Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Contentment 3

There is an infinite variety in the works of God in an ordinary providence, and yet they all work in an orderly way.  We put these two things together, for God in his providence causes a thousand thousand things to depend upon one another.  There are an infinite number of wheels, as I may say, in the works of providence; put together all the works that ever God did from all eternity or ever will do, and they all make up but one work, and they have been as several wheels that have had their orderly motion to attain the end that God from all eternity has appointed.

We, indeed, look at things by pieces, we look at one detail and do not consider the relation that one thing has to another, but God looks at all things at once, and sees the relation that one thing has to another. ...the workman sees the dependence of all, one upon another.  So it is in God's providence.  Now notice how this works to contentment: when a certain passage of providence befalls me, that is one wheel, and it may be that if this wheel were stopped, a thousand other things might come to be stopped by this.  In a clock, stop but one wheel and you stop every wheel because they  are dependent upon one another.  So when God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus, how do you know how many things depend upon this thing?  God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on the passage of providence that falls out this day or this week.  

 -- The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs

Monday, January 28, 2013

Musical Monday: Somebody That I Used to Know

I wonder if any contemporary song has been covered by more artists than Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know.  Here are a few versions for your enjoyment:

The Original

One Man Performance

Ingrid Michaelson

My personal favorite:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goodbye to The Man

Good words from Albert Pujols.
Stan Musial was bigger than life. He is not only the greatest Cardinal of all time, but the greatest baseball player I have ever had the privilege of knowing. From the first time I met him in 2001, Stan always took time for me a person and as a player. I have always been grateful to have access to the purest hitter in National League history, and to have him call me his friend. When I played in St. Louis, and now in Anaheim, when anyone called me ‘El Hombre’ I am quick to remind them there is only one “Man” in baseball and that is Stan “The Man” Musial.

My prayers are with the Musial family tonight. I will cherish my friendship with Stan for a long as I live. I will hold our conversations close in my heart. You were a dear sweet man who influenced my game and my life more than you will ever know.

May you now find peace in the arms of your Savior and our Lord Jesus Christ.

- Albert Pujols

Monday, January 21, 2013

Musical Monday: Classical on Steel

Thanks to Bob Wooldridge for linking to this piece a couple of weeks ago.  As he pointed out, some would shift in their graves, wag their heads, snub their noses or gasp in horror at this piece being played on a steel string guitar, but you simply can't deny its magnificence...can you?   I was enthralled beginning to end.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Monday: Luke Winslow King

Another gem from my Southern Belle friend (and I mean that in all its wholesome and redemptive senses), Annie B.

Check out his latest album here.  I like!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Proverbs & Politics

This article, which offers a critique of the present political climate in the United States, deserves to be read in its entirety:

Agur and the American Election

From:  Comment Magazine

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Heart & I

My Heart and I
by: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
ENOUGH! we're tired, my heart and I.
    We sit beside the headstone thus,
    And wish that name were carved for us.
The moss reprints more tenderly
    The hard types of the mason's knife,
    As heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
With which we're tired, my heart and I.

You see we're tired, my heart and I.
    We dealt with books, we trusted men,
    And in our own blood drenched the pen,
As if such colours could not fly.
    We walked too straight for fortune's end,
    We loved too true to keep a friend;
At last we're tired, my heart and I.

How tired we feel, my heart and I!
    We seem of no use in the world;
    Our fancies hang grey and uncurled
About men's eyes indifferently;
    Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
    You sleep; our tears are only wet:
What do we here, my heart and I?

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
    It was not thus in that old time
    When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime
To watch the sunset from the sky.
    Dear love, you're looking tired,' he said;
    I, smiling at him, shook my head:
'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
    Though now none takes me on his arm
    To fold me close and kiss me warm
Till each quick breath end in a sigh
    Of happy languor. Now, alone,
    We lean upon this graveyard stone,
Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

Tired out we are, my heart and I.
    Suppose the world brought diadems
    To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
    We scarcely care to look at even
    A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I.

Yet who complains? My heart and I?
    In this abundant earth no doubt
    Is little room for things worn out:
Disdain them, break them, throw them by
    And if before the days grew rough
    We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we've fared, my heart and I.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Does Redemption Look Like?

When my email reminds me that  Comment Magazine has published a new article online, I usually sigh.  Not for the same reason I sigh about many other email  notifications, but because I rarely have time to read it then and there, and know that I'll probably forget to go back and take it in before the next article rolls around.   The authors at Comment consistently put forward articles that are not only theologically sound  and culturally relevant, but are also stylistically superior...even poetic.  
Thankfully, one of the articles I missed back in December, was highlighted on FB tonight (thanks, Ryan Van Horn!), and if you have 10 minutes, it is well worth the read!  If you only have 4-5 minutes, check out the excerpt below.  I'm warning you, though, you'll be compelled to go read the article in its entirety!   And'll want to subscribe (so you too can sigh when you find yourself too busy to stop and take it all in).
This particular article, Redemption, was the first published by James K. Smith after his recent appointment as editor.  Enjoy...    
But what does redemption look like? For the most part, you'll know it when you see it, because it looks like flourishing. It looks like a life well lived. It looks like the way things are supposed to be. It looks like a well-cultivated orchard laden with fruit produced by ancient roots. It looks like labour that builds the soul and brings delight. It looks like an aged husband and wife laughing uproariously with their great-grandchildren. It looks like a dancer stretching her body to its limit, embodying a stunning beauty in muscles and sinews rippling with devotion. It looks like the graduate student hunched over a microscope, exploring nooks and crannies of God's micro-creation, looking for ways to undo the curse. It looks like abundance for all.
Redemption sounds like the surprising cadences of a Bach concerto whose rhythm seems to expand the soul. It sounds like an office that hums with a sense of harmony in mission, punctuated by collaborative laughter. It sounds like the grunts and cries of a tennis player whose blistering serve and liquid forehand are enactments of things we couldn't have dreamed possible. It sounds like the questions of a third grader whose teacher loves her enough to elicit and make room for a sanctified curiosity about God's good world. It even sounds like the spirited argument of a young couple who are discerning just what it means for their marriage to be a friendship that pictures the community God desires (and is).
Redemption smells like the oaky tease of a Napa Chardonnay that births anticipation in our taste buds. It smells like soil under our nails after labouring over peonies and gerber daisies. It smells like the steamy winter kitchen of a family together preparing for supper. It smells like the ancient wisdom of a book inherited from a grandfather, or that "outside smell" of the family dog in November. It smells like riding your bike to work on a foggy spring morning. It even smells like the salty pungence of hard work and that singular bouquet of odors that bathes the birth of a child.
Redemption tastes like a fall harvest yielded though loving labour and attentive care for soil and plant. It tastes like a Thanksgiving turkey whose very "turkeyness" comes to life from its own animal delight on a free range. It tastes like the delightful hoppy bitterness of an IPA shared with friends at the neighbourhood pub. It even tastes like eating your broccoli because your mother loves you enough to want you to eat well.
So redemption looks like the bodily poetry of Rafael Nadal and the boyish grin of Brett Favre on a good night; it sounds like the amorous giggles of Julia and Paul Child and smells like her kitchen; it reverberates like the deep anthems of Yo-Yo Ma's cello; it feels like the trembling metre of Auden's poetry or the spry delight of Updike's light verse; it looks like the compassionate care of Paul Farmer and Mother Theresa. Redemption can be spectacular and fabulous and (almost) triumphant.
But for the most part, Spirit-empowered redemption looks like what Raymond Carver calls "a small, good thing." It looks like our everyday work done well, out of love, in resonance with God's desire for his creation—so long as our on-the-ground labour is nested as part of a contribution to systems and structures of flourishing. It looks like doing our homework, making the kids' lunches for school, building with quality and a craftsman's devotion, and crafting a municipal budget that discerns what really matters and contributes to the common good. Of course, redemption is the fall of apartheid, but it's also the once-impossible friendships forged in its aftermath. It's an open seat on the bus for everyone, but it's also getting to know my neighbours who differ from me. It's nothing short of trying to change the world, but it starts in our homes, our churches, our neighbourhoods and our schools.
It should not surprise us that redemption will not always look triumphant. If Jesus comes as the second Adam who models redemptive culture making, then in our broken world such cultural labour will look cruciform. But it will also look like hope that is hungry for joy and delight.

A Mere Wannabe

Once upon a time, I thought I was adventurous.  But photos such as these smack me upside the head with the reality that I am only a very pathetic version of a Wannabe Adventurer.  

I'm OK with these three.  I would do this.

These, however, I find terrifying:

See the rest of the photos here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Psalm 23: Chorale

My Shepherd will supply my need:

Jehovah is His Name;

In pastures fresh He makes me feed,

Beside the living stream.

He brings my wandering spirit back

When I forsake His ways,

And leads me, for His mercy's sake,

In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death

Thy presence is my stay;

One word of Thy supporting breath

Drives all my fears away.

Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,

Doth still my table spread;

My cup with blessings overflows,

Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God

Attend me all my days;

O may Thy house be my abode,

And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,

While others go and come;

No more a stranger, nor a guest,

But like a child at home.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Monday: Brandenburg Concerto #3

1 man + multiple melodicas (I can't tell how many...3 maybe?) + 10 tracks = unique entertainment.  You'll notice his hands aren't always playing what you're actually hearing, but this is reportedly because he actually laid down 10 tracks and didn't take the time to sync multiple video tracks with the audio.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Past & Future

Past and Future

My future will not copy fair my past
On any leaf but Heaven's. Be fully done,
Supernal Will! I would not fain be one
Who, satisfying thirst and breaking fast
Upon the fulness of the heart, at last
Saith no grace after meat. My wine hath run
Indeed out of my cup, and there is none
To gather up the bread of my repast
Scattered and trampled! Yet I find some good
In earth's green herbs, and streams that bubble up
Clear from the darkling ground, — content until
I sit with angels before better food.
Dear Christ! when thy new vintage fills my cup,
This hand shall shake no more, nor that wine spill.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

History as Moral Philosophy

The historian of morals and ideas has a mission no less austere than that of the historian of events.  The latter has the surface of civilization, the struggles of the crowns, the births of princes, the marriages of kings, the battles, the assemblies, the great public men, the evolutions in the sunlight, all the exterior; the other historian  has the interior, the foundation, the people who work, who suffer, and who wait, overburdened woman, agonizing childhood, the dumb wars of man with man, the obscure ferocities, the prejudices, the established iniquities, the subterranean reactions of the law, the secret evolutions of souls, the vague shudderings of the multitudes, the starving, the barefooted, the bare armed, the disinherited, the orphans, the unfortunate and the infamous, all the goblins that wander in darkness.  He must descend with a heart at the same time full of charity and of severity, as a brother and as a judge, to those impenetrable casemates where crawl in confusion those who bleed and those who strike, those who weep and those who curse, those who fast and those who devour, those  who suffer wrong and those who commit it.  Have these historians of hearts and souls lesser duties than the historians of the exterior facts?  Do you think that Dante has fewer things to say than Machiavelli?  Is the underworld of civilization, because it is deeper and more gloomy, less important than the upper?  Do we really know the mountain if we do not know the cavern?

We must say, however...a decided separation between the two classes of historians might be inferred, which does not exist in our mind.  No man is a good historian of the open, visible, signal, and public life of the nations, if he is not, at the same time, to a certain extent, the historian of events, and vice versa.  They are two different orders of different facts which answer to each other, which are always linked with and often produce each other.  All the lineaments which Providence traces upon the surface of a nation have their dark but distinct parallels, in the bottom, and all the convulsions of the bottom produce upheavals at the surface.  True history dealing with all, the true historian deals with all.  

--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables