Archive for the ‘biblical Christianity’ Category

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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the Fathers weakness >

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
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What weakness! Our Lord lived 30 years in Nazareth with His brethren who did not believe on Him (John 7:5). He lived 3 years of scandal, popularity and hatred, fascinated a dozen illiterate men, who at the end of 3 years all forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50); and finally He was taken by the powers that be and crucified outside the city wall. Judged from every standpoint except the standpoint of the Spirit of God, His life was a most manifest expression of weakness and the idea would be strong to those in the pagan world who thought anything about Him, that surely now He and His crazy tale were stamped out.

O.C.

on the outside looking in >

Saturday, September 12th, 2015
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I recently watched the movie Standing In The Shadow Of Motown. The entire movie was good, though I was a little less into the guest spot cameos of people covering the hits (Bootsy on bass > oh yeah – singing classic Motown? not so much). There was a lot of talk in the movie how unknown the Funk Brothers were and are, since back in the day album credits rarely listed session musicians. Drummer Steve Jordan said at one point; the band was so happening that you could put any singer in front of them and they’d have a hit. Often times studio musicians recognize this and just accept that as part of the gig, but the sheer number of hits and almost complete anonymity of these Funk Brothers is truly eye-popping. One of the most brutal examples of this came during a section featuring guitarist Robert White (who wrote the well known intro to My Girl). The guitarist was at a restaurant and My Girl came on the radio. Someone in the restaurant came up to the booth White was dining at and was gushing at that intro “do you hear that? It’s amazing!” and Robert White, who wrote it, looked up and said “yeah I…” then stopped, looked down, and said “I’ll order the BBQ chicken”. His friend asked him later – “why didn’t you tell him that was you?” And Robert responded “nah – he’d never believe some old washed up guy like me”…the friend stated Robert was always on the outside looking in. I was struck by that. Here was a guy who was on many, many number one hits, playing with an amazing roster of talent, living what many would consider “the dream” and he was on the outside looking in. But he isn’t alone.

Shut Up and Play the Hits features the last show of LCD Soundsystems (the show is very good) interspersed with the quiet, somewhat desperate and doubting day to day unwinding life of James Murphy as he calls it quits with LCD Soundsystems. If you want another example of someone on the outside looking in, watch this. The contrast of high energy concert with an almost bleak depressed “everyday life” as Murphy goes about his business makes the whole thing even heavier. A part of me wondered if Murphy was shooting for some melodrama, in being emotionally neutral, or even flat – but the interview brings out the gnawing doubts he lives 24/7. Outside looking in. And this got me thinking..why? (more…)

thoughts on what it means to bless

Saturday, August 15th, 2015
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not too long ago I heard a sermon by a man that got me thinking about the concept of being blessed, or more specifically – what the meaning of “bless” actually is. Why? I dunno actually – I think a statement was made at some point in the sermon about making room for blessings as if a blessing would take up a certain amount of space opposite a curse or evil… I know – I know – the sermon was actually good – but the real core meaning of bless is quite different from what we have come to think about it. So, let’s dive in shall we?

If you were to ask 10 people what the word bless means, most of them, if not all of them, would say something to the effect of prosper, enrich or succeed. Some might also mention praise or adore, but most folks that I know think of blessing as being akin to getting what you want. In the west unfortunately this has almost become a kind of materialistic mantra as in “I am so blessed I have this house / job / car / health / misc. stuff.” Now don’t get me wrong, having stuff is fine, succeeding is fine, having health and good things are reasons to be thankful, however they do not convey the essence of the word bless. Further, having stuff or being successful or prosperous most certainly does not mean we are approved by God.

Essentially to bless is to kneel. (more…)