Saturday, November 6, 2010

For Our Conversation Is In Heaven

Richard Ledderer relates the story that when St. Paul's Cathedral burned in the fire of 1666, Sir Christopher Wren was hired to rebuild it. After 35 years of work the new building was finished and Queen Anne came to see it. After a tour she told Sir Christopher that his cathedral was "awful, artificial and amusing." He was delighted! What splendid praise from the queen!

"Awful" of course meant awe inspiring.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Had I Leant My Eyes Unduly?

This is, I think, only the second time that I've posted an original poem of mine on here. I don't normally like to do so, but in honor of my friends Devika and Wan Dee I will do it. This is a first draft, so I totally welcome the harshest criticism while I work toward a final version.

When I wrote this I somewhat used Edna St Vincent Millay's poem Renascence as a jumping off point. You will notice similarities in our beginnings, but not much more. If you click on her name below you can see her poem.


Two tall pines and a sugar maple
Upside down in the pond I see;

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Academic

Someone just told me (in an email) that the type of writing I do sounds rather academic. I responded that some of it is, but that the most academic writing I've done (Covenant And Community) has changed me in countless ways. She asked me to explain. Here is my response.

To begin with, you need to understand that I’m religious, Christian. That’s why I do theology.

For years I had seen my religion as being primarily between myself and God.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hast thou no scar?

When God was converting Saul (Paul), he didn't suggest that anyone tell him how much rosier his life would be with Christ. Instead he promised Ananias that:

"I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Acts 9:16

That was God's appeal to Saul? Is that how we sell the Gospel? Paul later seemed to assume that suffering for Christ was a proof of our usefulness to him.

"Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane--

Monday, July 12, 2010

Church Happens When . . .

A few years ago, two friends were acting as missionaries, befriending and evangelizing a group of people who would never intentionally go to any church. They purposely gave up their own ownership of their lives to be available to their new friends. Their goals were to:

A) live out the Gospel in community with these people
B) show them Jesus through their relationships (more than in talk or on paper)
C) see them come to know Jesus for themselves
D) help them find good church homes in which to grow

One day, as they were meeting with some of these friends who had become as close as family,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Exponential Growth

"Half of all churches in America did not add one person through conversion last year."

Read that again.

Now, read it again.

That is pathetic! Our nation is crumbling, the people are searching, searching, searching. What they are searching for, no one seems sure. But they are searching. This nation is hungry, and we in the Church know that we have access to a food that truly satisfies.

So what is wrong?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh Death, Set The Dying Free!

Written by Christina Rossetti on the fourth (or fifth?) anniversary of the death of her dear friend (and old beau) Charles Bagot Cayley.

Bury Hope (originally untitled, title added by later editors)

Bury Hope out of sight,
No book for it and no bell;
It never could bear the light
Even while growing and well:
Think if now it could bear
The light on its face of care
And gray scattered hair.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Too Stupendous For Comprehension

"I suppose no man ever saw Niagara for the first time without feeling disappointed. I suppose no man ever saw it the fifth time without wondering how he could ever have been so blind and stupid as to find any excuse for disappointment in the first place. I suppose that any one of nature's most celebrated wonders will always look rather insignificant to a visitor at first, but on a better acquaintance will swell and stretch out and spread abroad, until it finally grows clear beyond his grasp - becomes too stupendous for his comprehension.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Profoundly Emptied Souls

This is from a book that I am not allowed to review until the middle of the month, but then I will post a review on here. It is a most excellent book, so stay tuned. Until then, I can't wait to post a quote or two.

When we adopt an ideological approach to Christianity,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Silent Fear, Overflowing With Love

William Cowper had a break down. That is a very mild term for what he had. He became an invalid and nearly a lunatic for a couple of years. It was all caused by his panic when he finished his tutelage in the law and was to give his defense before a panel of lawyers. He couldn't get up in front of them. He couldn't have them looking at him. He had stage fright. I can so well relate! Not so long ago I was so paralized to think of getting up in front of the church and preaching that on Sunday morning I couldn't quit thinking how much easier it would be to just kill myself than to have to go up there. Stupid? Maybe. But I can relate to Cowper's panic.

During his "illness," as it is so placidly referred to, some kind folk

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whut He Was Called To Do

True story about my dad's mom, as told to me by her sister:

"One day when we were little girls we were riding the horses out into the back field, taking some water to our dad who was working out there. As we got close her horse jumped and your grandma fell off and got hurt. Dad caught the horse and told her to get back on, but she didn't want to. She was scared! But Dad scolded her and told her that if she didn't get back on right away then she would always be scared and would never ride again. Well, she was a stubborn one, so she got back on and rode that horse all the way back home. And then she never rode again!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'Tis When A Value Struggle - It Exist

I'm loving the almost-rhymes in some of Emily Dickinson's poems. Where a perfect rhyme would have lent these a sing-song giddiness, the not-quite-rhymes invite a more contemplative spirit in us.

This Bauble was preferred of Bees -
By Butterflies admired
At Heavenly - Hopeless Distances -
Was justified a Bird -

Did Noon - enamel - in Herself

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All Ye That Walk In Willow-wood

Here are four of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's sonnets, a series called the Willowwood sonnets, followed by a response from his sister Christina Rossetti. I am interested here, besides the beauty of the language and the depth of emotion that all five sonnets produce in me, in the question of originality.

Our modern conception is that for a work of art to be great it must be thoroughly original. But that has not always been the assumption for great art. Sometimes it is in the interplay between the source material and the new version that we find the real ART. Take for example CS Lewis' reworking of the Myth of Sisyphus, which he titled "Till We Have Faces."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If I Have Freedom In My Love

To Althea, From Prison

When Love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
And fetter'd to her eye,
The gods, that wanton in the air,
Know no such liberty.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Have Not Yet Stopped Shivering

Well, a new decade for us all! 'Tis the season for evaluating our pasts and for making goals for the future. In that spirit, I want to present a couple of "Top Ten" lists.

First, here is the Top Ten list of books that I have read over the past decade. It is not the top ten books written in the past decade, but rather ones that I have read. I'm not so big on reading all the new books, I like to read and re-read books that have timeless authority and that give me a larger vision of life, this world, and God's hand in the lives of his people.

So, without further ado:

10. The Rabbit Proof Fence,