09 junio 2014

On knowledge, addendum

So seek knowledge, yes.
But what to do when we've found it?

It's a process, agreed, but it is possible to really know stuff. I mean, I know people who know stuff, so I know it's possible.

What then, ennui?

That would be the worst: the weariness that comes from having been there, learned that, can expound upon it from memory. I know the right answers; I have the right angle.

How do we keep from that tired sense of accomplishment?

Having not quite gotten anywhere close, I can't tell you. But I can talk about Christmas.

When I wrote this, I was approaching my 25th Christmas. Not a huge span of time, but O Come, O Come doesn't thrill like it did the first times I really listened to the lyrics. I've thought a lot on the significance of Christmas. I've read articles, essays, heard sermons-- not exhaustively, but enough that Christmas doesn't make my intellectual pulse race like it would if it were new.

So. Now what? Resign myself to a wonderless, forced smile, mental channel changing celebration?

Or be glad for the small things? That the cold, dark night is decorated by little lights? That people sing more at all? That the season with the least sunlight has festivities to break up the monotony? (Can you imagine a post-Christian, non-celebratory winter? ugh.) That children have something to get excited about? That someone can learn a lovely old tradition for the first time?

I furthermore suggest...
For those who really are knowledgeable:
1) teach- pass it on. Be a means of grace.
2) apply- live it... and live it well till the end of your 80. THAT's an accomplishment.
3) defend- fight for it. (eg: Athanasius contra mundum)
4) create- for the propogation, study, admiration of truth- make it beautiful, make it accessible (i'm reminded of a comment I read once saying that growing up, the hymnbook was their catechism. i'd say Michael Card and Dennis Jernigan were some of my early catechists. Lewis and GK and other masters of language my latter ones.)
5) be humble.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. God is not impressed with worship-less wisdom. ...the world did not know God through wisdom. It pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. All the knowledge we can gather does not make us more saveable- its purpose is to make us more glad, more wondrous that we are being saved!

6) be humbly grateful. What do you have that you have not been given? Misusing God's gifts is worse than never having received them. Knowledge- in a vacuum, as an end, not means- puffs up, but love edifies.

TEACH! Joyfully! Exuberantly! Seriously! Freely you have received; freely now give.

So,
Knowledge is a great thing, but it's not the only thing, the main thing, either. It's a means. It's a means. It's a means.
...for worship.
...for right service (worship).
...for right faith/ thinking about God (worship).

It will not be based on our knowledge that God divides us- sheep and goats- at the end of the age, but on how we applied that knowledge. [Do I forget grace?]

Knowledge is a gift... but not a casual trinket. It is, better said, an investment. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power.

The goal of every Christian, especially as regards the "little ones," is to be able to live (even if we couldn't conscientiously say it): "Be imitators of me, as I imitate Christ." And Christ did not stop with speaking wisdom- He was the wisdom of God- for us.

Yeah. That'll deflate your puffed-upness real quick. Be imitators of me...
...as I study and question (like Christ in the temple)
...as I rejoice and teach (like Christ schooling the disciples on boats, mountains, and country roads)
...as I wash dirty feet (like the Rabbi in a certain upper room.)

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04 mayo 2014

Amen, amen

amen, amen = verily, verily

et dicit ei, "Amen amen dico vobis videbitis caelum apertum et angelos Dei ascendentes et descendentes supra Filium hominis"

- Ioannes 1:51 (quotation mark grammar mine)

crastinum, et crastinum, et crastinum...

crastinum  = tomorrow

pro + crastinum (of college, high school, and even sometimes present day fame) = for the morrow

also in, "in crastinum voluit exire in Galilaeam et invenit Philippum et dicit ei Iesus, 'Sequere me.'" (quotation mark grammar mine.) - Ioannes 1:43

On the following day, he would go forth into Galilee: and he findeth Philip, And Jesus saith to him: "Follow me." 

20 abril 2014

"The Last Enemy to be Destroyed is Death"

The Last Enemy to be Destroyed is Death

From Leah Libresco's quote of this "very old Holy Saturday sermon":
What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.
Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son. 
The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.
‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.’
Though the Earth cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls on men she craved
Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule
Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

18 abril 2014

"So let the paradigm be shifted/ As the Son of Man is lifted"

We were born already bitten
by the tempter we were smitten
got the curse of Adam written
 on our bones. 
We are creatures dead and graceless
with desires low and faceless
and a longing to be crushed
 beneath the stones.
He has watched us all undressing
First debauching then confessing
Weeds and thistles woven softly
through our hair. 
But He bids us come and follow
from our chamber dark and hollow
and our lips cannot contain this
troubled prayer: 
"Oh, let´s go down far as far as we can
Oh, let´s go down far as far as we can
Yeah, let´s go down far as far as we can
To the pool of blood on the ground." 
There´s a lovely contradiction
at the moment of conviction
when the dead awakened dance
upon their graves.
Every sin becomes a chorus
To the Lamb who suffers for us
A reminder that we are
no longer slaves. 
So let the paradigm be shifted
As the Son of Man is lifted
And the sacred wine comes pouring
from His side. 
Let these thistles turn to roses
As the Son of Man proposes
Giving all Creation´s beauty
to His bride. 
"Oh, let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
Let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
Let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
In the pool of blood on the ground."
I am quite sure He is coming.
I can hear the seraphs strumming,
and the blast of Gabriel´s trumpet
is at hand.
And all the earth begins to rumble
As the sky begins to crumble
And the stars descend
To form a wedding band. 
Every tattered garment mended,
every battered heart defended
by His mighty arms extended
through the clear. 
And we stagger into glory
in this great, eternal story,
as we witness the perfection
of our fear. 
Now the lovers are all broken
by the word not lightly spoken
And the movers are all shaken
by the path not likely taken. 
For His promise comes in thunder
through the curtain torn asunder
That the hour of our deliverance
is here. 
Let´s move on up
Up to the white throne.
Let´s move on up
Up to the white throne.
Let´s move on up
Up to the white throne
From the pool of blood on the ground. 
Yeah, let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
Let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
Yeah, let´s wash our face, our hands, and our feet
In the pool of blood on the ground. 
Let´s go down far as far as we can.
Let´s go down far as far as we can.
Let´s go down far just as far as we can
To the pool of blood on the ground.
Yeah, the pool of blood on the ground.

- "The Pool of Blood", A Horse and His Boy

04 febrero 2014

brightest and best of the sons of the morning...

yes, it's february 2014. that's fine. good music is okay with time-travel.

19 enero 2014

"Dealing With Your Inner Skeptic"

"5. He makes you believe you have to have indubitable, perfect certainty before you can believe with integrity.
It’s either black or while for the inner skeptic. (He is quite the fundamentalist.) Either you believe or you don’t. On a scale from zero to ten, you are one or the other. If you present yourself as a five he will convince you that you are really a zero by drawing attention to your lack of perfect faith. He is caught up in a modernistic ideal of perfection and thinks if God were real, he would make your faith perfect immediately.[...]
(But he does not tell you to keep from going to bed at night because you are not certain that you will wake up. He does not tell you to keep from marrying because you are not certain your spouse will be faithful. More importantly, he does not tell you that while there are very few things in this life that we have infallibly perfect certainty about, that does not mean we don’t commit to things sincerely.)
***
The primary thing the skeptic does to keep you in Purgatory is make you think he has just enough. Just enough for what? Just enough to cause you to be hesitant, just enough to cause you to be indecisive, just enough to make you immobile in your faith. But again, what are his better options? He doesn’t have any. All he can do is criticize what you believe, belittling you to the point of submission. Ask him to show his hand and you will find he doesn’t have much. He just want to talk about yours. 
I love the story in John 6 where Jesus is talking to people about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. People were getting grossed out and offended. They all started leaving. Jesus turned to Peter and the rest of the Apostles and said, “Are you going to leave me too?” Peter responded with a wonderful response for those of us who spend any time talking to our inner skeptic: “Where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life.” It was not as if the Apostles got what Jesus was trying to say about the flesh and the blood. In fact, they were confused as well. Jesus was acting kinda odd. But, they did not have any better options. Jesus was enough. 
What I ask my inner skeptic is this: “Where else are you asking me to go? Atheism? Islam? Scientology? Perpetual indecisiveness? What are the positive arguments for such things? You cannot negatively argue me out of Christianity.” Yes, I have a lot of questions. Yes, I even have some doubts. But the inner skeptic has no goods. Ultimately, even on his best day, his case against Christ is not enough to keep me from following Jesus. 
In the end, this is how you must live everyday. Those of you who are in the Purgatory of doubt, where else are you going to go? What is really better? If you have no answer for this (and some of my presuppositional friends are going to get angry here), it is enough. It is enough to begin praying again. It is enough to read your Bible again with enough confidence. It is enough for you to take Jesus’s hand again. It is enough for you to get up each day and commit your life over to him. "
 - http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/dealing-with-your-inner-skeptic-while-in-the-purgatory-of-doubt/

by one C Michael Patton from Credo House, apparently a coffee house in Oklahoma that serves theology with your drink (not a bad idea, eh?)

09 enero 2014

"Num...?"

-Lord Peter

I can't study "Num habes...?" without hilarity.

:)

Benigne.

02 enero 2014

On Anarchy

One perk of my skeptical mid 20s has been my new-found grim passion for absolutes. It is the sick, like me, after all, who need a physician; the relativist who needs a law; the devil's advocate who needs a Judge. What a warm rock absolutes are, to lay one's head upon while watching the masses giggle and parachute into the abyss. In such a bitter and anti-anarchist mood did I seek out dear, dark, and wildly hopeful Chesterton.

***from The Man Who Was Thursday, chpt. 4

Being surrounded with every conceivable kind of revolt from infancy, Gabriel had to revolt into something, so he revolted into the only thing left—sanity. But there was just enough in him of the blood of these fanatics to make even his protest for common sense a little too fierce to be sensible. 
His hatred of modern lawlessness had been crowned also by an accident. It happened that he was walking in a side street at the instant of a dynamite outrage. He had been blind and deaf for a moment, and then seen, the smoke clearing, the broken windows and the bleeding faces. After that he went about as usual—quiet, courteous, rather gentle; but there was a spot on his mind that was not sane. He did not regard anarchists, as most of us do, as a handful of morbid men, combining ignorance with intellectualism. He regarded them as a huge and pitiless peril, like a Chinese invasion.   
  He poured perpetually into newspapers[, his blog, the fb,] and their waste-paper baskets a torrent of tales, verses and violent articles, warning men of this deluge of barbaric denial. But he seemed to be getting no nearer his enemy, and, what was worse, no nearer a living.
...
"We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly."
...
"A moment more, and you may lose the glory of working with us, perhaps the glory of dying with the last heroes of the world.”

22 diciembre 2013

Altogether now! Hic Haec Hoc

08 diciembre 2013

More than 50 Mad Hot Lady Skills

A compilation of many women and many goals inspired by 50 Things A Man Should Be Able to Do, here I opine.

A lady...
1. Balances her checkbook (and financial habits. (hahaha. i felt so superior yesterday. there was a reason this was first. today...)
2. Feeds people.
3. Tells when a conversation is veering into offensive territory and changes the subject.
4. Related: knows the question/ comment she wants to make is not helpful, and doesn´t make it.
5. Knows how to talk to children.
6. Treats children as thinking, moral human beings... while still letting them be children.
7. Talks to a man without simpering, unkindness, arrogance, or kowtowing.
8. Knows how to dress for an occasion without standing out or feeling awkward.
9. Can fix the 5 details that will make a house look nice/ room look welcoming/ dinner look forthcoming...
10. Gives a hug/ personal contact without making someone feel uncomfortable.
11. Keeps a book of stamps in her wallet at all times. [i felt like such a BOSS when the first time i bought a book of stamps.]
12. Extra supplies in general... and not minding when others borrow them. (Germ-x, snacks, toilet paper, and gum generate instant woman points.)
13. Listens to people. And remembers what they said.
14. Keeps conversations going, even with difficult conversationalists.
15. Interacts with people from different social strati with minimal awkwardness or condescension.
16. The hermeneutic of charity: thinks about peoples' actions and ascribes them the best possible motives/ rationales.
17. "Attributes nothing to malice that can be explained by ignorance."
18. While fully aware of 10 possible consequences of an action, ignores the panic and does something that is only "probably" safe. (Or, conversely, becoming fully aware of 10 possible consequences of an action, ignores the impulses, and chooses to do the most probably safe/responsible thing.)
19. Is able to cook the essentials and google the extras.
20. Makes dirty things clean. Especially the detail work.
21. Organizes.
22. Can smell really good. Or like a kitchen. :)
23. Is able to control her emotions.
24. Ignores her own pessimistic/ cynical tendencies and acts like an optimist; smiles and even can be overly cheerful when the occasion necessitates it.  [...which is why i love Life is Beautiful so much. and W. Berry's "Be cheerful even after you have considered all the facts." Which are both written by men, but whatever.]
25. Does what she has to do: no matter how messy it is, how tired she is, who SHOULD have originally done it, or what any of her irrelevant feelings have to say about it.
26. Notices when someone is lonely, sad, or troubled.
27. Details. Just notices, does, fixes, decorates DETAILS: curtains, candles, birthdays, haircuts, shirt collars, jacket hoods and zippers... ["Hijo, no te olvides tu chompa..." I believe I recall...]
28. Takes care of business, even when she'd rather a man do it for her: changing tires, buying and keeping liquids up in the auto, talking to mechanics, (see a motif???), getting house stuff fixed, ordering supplies, dealing with neighbors
29. Can disagree without offending anyone. Calmly deals with conflict and can politely issue a complaint.
30. Doesn't complain. "It could be worse..."
31. Prays instead of gossips.
32. Derails gossip from friends. (Good heavens, i wish i could get this one down.)
33. Birthday cards, thank you notes, and keeping-in-touch letters.
34. Sales... finds something worth a lot and pays little for it. Refuses to pay more than something is worth.
35. Is practical. [15 yr old Malala Yousafzi in the hospital after being shot by the Taliban: "Who will pay for all this?”)
36. Asks the right questions.
37. Gives homemade gifts.
38. Can cheer up someone who's crying or depressed: baby, child, friend.
39. Ignores things that need to be ignored.
40. Moves and shakes. Nicely, politely, persistently, effectively effects change. (or is that "affects change"?)
41. Catches grammar mistakes but tries to ignore them in others.
42. Breaks stereotypes, but doesn't always have to fix every stereotype someone makes of her. Sees individuals, not labels.
43. Makes people laugh, makes them comfortable, makes them happy. Makes people feel like she's really glad to see them... or really misses them when they're gone.
44. Sings. Even if she can't sing well, she sings well enough.
45. Reads to children... with the different voices. [It makes it so much more fun for YOU, I promise.]
46. Talks to strangers comfortably.
47. Understands herself without excusing her bad behavior.
48. Does really difficult things because they're the right thing to do, even when emotionally, she'd rather do something else. [Jane Eyre!!!!]
49. Is intellectually curious. Learns everything she can. Thinks well: critically and creatively. Doesn't buy the party line, but doesn't allow herself to become a reactionary, either.
50. Is an iceburg: She knows more than she lets on to. She is more than she shows. She lets people underestimate her without believing them... or protesting too much.
51. Keeps in touch with people. Maintains family relationships.
52. Is wry and not sarcastic.
53. Humors people's lame jokes. Helps others save face.
54. Defuses conflict/ anger. Calms people- and herself- down.
55. Knows how to properly get on to someone. (chide? scold? do Americans not do this? is that why i can't think of a word?)

[i'm tempted to tag a woman's name next to each descriptor as an example... but many of the ones I can think of couldn't be hyperlinked...]