"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Playoffs!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I heard the Bells

I was doing a little research on the hymn I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and found that the original poem actually has 7 stanzas instead of the 5 most people know. Here is how the other two go:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

When added to the fact that this was written in 1864, we understand pretty quickly that these verses are about the Civil War. I found these verses particularly interesting because there is an absence of blame or side-taking. I have struggled with this war for sometime. Was the North really trying to end slavery? or was President Lincoln just a tyrant? Was the South really fighting for states' rights? Or were they using the Constitutional argument to shelter slave owners?
Slavery of this kind is obviously a grave moral problem...does it justify war?
Whatever your personal feelings about this issue, we can all agree that war is a horrible thing. Peace being drowned out by gun and cannon fire.

I urge you, my readers, to work actively for peace in the new year. But I would remind you, that true peace comes only through a relationship and knowledge of the Prince of Peace. We can work in the secular world for the absence of violence...but let's work in this new year for actual peace!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This holy day lends itself to so many thoughts. That Christ was born in Bethlehem (the house of bread) in a manger (the object out of which animals ate) means that the Eucharist is obviously forshadowed from the very beginning of Jesus' earthly walk.

One could reflect on what it means for Christ to take on humanity in lowly humility. How is he God and Man?

What exactly did happen in the stars that notifed the wise men? What was it like to be tending sheep at one moment and then listening to the celestial song of the angels which bade the shepherds to go into Bethlehem to find the Babe.

What extra maternal joy Mary must have felt! What was going through Joseph's mind? What dedication it would take to raise a Son, not only not his own, but who was even in the manger his Lord!

I would love to explore the theological and devotional aspects of all these questions, but tonight I want to challenge you my readers to achieve blessedness.

The mother of our Lord, Mary, sang that "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." Why? Because the Word of God dwelt inside her. That made her blessed. Now none of us need ever have the priviledge Mary had in carrying the Son of God; he has completed the work he set out to do.

However, each of us can empty oursevles of the false self and prepare by God's grace a home for such a mighty guest. We can, like Mary, carry the Incarnate God in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We can also eat (figuratively of course-ezekiel not withstanding) the Word of God. We can take his word written and make it a "lamp to our feet, and a light to our path." If you want all generations to call you blessed, make sure that at this Christmas the Word of God who has appeared in the flesh is the same Jesus, the same Savior and King, that resides within you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The New Anglican Diocese

I have worshipped in the Reformed Episcopal Church since I was six. During that time, the REC has taken part in serious discussions regarding the unity of Episcopalians in North America who have been disenfranchised by the Episcopal Church's headlong run into heterodoxy.
These discussions, agreements, and concordats have, I'm sure, been pleasing to the Lord who pleaded that "they may be one." (John 17:21)

However, as I was reading the Theological Statement posted on the website for the Provinve of the Anglican Church in North America, I found one point particularly sticky. In general, the document affirms the traditional Anglican Church's committment to Catholic Christianity, for which it has my highest praise (whatever that's worth). But point (5) really bothers me. It can be found here. http://www.united-anglicans.org/about/theology.html

Of the ecumenical councils of the Church, numbering 21 in total (Nicea 1-Vatican II), the statement only considers the work of the first seven, and with strong qualifiers on 5-7. Now, that an Anglican document would only acknowledge the first seven councils is nothing new. Eastern Orthodox Christians acknowledge only the first seven as well. But who is going to be the authority which determines that "the clarifications...are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures"? This is the problem of Sola Scripture (the scriptures alone) as a principle. While the Word of God is a treasure "sweeter than honey and better than gold", its value is diminshed if it is not properly interpreted. Who is the arbiter of what the Bible teaches?

It appears to me that the architects of this document believes that the fathers of the Church, meeting in council, messed up. So who gets to determine who messed up the interpretation of Scripture?

I think it is important to understand Scripture within the context of Christian tradition. It is not that tradition and reason exist as secondary authorities to Scripture, rather that the Scriptures function as a witness to the primary tenets of Apostolic Christianity, read: tradition (hence the reason the post-apostolic fathers, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, chose the books and letters they did to comprise the New Testament.) That said, the traditions passed on through the Church should not be disqualified because Scripture does not explicity state them as truth. Instead, we should accept the teachings of the Councils as a witness to the traditions Paul spoke of in his letters to Timothy (II Tim. 1:13-14, II Tim 2:1-2,) and the Thessalonians (II Thes. 2:15), especially since you won't find in these council teachings anything contradictory toward Scripture.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Me and Bobby Frost

Many in the Academy have spoken poorly and disdainfully of Robert Frost. Admittedly, the notion that that he is the poet of the common man carries weight. Most of his writings are much easier to understand on the surface than Shakespearean sonnets or the poetry of Keats (though by no means should that be a hindrance to study their works.)

But there is a profound thought in one of Frost's more popular poems, The Road Not Taken.
I'm not talking about those famous last lines:

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads divered in a yellow wood, and
I, I took the road less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.

Those lines are nice (though widely misinterpreted as an attempt to inspire people to be leaders and not followers-note that lines 2 and 5 which match in the rhyme scheme do not have the same number of syllables creating a slight discord on the last line...indicating that perhaps the road more travelled would have been wiser....but I digress.)

But the lines immediately preceeding these are what I have been contemplating recently.

Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

When my grandmother died in October I was thinking of these lines as my family left her house in Jacksonville. I have so many memories of that house and my deceased grandparents. But as we drove away, I felt like a piece of my life slipped forever into my past.
I felt that way after finishing playing for Les Mis. I put countless hours of practice into it. I went to 10 rehearsals, including three four hour marathons the week of the shows, followed by the three perfomances. By the time the show ended on Saturday I was exhausted. But I could not help but think of the fact that this work into which I had put so much effort was being ripped away and becoming a permanent part of the past. At the very least, I would never have the experience of doing this show with the same wonderful people.

So enjoy the times that God gives you. Be careful not to live for those times...live for eternity...but don't waste the moments, experiences, and relationships that come your way. It is better, although bittersweet, for them to be a part of your past than for them to be non-existent.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My First Blog

Well actually this is not my first blog. I have posted numerous notes on myspace and facebook, but have gotten complaints from people who do not have accounts being unable to view them. (As if it is difficult to take five minutes and sign up for an account.)
My URL may be cause for reflection among you, my new readers. Do not speculate on the origin unless you are an avid reader of Shakespeare...which somewhat ironically, I am not.

It comes from The History of Troilus and Cressida and is my adaptation of the following lines:

I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
Th' imaginary relish is so sweet,
That it enchants my sense.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, I would just like to inform you, my reader, that I will be commenting and/or bloviating on religious, political, and cultural issues. I will also discuss books, music, and sports. Please tune in next time for another exciting read!!!