulge me, John. Cynicism and foul language are the only vices I'm presently capable of. Everything else takes energy or money.

Isaac didn’t understand heartache. Or regret or longing or divided loyalties. Or anger or shattered trust or betrayal. Such things had no clarity. They involved expectations of another’s behavior, and Isaac had no such expectations.

It is a scholar’s task to find patterns in nature or cycles in history. Initially, it’s no different from finding portraits of animals and heroes in the stars. The question is, Have you discovered a preexisting truth? Or have you imposed an arbitrary meaning on whatever it is you’re considering?

it seemed entirely possible to him that religion and literature and art and music were all merely side effects of a brain structure that comes into the world ready to make language out of noise, sense out of chaos. Our capacity for imposing meaning, he thought, is programmed to unfold the way a butterfly’s wings unfold when it escapes the chrysalis, ready to fly. We are biologically driven to create meaning. And if that’s so, he asked himself, is the miracle diminished? It

Love is a debt, she thought. When the bill comes, you pay in grief.

Love is a debt, she thought. When the bill comes, you pay in grief.

Maybe God is only the most powerful poetic idea we humans’re capable of thinkin’,” he said one night, after a few drinks. “Maybe God has no reality outside our minds and exists only in the paradox of Perfect Compassion and Perfect Justice. Or maybe,” he suggested, slouching back in his chair and favoring her with a lopsided, wily grin, “maybe God is exactly as advertised in the Torah. Maybe, along with all its other truths and beauties, Judaism preserves for each generation of us the reality of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses—the God of Jesus.” A cranky, uncanny God, D.W. called Him. “A God with quirky, unfathomable rules, a God who gets fed up with us and pissed off! But quick to forgive, Sofia, and generous,

My experience is that many things are not as bad as I thought they would be.

Now, finally, he was in a place where none of that made any difference, where he was simply an Earthman. Only here had he come to understand that he was not a battleground—to be divided and conquered by his grandparents—but a garden, where each person who’d contributed to his existence longed to see that something of themselves had taken root and grown. For

Once I told Ha?anala about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. . . . I told her how Abraham bargained with God for the lives of ten righteous men who might have lived there. She said to me, ?Abraham should have taken the babies from the cities. The babies were innocent.?

Rain falls on everyone, lightning strikes some. What cannot be changed is best forgotten. God made the world, and He saw that it was good. Not fair. Not happy. Not perfect. Good.

...she was, after all, a practical woman and the daughter of an economist.

She was held in the tension just before movement, about to walk back toward the house. Later she would think, If I had turned away, I'd have missed the moment he fell in love.
He would not remember it that way. What he experienced was not so much the beginning of love as a cessation of pain.

Show God what yer made of, man. Pucker up and kiss the cross.

Stability and order have always been paid for with captivity and blood. (76)

the past was not dead but alive, and important by virtue of the very invisibility of its influence.

The problem with atheism, I find, under these circumstances, is that I have no one to despise but myself. If, however, I choose to believe that God is vicious, then at least I have the solace of hating God.

The sign of a good decision is the multiplicity of reasons for it.

...trust in God could impose an additional burden on good people slammed to their knees by some senseless tragedy. An atheist might be no less staggered by such an event, but nonbelievers often experienced a kind of calm acceptance: shit happens, and this particular shit happened to them. It could be more difficult for a person of faith to get to his feet precisely because he had to reconcile God's love and care with the stupid, brutal fact that something irreversibly terrible had happened.

We meant well, she thought, looking up at a sky piled with cumulus clouds turning amethyst and indigo above the clearing. No one was deliberately evil. We all did the best we could. Even so, what a mess we made of everything …

What is it in humans that makes us so eager to believe ill of one another? ... What makes us so hungry for it? Failed idealism, he suspected. We disappoint ourselves and then look around for other failures to convince ourselves: it's not just me. (15)

Wisdom begins when you discover the difference between "That doesn't make sense" and "I don't understand.

You know, I’ve always thought it was a tactical mistake for God to love us in the aggregate, when Satan is willing to make a special effort to seduce each of us separately.

Your Holiness, we are more than prepared to concede that overpopulation alone is not the sole cause of poverty and misery,” Giuliani began. “Fatuous oligarchies,” Gelasius suggested. “Ethnic paranoia. Whimsical economic systems. An enduring habit of treating women like dogs …