Broadmeadow United Methodist Church, Jackson, MS. Photo taken by Quiet Bubble on 17 February 2008.

“Christians cannot speak of Christ as exclusive, but perhaps we can speak of commitment as exclusive. While we can recognize both the truth of other glimpses of the Divine and the power of other communities of faith, we cannot be seriously committed to multiple centers, as much as we may appreciate them. The language of faith is the language of affection, of affirmation and commitment. It is, as we have seen, the language of mahatmya, of untrammeled praise. It is, as Bishop Krister Stendahl puts it, ‘love language,’ analogous to the language we use when we say to someone we love, ‘You’re the only one in the world for me.’ It does not mean, ‘I have systematically surveyed everyone in the world and have chosen you.’ It means, simply and powerfully, ‘I love you.’ Faith requires the cherishing and deepening of commitment that is fundamental to any relationship. And the language of faith is the language of love, not of judgment.”

—Diana L. Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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2 Responses to Commonplace

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hey, neat quote! In fact, I think I have that book, right here on my bookshelf. Oh, wait… In the margins are intelligent, concise notes written in pencil, by… the owner… who is, uh… you.
    I think I stole your copy. Did you go buy another one? Because if you did, I owe you $$.
    I’ve never seen anyone navigate their way through the challenging waters of the appreciation of multiple faiths with as much grace and dexterity as Diana Eck. I’m inspired every time I pick up the book I freakin’ stole from you, like, ten years ago.

  2. Walter says:

    Yep, what you have is undoubtedly my book. I let you borrow it a few years back. But no worries: I found a used copy in Portland back in 2005 for, like, $3. (Although I would be curious to know what I wrote in the margins back when I was in college.) Eck’s amazing, and a hero of mine. I’m rereading Encountering God for the first time since college. By the way, did you know that she’s married to Reverend Dorothy Austin, which makes them the first same-sex couple to head a house at Harvard? (Seriously.)

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