Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Singing To Their Shame.

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame."

-Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One Diaper At a Time....

Truly delighting in the mundane:

"Those who most manifest the glory of the reign of Christ, who most change the world, do so one diaper at a time."
-R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seek Ye First...

We can't make decisions.

That's becoming more and more glaringly obvious. Young people are not turning into adults. They're not getting jobs or getting married. They are, instead, traipsing in aimless circles, not growing up, not maturing, not living life. We are a culture of everlasting Peter Pans.

We are afraid.

There are so many possible outcomes to our lives, that we are afraid to commit to just one because we don't want to miss out on the others. So we end up not choosing any and missing out on them all. Life is not about making the best possible, most well-thought out, agonized-over decision. If that were the case, we'd waste all our time thinking and no time doing. And when I get to the end of my life, I want to have used it all up, not just hoarded it away.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God." If we get our focus right, and we are truly seeking the kingdom of God, then whatever we do, wherever we go, we will be advancing that kingdom.

Probably the most agonized-over decision of all is about marriage. How do you know that you know that you know that this young man or young woman is the ONE? (All capitalized, of course.) What happens if you marry the wrong one?

JUST "go marry someone, provided you're equally yoked and you actually like being with each other," (Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something.) We need to stop testing people out. Stop fretting and dilly-dallying. Stop making excuses. If people venture into marriage with that "there is only ONE person in the whole entire world whom I should marry" type of mindset, then further down the road, when the going gets tough, they will be tempted to surmise that, perhaps, they might have married the wrong one. And people use that as excuse to divorce. After all, they don't want to be outside God's will. But that utterly misses the point. Whoever you marry becomes the One. Because. . . well, you married them. Instead of tormenting yourself with doubts about them being "right", you make yourself right.

We should try to make wise decisions, yes. But sometimes we're going to mess up. Sometimes the choices we make will be just plain stupid. And that's okay. If we get sidetracked, God will, obviously, put us back where He wants us to be. We don't have to worry about that.

So, instead of always waiting, act. Go somewhere, live someplace, do things, marry someone. Don't be afraid to commit. Life is dangerous. That's just how things are. If you don't take risks, you won't live at all. But we really don't have to be afraid. . .

Do everything to the glory of God. The rest will fall into place.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Widest, Choicest Door

"Love is the widest, choicest door into the passion. God saved the world not by sitting up in heaven and issuing antiseptic directives, but by becoming man, and vulnerable, in Jesus. He died, not because He despised the earth, but because He loved it as a man loves it -- out of all proportion and sense. And when He rose again, He stood up like a man indeed: with glorious scars -- and with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature." 

-Robert Farrar Capon, Supper of the Lamb

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making Us Better

You can learn an awful lot about a society's beliefs by looking at the things they create: If a culture is decaying, the art will decay, as well. 

Something about Degas' paintings has always bothered me. I never could quite place my finger on it... But they gave me an unsettled sort of feeling. Like things were just not right. 

And now I know why:

In her book, 'Saving Leonardo', Nancy Pearcey discusses the difference between Degas and DaVinci. And the difference is not just incidental. It's a hugely important worldview difference. 

Degas was part of a new, and radical, approach to art. Before, a painting had always been a story. Now it was a snapshot. (Hence the chopped-off heads of the ballerinas, and the man in the far left who can't seem to make up his mind whether to be in or out of the painting.) Art had always been a way to convey a moral point, but now they were just trying to get a "slice of life" effect. Forget the morals. They're old fashioned.

Now contrast that idea with DaVinci: 

In both of those paintings, there is an obvious focal point. Your eyes are naturally drawn to the central object; to the thing that Leonardo DaVinci wanted you to see; to the purpose of the painting. He uses traditional techniques and compositions to create a unified whole. He even uses light and shadow to place all emphasis on the most important part of the painting. 

Soooo. What's the most important part of this painting down here? Well. Nothing. 
Your eyes don't know where to focus. There's nothing that stands out to you, nothing to make impression. 

Degas (and others like him) rebelled against all tradition and purpose and interpretation. They didn't create to tell a story. The art just was there. A flash of unaltered chance. This all was a symptom of a serious problem: People of that time had started proclaiming that life was unplanned, random. As a result, they wanted the art to be unplanned and random too. Since we had stopped believing that we had a coherent story to live, artists had stopped giving their art a coherent story to tell. 

That is why Degas' art should not feel. . . right. It has a purpose, yes. But that "purpose" is to convince us that there is no purpose. No truth.  Those artists believed that truth could only be found by peeling away interpretation. But by taking out all the interpretation, they also took out the vision. And where there is no vision, we know the people will perish. That is why we have to create with vision; like Handel, who said that he should be sorry if his Messiah had only entertained people; He wished to "make them better". That should be the goal of creating, always: To make us better. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Carrying Something Beautiful Inside.

I love the Truth that connects these three... 

“In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart.” 
- Blaise Pascal

"Though your fears assail you
And your body may fail you
There's a fire that burns within us." 
- Andrew Peterson

“You have to carry the fire.
I don't know how to.
Yes, you do.
Is the fire real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I don't know where it is.
Yes you do. It's inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
- Cormac McCarthy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Little Things

"Be great in little things."

It's the little things that get overlooked, undervalued. But it's the little things that make life. It's individual moments that end up making years. If you fail in living all the minutes well, you fail in living life well. If, on the other hand, you make each small thing count, then when everything is added together it will all count.