Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome Ruby Mae

Here a people of godly race are born of heaven;

The Spirit gives them life in the fertile waters.

The Church-Mother in these waves bears her children-

The virginal fruit she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Hope for the kingdom of heaven, you who are reborn in this spring!

For those who are born but once have no share in the life of blessedness.

Here is to be found the source of life, which washes the whole universe,

Which gushed from the wound of Christ.

Sinner, plunge into the fountain to wash away your sin.

The water receives the old man, and in his place makes the new man rise.

You wish to become innocent? Cleanse yourself in this bath.

Your burden may be Adam’s sin or your own.

There is no difference between those who are reborn;

Let none be afraid of the number or the weight of their sins:

Those who are born of this stream will be made holy.

This poem is attributed to Sixtus III from the 5th century.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living Vicariously

Today, 2 very important men in my life, lived out 2 of my fantasies. 
At 8AM, my 17-year-old son headed toward the heavens for a hot air balloon ride.  I wasn't there to see this, but received a full report and dozens of photos upon his return.  This non-risk-taking child of mine loved the experience! 


I'm proud of you, Grant, for dragging yourself out the door at 6AM on Saturday and for stepping outside your comfort zone to enjoy a new experience!   

At 5PM, my soon-to-be-69-year-old Daddy headed toward the heavens for his first skydive.  He had never jumped before, but chose to go solo his very first time!!  THAT was a very brave move.  He hung suspended more than a mile in the air from the plane's strut.  As he let go, his body left its arch position too quickly and he experienced an unplanned flip.  Thankfully he remembered all his emergency procedures and recovered nicely to enjoy his leisurely descent.  He pulled off a pretty sweet landing too! 

See that tiny little foot rest?  That's where he stepped out of the plane...he had to reach beyond that black line and hang there until they told him to let go! CRAZY. 
 Giving us a very calm thumbs-up as though this is commonplace:
Can you make out the tiny black speck just below center left?  That is his plane just before he exited.

 Here he comes!
 Still smiling and ready to do it again! 
I'm proud of you, Papa!  And I'm proud of you too, Momma, for encouraging him to follow his dreams.  

What a beautiful day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do You Think I'm Beautiful & Captivating

Notice the absence of a question mark.  This is NOT a poll, so feel free not to treat it as one.  Believe it or not, this post isn't even about ME! 

I recently spent a week blazing my way through these two books:

Do You Think I'm Beautiful?


Captivating

I read the first by way of recommendation and the second because it addresses similar issues.  Captivating has been both widely hailed and wildly criticized, so I decided to read it myself in order to confirm my preconceived bias against it.  I have to admit I was somewhat surprised at what I found (stay with me, Momma!)

I went into this expecting to disagree with every word on every page, but found instead that both books contain nuggets of truth.

1)  Both present fairly accurate insights into the longings of the feminine heart: to be seen, known, and understood (at our best and worst), yet still be considered beautiful, significant...glorious even...and to be loved.  I think they get this right, although I could easily argue that these desires are not distinctly female, but HUMAN.  But I'll grant them this as a postive point of truth anyway.

2)  Both suggest, and I think rightly so, that our experiences in life and relationships often leave us believing the opposite of what we desire: that we are mostly ugly, insignificant, and unloved.  Our response is usually to harden our hearts or withdraw so that we can avoid the pain of being "too much and not enough."  And then...we TRY HARDER. 

3)  This restless striving in all the wrong directions actually thwarts the fulfilling of our desires, and it compounds, rather than fills, our lacking.

4)  Only as we come to terms with our standing in Christ and believe (i.e. really TRUST) His unfailing love for us will we find a place of freedom, satisfaction and rest.

If you have read the books, perhaps you find those 4 points rather generous, but I do think both authors communicate these truths and they shouldn't be overlooked.  Each challenges us as Christian women to confront our desires honestly; to understand how these desires and our responses to them are marred by original and personal sin, ongoing fallenness, and the curse; to seek first and foremost the redeeming love of God in Christ; and to be at rest.  These things are true, right, and beneficial.

However...(you knew that was coming, didn't you?)...it would be negligent of me to ignore the ways in which both women depart significantly from sound, biblical interpretation. 

For both Thomas and Eldredge, the path to life and health is found in Jesus Christ...so far, so good.  But then they insist that the way this happens is through my relationship with him as Bridegroom.  He loves me with an intimate, romantic love.  He is smitten with my beauty and wants to dance with me and be my Lover.

I will attempt to stifle all the sarcasm that such sentimental silliness evokes, and I promise not to tell you how many emphatic "NO's!"  "UGH's" and "BLECH's!" I wrote in the margins of both books.  I won't say anything about THAT.  But I will explain why I consider the idea as sheer nonsense.

1)  First of all, if Jesus' personal relationship with women is as a Romantic Lover-Husband, then what is his personal relationship with men?  Is He a Romantic Lover-Wife to them?  Well, that doesn't exactly work since He is a Man.  If He is not a wife, is He a Romantic Lover-Husband to them also?   That doesn't work either for obvious reasons!  As absurd as those questions seem, they flow quite logically from the premise.  If we answer both of these questions with "No" then Christ's personal relationship with Christian MEN still remains undefined...except that in some way He relates differently to men than He does to women. 

2)  A couple of even more shocking questions follow.  If Jesus is my personal Lover, Romancer and Husband, then He is also those same things to every other woman who trusts in Him, right?  As far as I can tell, that makes Him a polygamist at best and a philanderer at worst.  Think about it.  Any man who woos more than one woman is an infidel...an unfaithful spouse.  This system of thought borders on blasphemy!  We know for certain that one of Christ's primary traits is FAITHFULNESS.

3)  The fact is, I am not Jesus' personal bride.  His Bride is The Church...the collective Body of believers from eternity who look to Him for redemption.  He does not husband individuals, He husbands The Body.  She is His One Bride.  Period.  Both the Old and New Covenants make it infinitely clear that His People as a unified whole are His Garden, His Beloved, His Bride.

Don't misunderstand.  I am not implying that we have no individual, personal relationship with Christ.  We most certainly do!

His strong, unfailing, limitless, eternal love for us as individuals is clearly portrayed in His Word through a plethora of analogies, both personal and impersonal.  He is my Shield, my Defender, my Strong Tower, my Rock, my Light,etc.  But he is also my Shepherd, Father, Brother, Friend, Protector, Defender, Kinsman Redeemer, etc.

The underlying truth that these two books attempt to convey - that God's love for me in Christ is perfect and eternal - can be very effectively communicated without distorting the concept of the Bridegroom and the Bride.

It is unnecessary to adopt a sentimental, feel-good mentality that says Jesus thinks I am a beautiful and captivating woman whom He wants to romance, in order to know that I am infinitely loved by Him.

Though a mother may forget her nursing child, He will not forget me...I am graven on the palm of His hand.

He fought to the point of death in order to redeem my life from the pit!

He rescued me from dangerous waters because He delighted in me.

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there His hand shall lead and guide me.  I am never forsaken.

He shepherds and restores my soul, leading me by quiet waters.

He preserves me from the Evil One.

He gathers me under the shadow of His wings, as a mother bird gathers her chicks.

These only scratch the surface of biblical truths that demonstrate that He loves me.  He is present with me.  He is unwaveringly faithful to me.

But He is NOT my personal husband.

In conclusion, let me make it clear that, on one hand, I appreciate the heart that these 2 authors have to help other Christian women.  These books are not altogether devoid of truth and value.  On the other hand, I fear their counsel may be received trustingly by hurting women who may end up highly-disillusioned if they wholeheartedly swallow the Lover-Romance pill. 

As always, we must determine to read books like this carefully, attempting to find that balance between opening our hearts to learn new things, yet not being either gullible or overly negative, skeptical, and judgemental. 

May God grant us the grace to move toward one another on these issues and to sharpen one another by challenging all teachings from a standpoint of biblical truth.   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whate'er My God Ordains - A Paraphrase

Whatever my God ordains is right. 
His will is always holy. 
I will quiet my spirit
And follow where He leads.
He is my God! Even when my road is dark,
He holds me in His hand
And does not let me fall.
Therefore, I leave everything to Him.

Whatever God allows to happen is good.
He will never deceive me,
But will always lead me in the right path
And will stay by my side.
I will be content with whatever He sends my way
Knowing that He can turn away all my griefs.
So, patiently I wait for Him to act.

Whatever God sends is necessary for me.
Though this cup I'm drinking now
Seems bitter to my fainting heart,
I drink it without cowering.
Because I know my God is true
And will send comfort to my heart with every new day.
He will eventually banish sorrow and pain permanently.

Whatever hardship God puts me through is faithful.
Here I take my stand:
Whether sorrow or need or death are my lot,
Yet I know I am not forsaken.
In all those places, my Father's care
Surrounds me and He holds me securely
So that I cannot fall.
Therefore, I leave everything to Him.

Adapted from the Trinity Hymnal #94.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordsmith Wednesday

Root:

ludo (ludere, lusi, lusum) - to play; to mock

Derivatives:

allude - a playful, light-spirited reference (allusion, allusive, allusiveness)

collude - to play to mock together, often in secret with harmful intent (collusion, collusive, colluder)

delude - to play down; to mislead or deceive by minimizing truty, reality or consequence (delusion, deluder)

illusion - a playful or mocking appearance (illusionist, illusory, illusive, disillusion, disillusionment)

elude - to paly or mock by avoiding or escaping (elusive, eluder)

interlude - a pause between 2 events or parts of an event ("between plays" or "play between")

prelude - to play before; a performance preceding the main attraction

postlude - to play after; a performance concluding the main attraction

ludicrous - mocking; ridiculously absurd (ludicrously, ludicrousness)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grati-Tuesday

Today I am returning thanks for men and women who understand and create new technologies.  I am particularly thankful today for the help and convenience afforded by Global Positioning Satellites.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Love's Labours Lost

What do you get when you cross Shakespeare, Branaugh, and Gershwin?  A rousing and hysterical rendition of Love's Labours Lost!!

Kenneth Branaugh might be nearly as brilliant as Shakespeare was.  It's nearly impossible to improve on his original works, but Branaugh just might have done that with his delightful "musical" interpretation. 

I strongly suggest you watch this play.  Unless you're exceedingly uptight and have lost all sense of humor, you can not help but smile repeatedly at the cleverness of both of these men. 

Here is a selection from one of the foundational and highly poetic passages from the play: (Act IV, Scene 3)

From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world:
Else none at all in ought proves excellent.
Then fools you were these women to forswear,
Or keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
For wisdom's sake, a word that all men love,
Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men,
Or for men's sake, the authors of these women,
Or women's sake, by whom we men are men,
Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.

Friday, September 9, 2011

GKC On Journalism

When you read the following quotes, you will be compelled to declare Chesterton a genius...and you will be right.  You may also be tempted to declare how "far ahead of the times" he was in his perceptions.  Here you will be wrong.  You see, it's not that Chesterton anticipated what WOULD BE...he recognized and defined what already WAS.  

Though we are prone to think all of life is so very much worse than it has ever been, the fact is, human nature was human 50 years ago, 280 years ago, and 3000 years ago.  If Chesterton's words are still applicable today (and they are!), then it is not so much because he was prophetic as he was awake.  Men will be men in every age.  

Sorry...I'll quit now.  The point of the post was to share Chesterton's words, not mine!

We may concede that politicians have done something towards degrading journalism. It was not entirely done by us, the journalists. But most of it was. It was mostly the fruit of our first and most natural sin — the habit of regarding ourselves as conjurers rather than priests, for the definition is that a conjurer is apart from his audience, while a priest is a part of his. The conjurer despises his congregation; if the priest despises any one, it must be himself. The curse of all journalism, but especially of that yellow journalism which is the shame of our profession, is that we think ourselves cleverer than the people for whom we write, whereas, in fact, we are generally even stupider. [. . .] Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another; the public enjoys both, but it is more or less conscious of the difference. … But the, people know in their hearts that journalism is a conventional art like any other, that it selects, heightens, and falsifies. Only its Nemesis is the same as that of other arts: if it loses all care for truth it loses all form likewise. ~GKC: 'All Things Considered.

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, "Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe," or "Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet." They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority. ~The Ball and the Cross

THERE is another case of the thing that I mean. Why on earth do the newspapers, in describing a dynamite outrage or any other political assassination, call it a "dastardly outrage" or a cowardly outrage? It is perfectly evident that it is not dastardly in the least. It is perfectly evident that it is about as cowardly as the Christians going to the lions. The man who does it exposes himself to the chance of being torn in pieces by two thousand people. What the thing is, is not cowardly, but profoundly and detestably wicked. The man who does it is very infamous and very brave. But, again, the explanation is that our modern Press would rather appeal to physical arrogance, or to anything, rather than appeal to right and wrong. ~GKC: 'All Things Considered.'

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Musical Monday (on Thursday?): Miles Davis

I can't believe I forgot to make a music post on Monday!!  I mean...GratiTuesday might be hard and Wordsmith Wednesday takes some thought, but Musical Monday?  Too easy not to do!!  So here you go...a few days late:


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordsmith Wednesday

Word:
striking (adj)


Synonyms:
astonishing
impressive
extraordinary
notable
remarkable
arresting
astounding
conspicuous
noteworthy
prominent
momentous
of consequence
significant