Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Lived

My musings and take on this song...

To live. To really live. What does it mean? 

Living long? Comfortably? Comfort is an enemy of living life well. Sitting on the couch is dangerous. We should run into the storms and not away from them. Boldly, because we don't fear. We are as safe there as in our beds. "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10). Our death is already set. Sealed. Done. For now we just have to focus on how we are using our lives up. 

Living hurts. People die. Children rebel. Friends betray. We have to go on no matter how badly we want to curl up and hide. But that's the marvel of it. That's the genius of the plot. This Story is bursting at the seams with drama, and tragedy, and tears. And comedy. And laughter.  

Really living means that we scrape our knees. We hope against hope. We run farther and jump higher and sing louder than we should. We love so hard that it hurts. And  we laugh when God makes a joke. Even if the joke involves us.... And even if it feels like anything but funny. 

It also means being hated by the world. When everyone runs...we may need to stay. When everyone surrenders...we may need to challenge. When everyone gives up...we may need to keep right on going. That sort of thing burns up a lot of life. But it's good to use it up. Otherwise, things grow stagnant. And you grow old. And all that overflowing life is wasted.


"I did it all...
I owned every second,
That this world could give. 
I saw so many places 
The things that I did.
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived." 
(OneRepublic, I Lived.) 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Weight of Glory

This book is beautiful. I loved every page of it.

"Only miracle is plain; it is the ordinary that groans with the weight of glory."
-Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Childish Life

(An excellent article by Doug Wilson. 

A recent cover story for Time entitled “The Childfree Life” is actually not about the reduction of number of children in our midst. It purports to address that subject by discussing the declining American birth rate and the increasing number of women who will never have a child—deliberately. But our reactions to stories like this miss the central issue.


Our declining birth rates, and the fact that one in five women will remain childless today, as distinct from one in ten as recently as the ’70s, don’t tell us about the vanishing child at all. This is actually the era defined by the conquest of the child. We are not reducing the number of children—we are increasing the percentage of them, and we do this by perpetuating childhood as far as we can make it go. With dual incomes, credit cards, endless distractions, and birth control devices, that’s pretty far. Perhaps the most defining feature of childhood—and the most definitive evidence of its perpetuation in our culture—is that children are not having children.
Isn’t this just a tired reiteration of the very common charge of selfishness directed at childfree couples in their forties, the kind of charge that boors like to level at cocktail parties? No, a charge of selfishness should never be leveled lightly; it’s a weighty one, and we have to define it before saying anything that barges into other people the way this can. When appealing to any standard, whether to critique or defend, we always have to ask what the standard is, and why it is authoritative.


Is being deliberately childfree selfish? What is selfishness, and who decides what is selfish? That is where the real problem is: When a typical child of our times says “I do” and says that behavior rejected by previous generations is nevertheless something that “works for me,” then I would suggest we don’t need to research this very much further. We have entered the era where every self manufactures his or her own ethical system and hangs it from his or her very own hook in the sky. One might say the closets of our generation have a whole lot of “self space.”
One might say the closets of our generation have a whole lot of “self space.”
And when self is the standard, nothing can be condemned as selfish. So, assuming the right to configure your own closets the way you please, I would say that childfree couples are being no more selfish than a host of other people who have opted for other choices.


But if God defines what selfish is—and he is the one who defines what our bodies are for, and he has told us to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28)—then the question is entirely different.
In the Bible, selfishness is revealed through relationships with people. Children are people, and so it is not possible to talk about the childfree approach without talking also about its effect on relationships. A child is not an object, like a laptop or camera, that you can simply forego and that is the end of it. A child refused is arelationship refused.
A child refused is a relationship refused.
Our current trend toward chosen childlessness is simply the latest manifestation of what has been a long confusion. There was the “population bomb” hysterics in the ’60s. And we have seen the obvious inability of centralized economies to feed their people, along with the erroneous conclusion that people were the problem. As a result, we have been conditioned to see any appeals to bear children for “the good of the nation” as being the kind of theme you might see in a Soviet Art mural, urging all the women to get out there and do their duty for Mother Russia.
But bringing up children is a blessing from God that allows us to exercise selflessness. It’s a riotous affairfilled with joy, messes, sleep deprivation, sorrow, picking up toys, and more joy. The one thing it does not do very well is flatter any parent’s desire for long stretches of herbal tea-fueled “me time.”
“In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined” (Prov. 14:28).

Monday, August 12, 2013

"This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad."

-Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Being a Child

This is not really a complete post. Just some musings. . . 

"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." 
(2 Timothy 2:22)

"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." (Luke 18:17)

The difference between childlike and childish? Childish is selfishness. Childlike is joy.

Childish sees only the smallness of things. Childlike sees everything life-size, real-time, big and wonderful - larger than life.

Childish cannot laugh at itself. Childlike sees hilarity and laughs boldly.

Children see wonder in ordinary. They see wonder in monotony. Do it again. They are not tired out from living.

Adults are often childish. But rarely childlike. That's a tragedy of growing up. We lose the awe. But we don't have to. We need to grow out of being foolish, but not out of being impulsive. It's only when an impulse is foolish, that we should try to stifle it.

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to those whose hearts are childlike. Make beauty. Laugh at yourself. (Sometimes you are a joke. Embrace that.) Go on adventures. Delight in sameness. Marvel at life.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Do It Again

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Making Happiness

Happiness is a big deal, right?

You want to be happy. I want to be happy. The mom of seven wants to be happy. The guy in the skinny jeans sipping a mocha-caramel-coconut-crunchy-frou-frou-whatchamacallit latte wants to be happy. We're all looking for it, in one way or another.

We want more. So we try things. Lots of things. Things, people, ideas. Sometimes his latest and greatest Apple gadget will make him feel happy. But then a few months will go by, a few later and greater Apple products will emerge, and a few nagging discontents pop up. He twiddles his thumbs, just knowing I need that. I need that. That would make me better, cooler... happier. 

The grass is always greener. All is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun.

"There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less." (Chesterton). If we set our hearts on simple things, if we truly desire less, then we will be content. Contentment is a necessity of happiness. Someone with a little bit that he loves will be far more happy than someone with a lot that doesn't really matter. Once you start hoarding, it's nearly impossible to stop. There is always somewhere else to go, someone else to love, something else to buy, some other philosophy to test out. 

I think we spend far too much time counting up the troubles in our lives, while forgetting to count the happinesses. Our focus is on our bad job, our small house, our mean friends...all our difficulties, while right in front of us, and inside of us, is joy. We live on a ball hurtling through space, but we don't fall off. Our hearts beat, our lungs breathe. We live in a world of grass and sky and color. Laughter, faith, baby kisses, blistered hands --- that's joy. That's grace. Count your happiness. "It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness," Spurgeon said. 

We make happiness by loving little things. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Laying Your Life Down

Okay. Another quote from Death By Living....just because it's too awesome to only quote once :)

"Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain --- they carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter." 

N.D. Wilson, Death By Living

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Christianity Enfleshed

I'm reading N.D. Wilson's new book, Death By Living. Beautiful words, lovely Saturday. And I am happy :)

"Christianity is no good at all as an idea. Stop thinking that an asserted proposition is the same thing as faith. It's a start. But it can also be a costume. Enflesh it.

And what is Christianity incarnate?

Merry Christmas. Join the wise men and find out. Follow the shepherds. Be blind by the road or hungry in a crowd or terrified in a boat or lame at a pool or dangling through the ceiling or a whore with too much perfume or a thief in a tree (or on a tree) or an adulteress facing execution or a liar or a sodomite or a hypocrite or a traitor or all of the above. Be guilty. Betray and despise all that is good and true and beautiful. Walk past that shocked soldier with the sour sponge on the stick. Stand with Mary at the foot of the cross. And see.

The cross is no idea."

(-N.D. Wilson, Death By Living.)