Friday, July 13, 2007
1. Bright Side of the Road – van Morrison
2. That I Would Be Good – Alanis Morissette
3. Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan
4. It Takes a lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry – Bob Dylan
5. I’m in the Mood – John Lee Hooker
6. Where It’s At – Beck
7. Graze – Live
8. To Ramona – Bob Dylan
9. Foot of Pride – Bob Dylan
10. Devil’s Haircut – Beck
11. Can’t Complain – Nickel Creek
12. Twilight Zone – van Morrison
13. Rock House Boogie – John Lee Hooker
14. Sunset Soon Forgotten – Iron and Wine
15. Nothin' but the Blues - Ellis Marsalis
I now pass on this madness to ... Kallie Markle, Jeff Hall, and Eric Lee.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Oh the irony! Last Sunday in our discipleship hour, which is basically Sunday school on steroids, we were looking at Acts 10. Our pastor commented on how God sometimes works unexpectedly and in very real and obvious ways. We were then asked to mention a time when God spoke to us in a very real, obvious, and unexpected way. I had nothing. Those questions always clear my mind.
This morning, however, was a different story. I don’t want to get into all the knitty gritty details about the stuff of my life, and so I won’t. I will say that I prayed for God to make Himself known to me today because I really needed to know that He was there. I think I used words about feeling God’s glory (density, thickness, weightiness), which in
“‘God does not want us to be lying idly on our backs; therefore he does not effect everything for Himself. Nor does He want us to be boastful; therefore He does not give us everything. But having taken away from each of the two alternatives which is harmful, He has left us what is for our own good.’ Truly does the Psalmist say: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain’ (Ps. 127:1). For it is impossible to ‘tread on the asp of basilisk and trample on the lion and the dragon’ (Ps. 91:13. LXX), unless you have first cleansed yourself as far as you can, and have been strengthened by Him who said to the apostles: ‘See, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and on the enemy’s power’ (Luke 10:19). It is on this account that we have been commanded to entreat the master not to ‘lead us into temptation, but to deliver us from the evil one’ (Matt. 6:13). For if we are not delivered from ‘the fiery arrows of the evil one’ (Eph. 6:16) through the power and help of Christ, and found worthy of attaining dispassion, we are labouring in vain, thinking that through our own powers or efforts we shall accomplish something. Therefore, he who wishes to ‘to stand against the wiles of the devil’ (Eph. 6:11) and render them ineffectual, and share in the divine glory, ought day and night to seek God’s help and divine succour with tears and sighs, with insatiable longing and fire in his soul. He who wishes to share in this glory purges his soul of all worldly pleasure and hostile passions and desires. It is of such souls that God speaks when He says: ‘I will dwell in them and walk with them’ (2 Cor. 6:16). And the Lord said to His disciples: ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my commandments; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and take up Our abode with him’ (John 14:23).”
St.Theodoros The Great Ascetic, A Century of Spiritual Texts
Of particular note, consider this again: “Therefore, he who wishes to ‘to stand against the wiles of the devil’ (Eph. 6:11) and render them ineffectual, and share in the divine glory, ought day and night to seek God’s help and divine succour with tears and sighs, with insatiable longing and fire in his soul. He who wishes to share in this glory purges his soul of all worldly pleasure and hostile passions and desires.”Did I forget to mention that I had not read the Philokalia in months and that this was the first passage I read this morning? Needless to say, I did not need to read on.
I think I sometimes rely too much on coffee to be found a faithful disciple. Nonetheless, hostile passions creep in more than I would care for, but God has overcome the world! And so I will toil on.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I think I will meander a bit in a sort of a reoccurring blog series called “postures” in which I will view different postures people assume in their everyday lives. To start off, I want to view the posture of one’s hands during prayer.
I wonder why when I was a child I was taught to fold my hands. I suppose it was so that I would not be distracted by objects with which to fiddle. On the one hand, this is a good thing as ought to teach children to focus on what they are doing, i.e. praying to God, not wondering what toys are near by or who is sitting next to me or even what sort of noise might come out if I pull the hair of the person next to me. We fold our hands so remain undistracted and focused.
But is this sort of a negative approach to what we are doing when we pray? Can we really remain focused when we are concerned with what not to do? It’s like telling someone standing in line not to think about the time. I wonder if a better practice might be to open our hands in a posture more symbolic of receiving and offering, which seems to be more specific to we are doing when we pray anyways. Can a posture of open hands help with the distractions as well as have a more positive formation on our lives?
I think so. At this point I might refer you to the quote in my profile as well as the name of my blog: Two Empty Hands.
It might be time that we move away from “close your eyes and cross your hands” to something more intentionally formational.