Monday, March 29, 2010

But I Wanted Something Different

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem, rightly honoured by the crowds as conquering King.  They did receive their King, just not the King they wanted and a few days later in their confusion and dismay, would shout, "Crucify him!".

I've always been grateful to have been born on this side of the resurrection, to have an understanding that God had plans other than defeating our worldly enemies in order to relieve our oppression,  that the real oppressor was sin that led to separation from him who gives us life.  How many times, when we ask God for something that we think we need, we end up with something totally different than what we thought we should have received.  This invariably brings us to a test of faith.  Do we really trust our Heavenly Father to give us, his children, good gifts when it appears so differently from what we'd hoped?  We meet this challenge differently at different times, sometime weakly and other times with strong resolution, but in the end, it is the same decision the crowds had to make on Good Friday, to accept or reject Jesus as King.   To say, "Yes, Lord.", or to say, "I must have been mistaken, you can't be the one I had hoped for.".

How I do sympathize with the crowds.  Jesus is different than what we thought we wanted as he goes about breaking  our stereotypes, even our archetypes.  He is the suffering servant who shows us the Father, who empties himself to give us life - who is life, who says we must take up our cross.  He may be different from what we thought we wanted, but he is just what we need.  He is the true King.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Life Redeemed

I am continually amazed at Christ's work of redemption. He not only redeems us, but our past, our future, our mistakes. This work can be seen so clearly in the life of Anne Rice. I've linked to an interview with her before. Here she is in her own words from the website, I Am Second, simply sharing about her life and the life Christ has brought to her. Really lovely. Please, do watch.

H/T to my cousin Jane who shared the link on FB. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring

I wish we still celebrated the new year in March.  It seems more appropriate to celebrate a new year when wild fauna and flora spring to life. Here's Vivaldi's Spring from The Four Seasons

Friday, March 19, 2010

Paul Ryan on Health Care

Here's an interview with Congressman Paul Ryan on the current healthcare bill, looming deficits and the obfuscated legislative process.

Also, to bring the numbers into better perspective as to what this will mean for the future of our country, here's the U.S.'s fiscal ranking by the C.I.A., and it is dead last. We carry the most debt and it will only get worse with the passing of the current Senate health care bill and be even worse than that once the House of Representatives add on their amendments.

Here is a short summary of Ryan's proposed, Patient's Choice Act, which is both fiscally sound and better protects citizen's rights.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick

Along with a strong affinity to all things Irish, is my great admiration for Saint Patrick.  Enslaved as a boy by the Irish, he escapes as a young man to return to his family, is called by the Holy Spirit to become a missionary for Christ to the very people who had enslaved him.  He returned to Ireland as a bishop and converted a nation without destroying their culture, but allowing Christ to transform it.

Here is The Breastplate of Saint Patrick.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession
of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the
Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Morality Of Music

I continue to think about music and art, the objectiveness of beauty and how this affects the way we think and live.  See here, here and here for my previous thoughts on the matter.

Roger Scruton has written an article titled Soul Music.  In this piece, Scruton presents the idea that music itself, not just lyrics, carries with it morality.  He begins with referring to Plato's Republic, and then says this:
We know of music that is good-humoured, lascivious, gentle, bold, chaste, self-indulgent, sentimental, reserved, and generous: and all those words describe moral virtues and vices, which we are as little surprised to find in music as in human beings. Our ways of describing music give incontrovertible proof that we find moral significance in music—and it would be surprising if this were so and we did not also believe that people should be encouraged to listen to some things and discouraged from listening to others. For our characters are shaped by the company we keep, and those who rejoice in the company of crooks and creeps are likely to become crooks or creeps themselves. It is difficult, therefore, to disagree with Plato’s view that music has a central role in education, and that musical education can go badly wrong in ways that impact on the moral development and social responses of young people.
And even if we don’t forbid musical idioms by law, we should remember that people with musical tastes make our laws; and Plato may be right, even in relation to a modern democracy, that changes in musical culture go hand in hand with changes in the laws, since changes in the laws so often reflect pressures from culture. 
 He goes on to contrast music that triggers a response to music which provides a proper object of that response, natural and unnatural rhythms,( the latter which leads automatic and autonomous movements, dancing at rather than with), the melodic and amelodic.  There is much more to the article and I highly recommend it.

Perhaps we should be more thoughtful about art and music. Can we really expect to listen to music and not be changed in some way?  We have become very timid in our society about making judgments.  If music has a moral element, if it is soul and character shaping, we would be negligent in not evaluating it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Great Theologians

Scot McKnight has linked to and says good things about Gerry McDermott's new book, The Great Theologians:  A Brief Guide.  It's interesting knowing the author, reading the book and then reading the comments after Scot's post, (especially those who know nothing of the book or its author).

While there are a few of us who have enough of an interest in theology to have searched out classes, lectures, books and articles on the subject, there are many who are interested or would be interested but don't know where to go to get started.  While many of the 'great theologians' are not as inaccessible as many think, this book will ease fears of delving into further study and whet the appetite for those who yearn to understand theology and how we've gotten to the various theologies taught today.

Gerry has formatted this book with questions at the end of each chapter which would serve well for a group study and he also gives suggestions for further reading.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy 9th Birthday, Olivia!

My daughter Olivia turns nine years old today. How very quickly the years have gone by!

Olivia has a very tender way with animals and young children, loves horseback riding, playing piano, pleasing people and her big sister.

Happy Birthday, dear Olivia. Your daddy and I are very proud of you!

My daughter, Emma, Olivia's elder sister, took this picture on a train ride in W.Va.