June 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
…in 1613, the theater built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s acting company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, burned down.
“It was a round, wooden building with thatched-roof balconies for the gentry. A cannon was fired during a performance of Henry VIII to mark the King’s entrance, the thatched roof caught fire, and the whole theater was lost in an hour. It was rebuilt the next year, but taken down in 1644 to make space for tenements, after the Puritans closed all theaters.” (Today’s edition of “The Writer’s Almanac”)
So they closed down all theaters in 1644? No wonder Milton was having kittens over censorship that year. No plays, and a very short list of books. I weep for the poor suppressed artists (not to mention art-consumers!) of 17th century England, driven to underground poetry readings and clandestine performances of Hamlet, Everyman, and Dr. Faustus.
How sad that the most brilliant people are stuck being brilliant at the time when nobody wants them. But so it always is. And once they’re wearing a cement kimono they are suddenly the toast of the town.
June 26, 2009 § Leave a comment
A simple and profound lyric that is a great challenge and comfort to me is the first verse of Henry Baker’s The King of Love My Shepherd Is, written in 1868.
The King of love my Shepherd is
Whose goodness endeth never
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever
It is convicting to ask myself how much I really believe this. I lack nothing? Really? Nothing? This does not mean that I have no lack of virtue, but rather that I lack no spiritual blessing, no emotional support, no closest confidant, and no possession. Let’s remember this when we are lonely for old friends, or wishing for a spouse or for a better this or a better that. Contentment is not found in circumstances or possessions. If I am discontent without something, I will be discontent with it.
June 25, 2009 § 1 Comment
Yes, one more blog-theme change. I hope this is the last one. The first one was too dark, the last one was too white. Brown and green are two of my favorite colors, so even though this green is a bit bright, I like it as a whole.
This theme doesn’t allow me to keep the photo of seeds on the top however, so now it appears on the “confused seeds explained” page. And there is also now a silly photo of me on the “Who am I” page.
Hopefully I am DONE with edits and changes on this thing, and I can just enjoy it as a blog from now on.
Can I just say how much I LOVE my new Bible? It’s a Cambridge NKJV wide-margin.
My poor old 2005 ESV TruTone took a bath recently, courtesy of my leaky water bottle.
June 23, 2009 § Leave a comment
This is what is now on the “Confused Seeds Explained” page of my blog, so you’ll see why it has such a weird name.
- Hebrews 5:12-14 says this:
- If you are not already very familiar with it, please read carefully the quote above this blog.
- Do you see any similarities between it and the Hebrews passage? Milton was a 17th century Puritan poet who longed to see followers of Christ “have their senses exercised to discern good and evil”. He challenged Christians to study and understand the world so as to be effective ministers and witnesses to those who are of it; he knew that the discernment of good and evil is one of the most important skills a believer should develop. Another Puritan, Thomas Hall, put it this way: “We must bring human learning home to Divinity to be pruned and pared by Biblical truth.”
- You see, skill in discernment leads to better obedience. And is not Obedience the only purpose of a Christian? Good and evil are intertwined throughout the world in which God left us, and only when we carefully “scout into the regions of falsity” (Areopagitica) with minds saturated in Scripture can we hope to tell the one from the other. Few issues we encounter are black and white. Hence Milton’s reference to Psyche’s pile of black and white seeds. What does a pile of such seeds look like from a distance? Grey. Our challenge is to steep our minds with wisdom and approach close enough to make the distinction.
- No shortage of opportunities awaits us. The purpose of knowledge is conduct, therefore let us be first students of Scripture, and then students of our world. Though saved out of this world, we were left in it, and we have a very large amount of information to process every day.
- The goal of such a skill is not to become uber-educated sanctified know-it-alls. That can be the temptation. Instead, it is to be able to digest not only the “solid food” of the Word, but to use that food to feed wisdom and the understanding of every concept, written or spoken word, situation, person, and movie we encounter.
- We will never be experts. But God calls us to be discerning. Not to hide from the world, but to be in it in and understanding way, and to know better how to obey Him in each choice of life. It will be HARD. It will be dusty and dirty and sweaty, but we are commanded to run the race! And to do so with endurance. Do not fear corruption by the world; we are already fully corrupt. But the image of God still remains! The Spirit gives understanding to the diligent; so we take everything we see and we compare it to Scripture, exalting what is good and rejecting what is wrong. This is much more difficult when the Word is not already tightly woven through your mind. Know your Bible.
- Milton also wrote in Areopagitica, “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”
- Christ commanded us to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”, right? As my sister pointed out in her speech to the LRCA graduates, Christians are very good at fulfilling only half of this command.
June 23, 2009 § 1 Comment
Lester: “The moral of the story is, don’t bring a bullet through Israeli security.”
M.E. (me): “I don’t deserve to be a crazy person.”
Lester’s brother, on putting alcohol in coffee: “That way you can get drunk and sober at the same time.”
Sister: “The beauty of having both a mind and a body is that it is always possible to be in two places at once.”
Lester posted this early in the summer after our first year as roommates:
“Reasons I miss my roommate–
– She has more clothes than I do (does that mean she’s more fully clothed?)
-She is not blue and does not pinch my finger twice in the same day. Nor is she green and does not drip green goop on me (unlike Jabba the Hutt and some other machines at work)(yes, i have names for the machines)
-I now have to steal my brother’s computer instead of hers
-My room is decidedly lacking in choice targets – pictures of larry the cucumber are not the same as a roommate who can chuck a moose back
-I can’t steal her black hair clip anymore, which is somewhat of a crisis, as I have apparently misplaced my white one
-If the phone rings, it is no longer always for me (in fact, now it’s never for me – that’s what you get for having 8 people in the house, and 2 of them are teenage boys)
-I can’t talk to her on msn while we’re in the same room
-She can’t say she knows where I sleep in a threatening voice, because she doesn’t
-Since I have no target, Sharpe, Harper, and Minikey are all still buried in my pack (I don’t even know which one) and haven’t seen the light of day since I left school
-I can’t give her any more good night tackles L oh well, maybe Becca can take over that one
-I love you M.E. *kisses for you*”
Lester: “Kelly is the lord of the room; the one with the illegal weapon, and no one will ever know his secrets!”
M.E.: “Smash the eggshells!” (there is a long sad story behind these words, and my use of them at that time was entirely cathartic)
Lester: “Did i mention that I am presently going through Hogan-withdrawal, and that I have developed a strange admiration for Scottish polka?”