As readers, we remain in the nursery stage so long as we cannot distinguish between Taste and Judgment, so long, that is, as the only possible verdicts we can pass on a book are two: this I like; this I don’t like.
For an adult reader, the possible verdicts are five: I can see this is good and I like it; I can see this is good but I don’t like it; I can see this is good and, though at present I don’t like it, I believe that with perseverance I shall come to like it; I can see that this is trash but I like it; I can see that this is trash and I don’t like it.
When bae makes too much green drink and delivers heaps in the french press pitcher.
Finished reading: Theology as a Way of Life by Adam Neder 📚
Finished reading: Salvation in My Pocket: Fragments of Faith and Theology by Benjamin Myers 📚
A Blessing for Ascension Day
By Jan Richardson
I know how your mind
trying to fathom
what could follow this.
What will you do,
where will you go,
how will you live?
You will want
to outrun the grief.
You will want
to keep turning toward
watching for what was lost
to come back,
to return to you
and never leave again.
hear me when I say
all you need to do
is to still yourself
is to turn toward one another
is to stay.
and see what comes
the gaping hole
in your chest.
Wait with your hands open
to receive what could never come
except to what is empty
You cannot know it now,
cannot even imagine
what lies ahead,
but I tell you
the day is coming
when breath will
fill your lungs
as it never has before
and with your own ears
you will hear words
coming to you new
You will dream dreams
and you will see the world
ablaze with blessing.
Wait for it.
To recover wholeness means both seeing aright and desiring aright. This includes seeing the material world, creation itself, “as communicating the intelligence and generosity of the creator.” For the self to be whole, notes Williams, is not to be “self-actualized” or to be metaphysically self-sufficient in the modern idea of autonomy, but rather for each human self to “move in the mode for which it was created … in alignment with the purpose of God, habitually echoing in finite form the infinite ‘desire’ of God for God, of love for love.”
I’m posting this mashup video as an example of what Jeremy Begbie calls “hyper hearing.” My beloved wife was spinning Zeppelin’s first album, when she heard a Green Day song in the progression under “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” So, I gave it a quick Google.
There is no problem of evil. There is only a problem of good. Why does a world that is so often cruel, insist on being beautiful, of being good?
Finished reading: The Christian Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Colin Gunton 📚
It must be that the church is in Eastertide that I keep thinking about New Creation. I added a tag for it some time ago and just today posted a favorite Robert Jenson quote. To go along with that, I just skimmed this article that details Makoto Fujimura’s gaze toward New Creation in his recent book Art + Faith.
I think, almost daily, of this passage from Robert Jenson:
The truly necessary qualification is not that the City’s streets will not be paved with real gold, but that gold as we know it is not real gold, such as the City will be paved with. What is the matter with gold anyway? Will goldsmiths who gain the Kingdom have nothing to do there? To stay with this one little piece of the vision, our discourse must learn again to revel in the beauty and flexibility and integrity of gold, of the City’s true gold, and to say exactly why the world the risen Jesus will make must of course be golden, must be and will be beautiful and flexible and integral as is no earthly city. And so on and on.
If to obtain the temporal inheritance of his human father, a man must be born of the womb of his mother; to obtain the eternal inheritance of his Heavenly Father, he must be born of the womb of the church.
I heard chatter from some swirling blue jays and turned to find, just off the walking trail, this:
This is what God’s mercy is: an unconditional gift of incalculable cost. It can only be embodied in history in human shape, in the shape of a life and a death seen and accepted as something entirely defined as God’s gift to all; a life which is a total offering both to God and to men and women, so total that human limitation becomes irrelevant. A human life like this is not just a matter of history, it is the abiding sign of God’s presence in the world.
From the liturgy of the eucharist by the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Words attributed to St. Augustine:
Behold what you are. Become what you receive.
Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny and nothing else.
“Cleansing the Temple” Malcolm Guite
Come to your Temple here with liberation
And overturn these tables of exchange
Restore in me my lost imagination
Begin in me for good, the pure change.
Come as you came, an infant with your mother,
That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground
Come as you came, a boy who sought his father
With questions asked and certain answers found,
Come as you came this day, a man in anger
Unleash the lash that drives a pathway through
Face down for me the fear the shame the danger
Teach me again to whom my love is due.
Break down in me the barricades of death
And tear the veil in two with your last breath.
From the last lines of “On Fairy Stories” (PDFs of the article are easily unearthed), JRR Tolkien:
But in God’s kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still go on, and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the happy ending. The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now, perhaps, fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation. All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will like and unlike the fallen that we know.
In a Fresh Air interview, Zain Asher describes her mother training her in what she calls ‘the eight hour rule.’
8 hours (1/3): Sleep
8 hours (2/3): Work
8 hours (3/3): Work on dreams.
Mark Sebanc’s article makes the case that Tolkien deployed the serious and learned device of play in his fantastic, or what Tolkien called ‘Enchanted,’ stories. Sebanc:
It seems to me that of all the ways of looking at Tolkien’s mythopoetic genius, at the truths that he breathes with praeternatural elvish craft through silver, the most comprehensive and overarching way would be to see it as falling into the category of a game-something that the ancients saw as being far from shallow and sophomoric, merely a children’sthing, as we might be tempted to see it. Plato links play with culture, denominating these two ideas as the things he deems most serious. These two words, “play” and “culture,” are, moreover, closely cognate in the original Greek. This is no accident of etymology. There are untold and fascinating intellectual depths to this idea of play, which Huizinga’s magisterial work, Homo Ludens, goes far towards explicating. It strikes me as being one of modern intellectual history’s idkes mnitresses, a superb interpretive tool with the help of which we may arriveat a better understanding of Tolkien’s achievement and, adver- satively, a keener insight into the poverty of thought and form that blankets modern literature like a miasmic counterpane of marsh gas.
It occurs to me that a profound sense of play requires the work of improvosation. What seems to link play together with improvisation is the element of surprise. Surprise unfurls reality with a sense of ‘all-of-the-sudden-ness’. All of the sudden, something concealed is revealed; yet, in being revealed, the reality is simultaniously uncovered and made strange.
The juxtaposed paradox of coming to know and being left wondering leaves the knower with a sense of delight. The surprise and delight of play and improvisation act something like the lowest common denominator of that allusive quality we term humor. Steve Wilkens: pulls some of these threads together:
It is hard to define humor itself. A dictionary definition such as ‘something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing” hardly seems to capture the richness and variety of humor. Instead of attempting to define humor, it seems more helpful to focus on how it works. Humor builds on punch-line surprises, disruption of the conventional, reversal of expectation, juxtaposition of seeming incommensurate things, challenging boundaries, misinterpretation, redefinition of the familiar, satire, paradox, irony, and other related devices…Doesn’t it seem possible that these incongruities and surprises share common ground with humor, and isn’t the delight we should feel at the oddity of these stories akin to the delight we experience in a good joke?
Nick Cave’s Sacred Space. Joseph Campbell spoke of the sacred place as that place where:
…a joy that comes from inside, not something external that puts joy into you—a place that lets you experience your own will and your own intention and your own wish so that, in small, the Kingdom is there.