Peter Marshall

A Man Called Peter

“Spirituality is a matter of perception, not proof.” - Peter Marshall


I see that my blog has become a bit dusty and in need of an update. Other than the obvious excuse of being “too busy,”  I must acknowledge that the works of Christ concerning my spiritual development have been utterly outpacing my public communication abilities lately…

Other than being alive and well, I am excited to announce that I’ll be sharing a new and inspired series on the topic of “Mystic Paradigm,” as time permits. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can confirm that it will be “earth moving” for those who consider its premise.

Anyway, my whole point of this post is to add a copy of the subsequent quote to my blog for future reference…

The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Peter Marshall. The sermons starts playing about 11 minutes (online version) into the movie A Man Called Peter. He says it best…

“There are men and women in the world today who say that God orders their lives, guides them in making decisions, provides for their needs, answers their prayers, in ways which are often strange and unexpected. That is the testimony of my own experience, and there are many here who could make the same statement; but, if you, yourself, have not had the experience in your life, don’t be too quick to jump to the conclusion that we who say these things are daft, mad. In that mood, many of us approach spiritual things. We come, like Thomas, not doubting, but dogmatically refusing to believe unless we see, as if we could pour God into a test tube, as if intangibles had to become tangible in order to prove that they were intangible. There are certain things that must be approached in faith, things that are matters of perception, not of proof.

“‘Beauty’ is one of them.

“How can you prove that anything is beautiful? Could you demonstrate to me, by logic, or reason, or by intellect, that the Fifth Symphony, or the Moonlight Sonata, was sheer beauty?

“Can you prove, by any method of intellect, why a sunset is beautiful?

“Describe to me, scientifically, the haunting, wistful fragrance of a bunch of violets.

“Yet, you come here professing the faith which, for more than nineteen centuries, has borne witness to spiritual realities, and you ask if one can prove that God exists. You ask me to prove it! How could my tiny mind prove God? What kind of a God could my little mind prove? You might as well ask the bird to prove the air in which it flies, or the minnow to prove the sea in which it swims.

“Let me ask you to prove that you exist. I’d be interested in hearing you try.

“There are mysteries all around us, stirring, wonderful, inexplicable.

“Take, for example, the strange phenomenon of falling in love.

“Have you ever asked the question, ‘How will I know when I fall in love?’ I have. I’ve asked it of blondes and brunettes, of redheads and of bald heads, of people everywhere, and the strange thing is I’ve always received the same answer, namely, ‘Don’t worry, brother, you’ll know.’

“Love, like beauty, like the haunting, wistful fragrance of violets, is a matter of perception and experience, not of proof. The great things by which we really live are not proven by logic, but by life; and, as that is true of love and beauty, so it is true of finding God and learning how close He stands to us.”

- Peter Marshall, A Man Called Peter. (movie excerpt)


Pax Vobiscum
-C.M. Gregory

This entry was posted in Book Review, Christianity, Doctrinal, Interesting, mysticism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Peter Marshall

  1. It’s good to see you back at it, Gregory. Your presence has been missed! Quite recently I have been pondering the nature of faith. Some say it is the most mystical non-experience we can “experience”. In faith, God is present to us as the Absolute and therefore, incomprehensible.


    • C.M. Gregory says:

      Hi Steve,

      I’m never too far away… The “nature of faith,” now there’s another topic with plenty of meat on the bone. That’s part of what has drawn my attention to the speech by Peter Marshall. There’s so many jumping off points all packed into a four minute fragment. However; like our discussion on Kant’s views of morals and logic, I hope to circle back to a more in-depth discussion on the experience of faith in time to come.

      My attention is primarily drawn to this excerpt for how blatantly it exemplifies that interpretation begins where perception ends.

      Thanks for the comment,

  2. bobknab says:

    greetings __________________________________

    perception is only impulses received through
    the chemical and electric process of the body
    a preference for choice to owns own liking -
    a deaf man who could not hear a group of people
    opening or closing there mouths would not know if they were
    singing ,shouting or just mouthing words –
    the mother of a ugly bug thinks her baby is the most beautiful in all the world !
    rotting garbage we say stinks it is because we do not understand
    it is the sweetest of smells -
    you pay your money and you see your show !

    Blessings —————————————————

  3. Karina says:

    Great series idea, Gregory. We can see and appreciate your footprint in the background, but it’s good to see you in the foreground too.

    Nice intro with Peter Marshall. I love his teasing of our wish to “prove” everything: can we prove the beauty of a sunset or the Moonlight Sonata? Why then must we prove God? “What kind of God could my little mind prove?” Love it. In that one phrase, he pokes fun both at our need to prove and at our ego’s perception that we can!

    Here’s to soaking in the sunsets,

    • C.M. Gregory says:

      Hi Karina,

      I appreciate your comments and encouragement. I have a tremendous respect for the discussions that are held on this site and I’m personal familiar with the depths in which these sentiments arise. I look forward to a time when I’m once again less restrained by the demands of life and can contribute more frequently in the foreground too.

      The paradigm series is something I’ve been “chewing” on for awhile or rather should address something that has been “eating” at me for awhile. Over the past year I’ve experienced some amazing aha moments, sudden realizations to difficult questions that have persistently eluded my understanding. Maybe it’s true what they say about hindsight being 20/20, but then again, perhaps that’s the requisite point of view one must achieve before sharing anything of usefulness.

      To sunsets and anomalous questions…

Comments are closed.