Sermon quotes on authenticity

W.H. Auden

Our race would not have gotten far,

Had we not learned to bluff it out

And look more certain than we are

Of what our motion is about.

Reflections in a Forest, Homage to Clio, Random House.

Augustine of Hippo

The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.

Brené Brown

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.

“Self Reliance,” in Selected Essays, Lectures and Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Robert E. Spiller, Washington Square Press.

Francis de Sales

Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet.

Francis of Assisi

It is no use walking somewhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.


Rachel Held Evans

Millennials aren’t looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity. Like every generation before ours and every generation after, we’re looking for Jesus-the same Jesus who can be found in the strange places he’s always been found: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, 2015, p14, Thomas Nelson.


Samuel Johnson

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities he does not possess.


Timothy Keller

Religion says, ‘I obey; therefore I am accepted.’ Christianity says, ‘I’m accepted, therefore I obey.

Peter Kreeft

The world was won for Christ not by arguments but by sanctity: “What you are speaks so loud, I can hardly hear what you say.

C.S. Lewis

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did.  As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.

Brennan Manning

The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.

Brennan Manning

Authentic faith leads us to treat others with unconditional seriousness and to a loving reverence for the mystery of the human personality. Authentic Christianity should lead to maturity, personality, and reality. It should fashion whole men and women living lives of love and communion. False, manhandled religion produces the opposite effect. Whenever religion shows contempt or disregards the rights of persons, even under the noblest pretexts, it draws us away from reality and God.


Gillian Marchenko

When I can, I do my best to keep up the farce of who I pretend to be.

Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression, InterVarsity Press.

James F. Masterson

The false self plays its deceptive role, ostensibly protecting us but doing so in a way that is programmed to keep us fearful—of being abandoned, losing support, not being able to cope on our own, not being able to be alone.

The Search for the Real Self (Free Press, 1988), 67.

Malcom Muggeridge

Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.

George Orwell

You wear a mask, and your face grows to fit it.

Shooting an Elephant

Polycarp of  Smyrna

For 86 years I have served Jesus Christ and he has never abandoned me. How could I curse my blessed king and savior?

Jeremy Vlasin

So you’re a Christian? If your Twitter feed was pulled up in Church so everyone could see all your tweets, would you get uncomfortable?

David Foster Wallace

There was a basic logical paradox that I called the ‘fraudulence paradox’ that I had discovered more or less on my own while taking a mathematical logic course in school…The fraudulence paradox was that the more time and effort you put into trying to appear impressive or attractive to other people, the less impressive or attractive you felt inside – you were a fraud. And the more of a fraud you felt like, the harder you tried to convey an impressive or likable image of yourself so that other people wouldn’t find out what a hollow, fraudulent person you really were



Macrina Wiederkehr

We disappear because we are uncomfortable with being in process.

Oscar Wilde

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Margery Williams

“What is real?” “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day . . . “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you . . .” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

The Velveteen Rabbit (1922; repr., New York: Holt, 1983), 4–5.

James C. Coleman

As the modern day person struggles with the baffling question of his own existence… science falls short of providing full answers… it can tell how, but not why.” Coleman adds, “Despite their fine automobiles, well-stocked refrigerators, and other material possessions and comforts, the meaning of life seems to be evading them. They are suffering from existential anxiety—deep concern about finding values which enable them to live satisfying, fulfilling, meaningful, and [significant] lives.”

Abnormal Psychology in Modern Life, Scott, Foresman and Co.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The whole concept of the “image of God ” is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. .. . And this gives [man] a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this. . . there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard., precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man.

Thomas Keating

Every movement toward the humiliation of the false self, if we accept it, is a step toward interior freedom and inner resurrection.

Broken Bells

The open doors left me wanting more . . .

It’s another way to win a useless fight

You’ve been lying so long don’t know you’re faking.

“Perfect World,” After the Disco, Columbia Records, 2014.

Dio Chrysostom

But to find a man who in plain terms and without guile speaks his mind with frankness… is not easy, but rather the good fortune of every great city, so great is the dearth of noble, independent souls and such is the abundance of toadies, mountebanks and sophists. 


Knox McCoy

It is my belief that we’re currently in the middle of a cultural overdose on authenticity—but without that necessary companion of vulnerability. I love that we’re all being so authentic and genuine. But to me, the best connections come when we pair that authenticity of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the vulnerability of why we believe them.

All Things Reconsidered: How Rethinking What We Know Helps Us Know What We Believe, Thomas Nelson, 2020.

Larry Crabb

God meets us where we are, not where we pretend to be. 

Real Church

Fil Anderson

It’s a wild and wonderful thing to bump into someone and realize it’s you. 

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