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Robert Farrar Capon quotes (showing 1-30 of 70)

“I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work.
Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm.”
Robert Farrar Capon
“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Do you seriously envision St. Paul or Calvin or Luther opening bottles of Welch's Grape Juice in the sacristy before the service? Luther at least would turn over in his grave.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Trust him. And when you have done that, you are living the life of grace. No matter what happens to you in the course of that trusting - no matter how many waverings you may have, no matter how many suspicions that you have bought a poke with no pig in it, no matter how much heaviness and sadness your lapses, vices, indispositions, and bratty whining may cause you - you believe simply that Somebody Else, by his death and resurrection, has made it all right, and you just say thank you and shut up. The whole slop-closet full of mildewed performances (which is all you have to offer) is simply your death; it is Jesus who is your life. If he refused to condemn you because your works were rotten, he certainly isn't going to flunk you because your faith isn't so hot. You can fail utterly, therefore, and still live the life of grace. You can fold up spiritually, morally, or intellectually and still be safe. Because at the very worst, all you can be is dead - and for him who is the Resurrection and the Life, that just makes you his cup of tea.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“But all the while, there was one thing we most needed even from the start, and certainly will need from here on out into the New Jerusalem: the ability to take our freedom seriously and act on it, to live not in fear of mistakes but in the knowledge that no mistake can hold a candle to the love that draws us home. My repentance, accordingly, is not so much for my failings but for the two-bit attitude toward them by which I made them more sovereign than grace. Grace - the imperative to hear the music, not just listen for errors - makes all infirmities occasions of glory.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers? Why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“...there is therefore now no condemnation for two reasons: you are dead now; and God, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, has been dead all along. The blame game was over before it started. It really was. All Jesus did was announce that truth and tell you it would make you free. It was admittedly a dangerous thing to do. You are a menace. Be he did it; and therefore, menace or not, here you stand: uncondemned, forever, now. What are you going to do with your freedom?”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Man was made to lead with his chin; he is worth knowing only with his guard down, his head up and his heart rampant on his sleeve.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself-and it is our glory to see it so and to thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Every real thing is a joy, if only you have eyes and ears to relish it, a nose and tongue to taste it.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron's beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true men - to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve Thee as Thou hast blessed us - with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Amen.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Parables are told only because they are true, not because the actions of the characters in them can be recommended for imitation. Good Samaritans are regularly sued. Fathers who give parties for wayward sons are rightly rebuked, Employers who pay equal wages for unequal work have labor-relations problems. And any Shepherd who makes a practice of leaving ninety-nine sheep to chase after a lost one quickly goes out of the sheep-ranching business.
The parables are true only because they are like what God is like, not because they are models for us to copy. It is simply a fact that the one thing we dare not under any circumstances imitate is the only thing that can save us. The parables are, one and all, about the foolishness by which Grace raises the dead. They apply to no sensible process at all - only to the divine insanity that brings everything out of nothing.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Only miracle is plain; it is in the ordinary that groans with the weight of glory.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“What is good is difficult, and what is difficult is rare.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“The life of grace is not an effort on our part to achieve a goal we set ourselves. It is a continually renewed attempt simply to believe that someone else has done all the achieving that is needed and to live in relationship with that person, whether we achieve or not. If that doesn't seem like much to you, you're right: it isn't. And, as a matter of fact, the life of grace is even less than that. It's not even our life at all, but the life of that Someone Else rising like a tide in the ruins of our death.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“We live in an age in which saving is subterfuge for spending. No doubt you sincerely believe that there is margarine in your refrigerator because it is more economical than butter. But you are wrong. Look in your bread drawer. How many boxes of cute snack crackers are there? How many packages of commercial cookies reeking of imitation vanilla badly masked with oil of coconut? How many presweetened breakfast cereals? Tell me now that you bought the margarine because you couldn't afford butter. You see - you can't. You bought the bread drawer of goodies because you were conned into them; and you omitted the butter because you were conned out of it. The world has slipped you culinary diagrams instead of food. It counts on your palate being not only wooden, but buried under ten coats of synthetic varnish as well. Therefore, the next time you go to check out of the supermarket, simply put back one box of crackers, circle round the dairy case again, swap your margarine for a pound of butter and walk up to the checker with your head held high, like the last of the big spenders. This is no time for cost-counters: It is time to be very rich or very poor - or both at once.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“unless I am mistaken, it was Mr. Welch himself (an adamant total abstainer) who persuaded American Protestantism to abandon what the Lord obviously thought rather kindly of.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“IMITATION CITRUS FLAVORED DIETARY ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED CARBONATED BEVERAGE. That, I submit, is not a label; it is an incantation. Someday, it should be set to a suitable plainsong tune or Anglican chant.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Lord, please restore to us the comfort of merit and demerit. Show us that there is at least something we can do. Tell us that at the end of the day there will at least be one redeeming card of our very own. Lord, if it is not too much to ask, send us to bed with a few shreds of self-respect upon which we can congratulate ourselves. But whatever you do, do not preach grace. Give us something to do, anything; but spare us the indignity of this indiscriminate acceptance.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“The bread and the pastry, the cheeses and wine, and the sugar go into the Supper of the lamb because we do. It is our love that brings the city home. It is I grant you, an incautious and extravagant hope. But only outlandish hopes can make themselves at home.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“In the Bible, the opposite of Sin, with a capital 'S,' is not virtue - it's faith: faith in a God who draws all to himself in his resurrection.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“Between the onion and the parsley, therefore, I shall give the summation of my case for paying attention. Man's real work is to look at the things of the world and to love them for what they are. That is, after all, what God does, and man was not made in God's image for nothing. The fruits of his attention can be seen in all the arts, crafts, and sciences. It can cost him time and effort, but it pays handsomely. If an hour can be spent on one onion, think how much regarding it took on the part of that old Russian who looked at onions and church spires long enough to come up with St. Basil's Cathedral. Or how much curious and loving attention was expended by the first man who looked hard enough at the inside of trees, the entrails of cats, the hind ends of horses and the juice of pine trees to realize he could turn them all into the first fiddle. No doubt his wife urged him to get up and do something useful. I am sure that he was a stalwart enough lover of things to pay no attention at all to her nagging; but how wonderful it would have been if he had known what we know now about his dawdling. He could have silenced her with the greatest riposte of all time: Don't bother me; I am creating the possibility of the Bach unaccompanied sonatas.

But if man's attention is repaid so handsomely, his inattention costs him dearly. Every time he diagrams something instead of looking at it, every time he regards not what a thing is but what it can be made to mean to him - every time he substitutes a conceit for a fact - he gets grease all over the kitchen of the world. Reality slips away from him; and he is left with nothing but the oldest monstrosity in the world: an idol. Things must be met for themselves. To take them only for their meaning is to convert them into gods - to make them too important, and therefore to make them unimportant altogether. Idolatry has two faults. It is not only a slur on the true God; it is also an insult to true things.

They made a calf in Horeb; thus they turned their Glory into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay. Bad enough, you say. Ah, but it was worse than that. Whatever good may have resided in the Golden Calf - whatever loveliness of gold or beauty of line - went begging the minute the Israelites got the idea that it was their savior out of the bondage of Egypt. In making the statue a matter of the greatest point, they missed the point of its matter altogether.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“A good time occurs precisely when we lose track of what time it is.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Party Spirit: Some Entertaining Principles
“Every dish in the ferial cuisine, however, provides a double or treble delight: Not only is the body nourished and the palate pleased, the mind is intrigued by the triumph of ingenuity over scarcity - by the making of slight materials into a considerable matter. A man can do worse than to be poor. He can miss altogether the sight of the greatness of small things.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“...we are saved by Christ alone who raises us from the dead - from the absolution of our death. We come before him at the judgement with no handwriting whatsoever against us. It's simply cheating to say you believe that and then renege on it by postulating some list of extra-rotten crimes for which Christ has to send you to hell. He, the universal Redeemer, is the only judge; as far as he's concerned, the only mandatory sentence is to life and life abundant.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
“We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.

That is the unconsolable heartburn, the lifelong disquietude of having been made in the image of God.”
Robert Farrar Capon
“The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers – amateurs – it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral – it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.

In such a situation, the amateur – the lover, the man who thinks heedlessness is a sin and boredom a heresy – is just the man you need. More than that, whether you think you need him or not, he is a man who is bound, by his love, to speak. If he loves Wisdom or the Arts, so much the better for him and for all of us. But if he loves only the way meat browns or onions peel, if he delights simply in the curds of his cheese or the color of his wine, he is, by every one of those enthusiasms, commanded to speak. A silent lover is one who doesn't know his job.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“With Jesus, however, the device of parabolic utterance is used not to explain things to people’s satisfaction but to call attention to the unsatisfactoriness of all their previous explanations and understandings.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of the Kingdom
“The Gospel of grace must not be turned into a bait-and-switch offer. It is not one of those airline supersavers in which you read of a $59.00 fare to Orlando only to find, when you try to buy a ticket, that the six seats per flight at that price are all taken and that the trip will now cost you $199.95. Jesus must not be read as having baited us with grace only to clobber us in the end with law. For as the death and resurrection of Jesus were accomplished once and for all, so the grace that reigns by those mysteries reigns eternally - even in the thick of judgment.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus

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