Archive for the ‘biblical Christianity’ Category

GK Chesterton Saint Francis… in a word – brilliant!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
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Really, too many highlights to list – but I will put this post up with the pdf (it is in public domain).

…Rossetti makes the remark somewhere, bitterly but with great truth, that the worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. The converse of this proposition is also true; and it is certain that this gratitude produced, in such men as we are here considering, the most purely joyful moments that have been known to man. The great painter boasted that he mixed all his colors with brains, and the great saint may be said to mix all his thoughts with thanks. All goods look better when they look like gifts. In this sense it is certain that the mystical method establishes a very healthy external relation to everything else. But it must always be remembered that everything else has for ever fallen into a second place, in comparison with this simple fact of dependence on the divine reality. In so far as ordinary social relations have in them something that seems solid and self-supporting, some sense of being at once buttressed and cushioned; in so far as they establish sanity in the sense of security and security in the sense of self-sufficiency, the man who has seen the world hanging on a hair does have some difficulty in taking them so seriously as that.

…There was nothing negative about it; it was not a regimen or a stoical simplicity of life. It was not self-denial merely in the sense of self-control. It was as positive as a passion; it had all the air of being as positive as a pleasure. He devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold. And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure. There undeniably is the historical fact; and there attached to it is another moral fact almost as undeniable. It is certain that he held on this heroic or unnatural course from the moment when he went forth in his hair-shirt into the winter woods to the moment when he desired even in his death agony to lie bare upon the bare ground, to prove that he had and that he was nothing. And we can say, with almost as deep a certainty, that the stars which passed above that gaunt and wasted corpse stark upon the rocky floor had for once, in all their shining cycles round the world of laboring humanity, looked down upon a happy man.

read it here:

G.K.Chesterton-Saint Francis

The Claim of War: Render unto Ceasar

Thursday, September 6th, 2018
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The war will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is a finite object and, therefore, intrinsically unfitted to support the whole attention of human soul. In order to avoid misunderstanding I must here make a few distinctions. I believe our cause to be, as human causes go, very righteous, and I therefore believe it to be a duty to participate in this war. And every duty is a religious duty, and our obligation to perform every duty is therefore absolute. Thus we may have a duty to rescue a drowning man and, perhaps, if we live on a dangerous coast, to learn lifesaving so as to be ready for any drowning man when he turns up. It may be our duty to lose our own lives in saving him. But if anyone devoted himself to lifesaving in the sense of giving it his total attention – so that he thought and spoke of nothing else and demanded the cessation of all other human activities until everyone learned to swim – he would be a monomaniac. The rescue of drowning men is, then, a duty worth dying for, but not worth living for. It seems to me that all political duties (among which I include military duties) are of this kind. A man may have to die for our country, but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering unto Ceasar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself

CS Lewis – from “Learning in War-Time” (The Weight of Glory)

Although this was written WRT WWll unpacking this in today’s heated and histrionic atmosphere is very applicable on many levels.

I clasp thy feet, O father of the living!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
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Thou wilt not let my fluttering hopes be more,

Or lovelier, or greater, than thy giving!

Surely thy ships will bring to my poor shore,

Of gold and peacocks such a shining store

As will laugh all the dreams to holy scorn,

Of love and sorrow that were ever born.

GM

Screwtape explains the law of undulation:

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
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My dear Wormwood,

So you ‘have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away’, have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Subgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. Has no one every told you about the law of Undulation?
Humans are amphibians– half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy’s determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation– the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life– his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.
To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite. Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself– creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because he has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in,, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.
And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs– to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtual as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit them,

You affectionate uncle
Screwtape

In everything on this earth that is worth doing, there is a stage when no one would do it,

Friday, April 20th, 2018
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except for necessity or honor. It is then that the Institution upholds a man and helps him on to the firmer ground ahead. Whether this solid fact of human nature is sufficient to justify the sublime dedication of Christian marriage is quite an other matter, it is amply sufficient to justify the general human feeling of marriage as a fixed thing, dissolution of which is a fault or, at least, an ignominy. The essential element is not so much duration as security. Two people must be tied together in order to do themselves justice; for twenty minutes at a dance, or for twenty years in a marriage In both cases the point is, that if a man is bored in the first five minutes he must go on and force himself to be happy. Coercion is a kind of encouragement; and anarchy (or what some call liberty) is essentially oppressive, because it is essentially discouraging. If we all floated in the air like bubbles, free to drift anywhere at any instant, the practical result would be that no one would have the courage to begin a conversation. It would be so embarrassing to start a sentence in a friendly whisper, and then have to shout the last half of it because the other party was floating away into the free and formless ether. The two must hold each other to do justice to each other. If Americans can be divorced for “incompatibility of temper” I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.

 

GKC

On enemy ground

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
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Screwtape  twists the gift of pleasure :

 Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in it’s healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have one many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His  invention, not ours.  He made all of the pleasures: all our research so far has not been able us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which he has for bidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that and which it is at least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving forever diminishing a pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return – that is what really gladdens our father’s heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.

Father of me, thou art my bliss secure.

Thursday, October 19th, 2017
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Make of me, maker, whatsoe’er thou wilt.
Let fancy’s wings hang moulting, hope grow poor,
And doubt steam up from where a joy was spilt–
I lose no time to reason it plain and clear,
But fly to thee, my life’s perfection dear:–
Not what I think, but what thou art, makes sure.

GM

Man’s highest action is to reach up higher,

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
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Stir up himself to take hold of his sire.
Then best I love you, dearest, when I go
And cry to love’s life I may love you so
As to content the yearning, making love,
That perfects strength divine in weakness’ fire,
And from the broken pots calls out the silver dove.

GM

The worst power of an evil mood is this–

Thursday, February 4th, 2016
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It makes the bastard self seem in the right,
Self, self the end, the goal of human bliss.
But if the Christ-self in us be the might
Of saving God, why should I spend my force
With a dark thing to reason of the light–
Not push it rough aside, and hold obedient course?

GM

new song > everything burns

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
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sooo – that was 2015 eh? Was it me or did this year whistle right on by? This next song, “everything burns” came about a while back as I had a huge bonfire in my back yard. I did some footage with my iphone in slo-motion and was suitably interested in the dancing very orange flames. The lyric and melody came at once – partially inspired by some graffiti I saw some time back. I did not know “everything burns” was in a Batman movie. Anyway, as I thought about the term I wrote the song with the idea playing off of some of the various burnings and fires in scripture (Hebrews 12:29, about our God being a consuming fire…Revelations 20:14 with death and hell being cast into a lake of fire…Acts 2:3 the tongues of fire at Pentecost…1 Corinthians 3:13 with our works being tested by fire…2 Peter 3:7 the heaven and earth being reserved for fire in judgement), after trying a few ideas – it became too much, almost forced… it is not meant to be at all “dark” – but my wife said it sounds depressing, oh well…. I like the repetitive melody and lyrics – and what basically is my only vocal take on the song (originally just a guide)… maybe this is one of those graffiti-esque musical jottings… I ended up not using my slo-motion flame shots because one got “corrupted” with a text title when I was trying to flip the perspective using an app on my phone…. so I opted for some video-blocks I have from a trial subscription – and I have my logo “fired” for fun. Right. 2015 revealed the benchmark of 100 published songs on my website. I feel pretty good about that. Don’t know if you have ever written, performed, produced and mixed a song, but the number 100 feels important to me. It is also a part of the larger “M initiative” …It is funny to think about how far I have come musically from the first songs, and subsequent doubts (which I still have), only to get accepted by several international agencies and end up on major broadcast cable tv with some decent money to boot. I still feel very much like a beginner in music. Some people complain about writers block – I feel like I have writers “burst”… I really have so many ideas musically (and artistically in general), and recently have been starting way too many and not finishing near enough. It is such a joy to make music and create in general, God is so good. There looks to be a lot coming in 2016, so strap yourself in, and, get ready, the best is yet to come!

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