Monday, June 29, 2009

Camping: Redondo, Jemez Mountains, Santa Fe National Forest

I promise more photos all week. And any of you who have never camped here in our mountains, ought to think about it. They are beautiful!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Eclogues

I received a copy of this little book for my birthday from my dear husband. Now, he is not usually wont to buy me old Latin poetry for my birthday, but he had particular reasons for doing so in this case. Eldest ds (Ben, the Classicist) is likely writting about this very set of 8 poems by Virgil, and we feel we need to understand what he is writing about. Still, I find the thought a little intimidating.

There are only 8 short poems in this book. Why the pages and pages of introduction? Do I have to wade through that before I read the poems? Do I need a tutor to understand them? These are the questions I ask as I slide it to the bottom of my nightstand pile.

One of these days, I will be courageous, and just dig in to the first poem. And i can always call Ben and have him explain them to me.

Any other courageous souls out there want to read Virgil with me?

Monday, June 22, 2009

God is good in our pain

The first blog I read this morning (here) made me cry. It is well written about indecent acts of sacrilege in this broken and fallen world. Pain is the norm in this life.

The next blog I read today (here) reminded me that pain is meant by God for our good, even when we can't exactly see the big picture. Somehow, in the mind of the omnipotent Creator of the universe, pain is the best way to accomplish certain good ends in this world. I don't always understand it, but I trust Him.

I was encouraged today by the following video from PCA pastor David Wayne (aka Jollyblogger). God is good in our pain. he says, in part, that instead of avoiding all pain and running for our peace and affluence, we should look at what God is doing.

David Wayne - My Battle with Cancer from David Wayne on Vimeo.

Lord, give me the grace to trust you, to see your plan, to believe your wisdom for my life, even when it hurts.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sabbath Sentiments

Arise My Soul, Arise by Charles Wesley (1742)

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fortune and chance are heathen terms...

"Hence we maintain that by his providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined. What, then, you will say, does nothing happen fortuitously, nothing contingently? I answer, it was a true saying of Basil the Great, that fortune and chance are heathen terms; the meaning of which ought not to occupy pious minds. For if all success is blessing from God, and calamity and adversity are his curse, there is no place left in human affairs for fortune and chance."
~Institutes 1.17.1

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Midweek miscellany

*Horrifying item of the week: This article from Oregon on parents suing because their imperfect child was born. (Hat tip: TC)
*Interesting tools of the week: Check out good tips for memorizing scripture here. An interesting-looking bible study method/tool can be found here (hat tip: JT) And here is a little tool to help you tweet your favorite bible verses.
*Funny video clip of the week: At the risk of turning on my own sex, this video had me rolling.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Death is not dying

Today a friend pointed me to this web page, and the video of a talk given by a young woman who is loosing her battle with cancer. Her testimony was both encouraging and heart-rending. But it reminds me of what is really important. If you have time, give it a listen here. And pray for the Barkey family, as mother and wife, Rachel, walks through the end of her life.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Memory verse of the week

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
~2 Corinthians 5:21

Friday, June 05, 2009

Book notes

I recently read, in one of Andrew Kern's posts, a definition of writing. He defines writing this way:
Writing is the overflow of the soul into a pattern of words encoded in visual symbols (letters or hierogliphs) for the purpose of communication.

He goes on to point out that most of the teaching of writing occurs in the second and third parts of writing: putting into a pattern of words, and communicating. But none of that is meaningful without the overflow of the soul.

A couple of days ago, I finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I think it is book born out of the overflow of the soul. It was a book full of beauty and brutality. At times it was very difficult to read. And at times it moved me to tears. The prose and description are beautiful, heart-wrenching. Mr. Hosseini manages to tell a gripping tale, full of love for the Afghanistan-that-was, and yet not without hope for the Afghanistan-that-is. Somehow, amid the many opportunities to turn overly smarmy, he avoids that and gives us something ringing of truth. And he takes a hard look at guilt and the need for redemption.

Though this book is brutal, and despite the fact that the hero figure "discovers" Islam as a sort of comfort despite its emptiness, I highly recommend this book to mature readers. It is a moving portrayal of cowardice and guilt, and the consequences of fleeing from them. And it ends with just a hint of hope. I'm going to have get a copy of Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Have any of you read these, Gentle Readers? I would love to hear your ideas!

And to correct my last Book notes post, I have, indeed, read another Thomas Hardy novel. I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles back in high school or college. It was so depressing, and so different, in my memory at least, from Far from the Maddding Crowd, that I forgot it was also a Hardy novel.

I am one section into Daisy Miller by Henry James. Hmm. Don't know if I'll like this one, but I'll give it a try while I take my walks.

And while I sew or do handwork, I am listening to another of Orson Scott Card's novels, this one the first book of the Alvin Maker series, Seventh Son. Card is a compelling and entertaining story teller, and we'll see if I can overlook his Mormon predilection and still enjoy his tale.

And lastly, Al Mohler gives us his summer reading list here. I'm not sure I'll be picking up lots of these, since they are all military-type themes, and that's not necessarily one of my favorites, but there are many good non-fiction titles there for you history buffs and war mongers.

Happy reading, Gentle Readers!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Midweek miscellany

Civil discourse...or not so civil: Interesting thoughts here from Kevin DeYoung on civil discourse, particularly in the blogosphere, can be found here. And in the wake of the horrific murder of a murderer (which makes it no less a murder) I appreciated the thoughts of Robert George and Al Mohler on the Tiller shooting last weekend.

Entertaining ourselves to death:See Piper's convicting thoughts here. You might also appreciate what Mrs. Edwards said here today. She makes excellent points. And if you're still not convinced, try Neil Postman's book. While I am not convinced that he gives the answer to the problem, he is a master of pointing out the problem.

And a little Solzhenitsyn: I enjoyed a recent essay by Andre Seu, wherein she challenges the current administration to beware underestimated enemies. She quotes a challenging address by Solzhenitsyn, which can be read online here. As the preacher said, there is nothing new under the sun. And while you have your Solzhenitsyn hat on, you might try this essay, the last he wrote prior to being arrested. Good food for thought.