This isn't your typical novel – Clear Winter Nights describes itself as "theology in story" – so the author isn't trying to be subtle about the intent of his book. He is here to teach, and he does so with flourish. Here are ten great quotes:
Don't trust in your strength, because there is such a thing as pride.
Don't despair in your weakness, because there is such a thing as forgiveness.
"Are you saying that you can't be gay and Christian?"
"No, I'm saying you can't be a Christian without repentance."
"He would think I'm attacking him personally. It would be like I'm saying there's something wrong with him."
"That's just the point. Look at what King Jesus says about sex and you'll quickly realize there's something wrong with all of use. Something wrong that can only be fixed by what Jesus did for us on the cross and in His resurrection."
"There are only two ways to resolve the pressure you're feeling about being a hypocrite. You can do away with the ideal. Stop fighting your sin and abandon your faith. Or you can admit your failures. Strive in the power of the Holy Spirit and look to Jesus. Some people want to resolve hypocrisy by lowering the ideal. But instead, we ought to take the hand of Christ and move higher."
"It doesn't matter how tightly they closed her coffin. They encased it in bronze, locked it up tight and dumped six feet of dirt on top of it. But it doesn't matter. The casket will be no match for the power of the resurrection on the Last Day. Those locks will be undone. The decomposition of her old body will be reversed.... It may be winter, but spring is coming."
"The minute you think your faith is better than someone else's, you start down the path of having a superior attitude. What if we said no religion is superior? What if we said all religions are on equal footing? That would keep people from having an attitude of superiority."
"You don't lose the attitude of superiority by saying no religion is superior. You get even more reason to feel superior. Now you're standing over against all the religions of the world, saying none is better than another. Don't you find it a wee bit prejudiced to say that we're the only ones who've figured out all religions are the same? All the while there are poor, mindless Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus across the world still groping around in the dark. Poor souls. They think their religions are better."
"No Christian who truly understands grace can feel superior to anyone else. Grace shatters any sense of superiority."
"Truth is not a formula... Truth is a Person."
Chris took a deep breath and nodded. "Sounds like you got ahold of grace."
"No," Gil said, taking off his glasses and wiping his eyes. "Grace got ahold of me."