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6.23.2008

Speak of the devil... or, rather, heaven.

You know how when you buy a new car you suddenly see that make and model everywhere you go? So I've been reading this book... and first I come across an article between two of my favorite theologians debating it (one being the author), and next I know, Colbert is interviewing him on the Report. No frickin' way.

6.20.2008

More to come...

I've been reading N. T. Wright's book _Surprised by Hope_ (blogger suddenly fails to give me the option of italics. why?!). You will find me quoting it, refering to it, summarizing it, and/or inspired by it for the next week or so. It began slowly for me, mostly because he thought it necessary to establish some foundational ideas that felt 'old hat' to me. Shame on me for finding anything relating to the resurrection to be 'old hat'! Shame on me for using a colloquialism so awkwardly!

Anyway, it has been an educational reminder that the kingdom of God is neither a bizarre notion of Christian fantasy nor a spiritual metaphor for vague internal renewal - but rather, a flesh and blood transformation that begins with our redemption in Christ and ends in a strange, but very real union of heaven and earth, transformed by his glory. Here's one of my favorite excerpts from the book, which I recommend to all:

'It looks as though God intends to flood the universe with himself, as though the universe, the entire cosmos, was designed as a receptacle for his love. We might even suggest, as part of a Christian aesthetic, that the world is beautiful not just because it hauntingly reminds us of its creator but also because it is pointing forward: it is designed to be filled, flooded, drenched in God, as a chalice is beautiful not least because of what we know it is designed to contain or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know the music of which it is capable.'

- later -

I just found this on Benjamin's blog, and simply have to post it. Not that I ever check his blog. Since it's generally in Swedish. And therefore personally futile.
"Fr. Sophrony [Sakharov], in his book on St. Silouan, presents this theory of the “inverted pyramid.” He says that the empirical cosmic being is like a pyramid: at the top sit the powerful of the earth, who exercise dominion over the nations (cf. Matt. 20:25), and at the bottom stand the masses. But the spirit of man, by nature [unfallen nature as given by God], demands equality, justice and freedom of spirit, and therefore is not satisfied with this “pyramid of being.” So, what did the Lord do? He took this pyramid and inverted it, and put Himself at the bottom, becoming its Head. He took upon Himself the weight of sin, the weight of the infirmity of the whole world, and so from that moment on, who can enter into judgment with Him? His justice is above the human mind. So, He revealed His Way to us, and in so doing showed us that no one can be justified but by this way, and so all those who are His must go downwards to be united with Him, the Head of the inverted pyramid, because it is there that the “fragrance” of the Holy Spirit is found; there is the power of divine life. Christ alone holds the pyramid, but His fellows, His Apostles and His saints, come and share this weight with Him. However, even if there were no one else, He could hold the pyramid by Himself, because He is infinitely strong; but He likes to share everything with His fellows. Mindful of this, then, it is essential for man to find the way of going down, the way of humility, which is the Way of of the Lord, and to become a fellow of Christ, who is the Author of this path."

Archimandrite Zacharias in The Enlargement of the Heart

från Glory to God for All Things (http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/)

6.14.2008

Links

I added a few links to my list on the right. They're just a few of the blogs I check regularly, mostly friends and family. Be sure to check out the one with the funny name - I couldn't get the umlaut to work, so it's technically spelled wrong... (and I do admit, I had to look up 'umlaut' just now to spell that correctly). Anyway, please enjoy my faves. My most faithful readers will find that they are really just their own blogs right back at them - so now my readers get to read each other! Maybe I'm not the only one excited?

6.12.2008

What to do when sick.

I woke up with a scratchy throat yesterday, and this morning was considerably worse. I questioned whether to properly wake up at all, but eventually you just can't help it.

So here is my plan for today, as it was yesterday. Before or after a few hours of obligatory online job-hunting (job-hunting in person would be counter-productive in this state of health), I curl up on the couch in front of the picture window stretching out to the sea, take a cup of tea or water in hand, and page slowly and carelessly through Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters.

I have included a photo from Masterpiece Theatre's 2003 adaptation of the novel. It is one of my favourites, and not, incidentally, because of the inevitable romance. No, I am far more intrigued by the family dynamics (not to mention Molly Gibson's phenomenal hair). It is fascinating to see how behaviours which, on the surface, would seem to destroy relationships, ultimately serve to strengthen them. This is something it is hard for me to believe in my own life - but it works beautifully here. I am a little over half-way through - it is some 600 pages long. We will see how far I get before my throat clears, my head steadies, and my little stomach finds its ease. Feel free to join me.

6.09.2008

Sanctification

Sometimes you simply can't help offending people. It is clumsiness, of course, not wickedness. When wickedness offends, there is a need for apology, repentance, sanctification. When clumsiness offends, what is there to do? Who is there to blame? Nothing. No one. For example, let us say you do not have a car. So you walk to church or class or your job interview on this unnaturally hot day, (you cannot help the weather) and you stink. There is nothing for it. You have offended without doing anything wrong. And there is nothing you can do. And you are not to blame - despite all the looks of surprised disgust you receive as you pass by. Or, let us say you do have a car, but something happens to your headlights. You end up on Orangethorpe, just off the 57, calling your father and fiddling with every knob and nozzle you can find from the doorknob to the glove compartment, but alas! the lights will not glow. In fact, the only light for the darkness seems to be the harsh glare of your brights - which will not stay on without you holding the turn stem tight against the wheel and not letting go. Yes, the entire distance from Fullerton to Long Beach. (If you have not caught on that this second and last example was my own experience only half an hour ago, you are not quite savvy with my literary ways.) I know I was obnoxious. Annoying. Bright like an alarm clock at four in the morning. But there was no other way.

I wrote a poem once that had something to do with this, among other things. It is a reminder to look up even in the midst of tripping. I will post it here:


Crossing Main Street, I speak in tongues.
I am not trying to be edgy
in an anaesthetized America--
My body loves the Lord.
When I work, I do little but point to the left
or the right. Still,
the sanctifying Spirit
does not keep me from making mistakes.
I suffer the anger of others
who must suffer me
and cover my errors.
Though he was sad,
the Lord was not angry on the cross.
But what can you ask of man?
My thoughts are sometimes filled with tears
because systems are corrupt,
and I wear the clothes of hungry children.
but I will not be a cynic, oh no.
I will laugh with the sunrise
though you think me a child,
I will cry with the evening news,
though you call me overly sensitive.
This is how I walk on water--
it's the only way I know:
barebacked and open-armed.
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