Saturday, February 22, 2003

Atlas School

Some of you have asked about Atlas School and what we do there. Here is a link to the website, if you have not already visited. I've just added a new section to the "mission statement" page, entitled "What We Do and Why". It's a sort of blow by blow of a school day, our curriculum, and the reasoning behind it.


Hellenestic Postures

The further we get from the source, the more painfully obvious it becomes that the Church has embibed unhealthy doses of Hellenism. And because the law of prayer is the law of belief (lex orandi lex credendi), the most potent influences are hoisted upon us in Christian worship. I quote from Uzukwu's book Worship as Body Language:

"The matter is outlined in bold relief by two characteristic figures: the thinking Socrates and the praying Jew. When Socrates was seized by a problem, he remained immobile for an interminable period of time in deep thought; when Holy Scripture is read alound in the synagogue, the orthodox Jew moves his whole body ceaselessly in deep devotion and adoration." Thus the Greek way is "rest, harmony, composure, and self control." Whereas the Hebrew way is "movement, life, deep emotion, and power."

Because we are wholistic creatures, the way we move our bodies has deep alliances with our communion with God (1 Cor. 6:19). May we learn to pray like Hebrews.


Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The Gospel Means Freedom

I woke with a glorious thought this morning. We have forgotten that sin was a cruel task master. Sin bound our hands and minds and lied to us. It made us believe we lived in a small world. It gave us small minds and small eyes. Sin took away our hunger. Sin dulled the pain. It made us to walk in lock step. It wanted us to color in the lines. And we have forgotten that the gospel has made us free.

We have forgotten that the gospel made us free. That means, to begin with, that the gospel has already taken place. The good news of the gospel is history. God dealt with the real bonds of sin in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Therefore evangelism is an awakening. Eternity is in the hearts of men. They know in their bones they are free. But sin makes us love the bonds. Sin makes us love the bars and chains, we think are there. But we are free. The world has been free for over two thousand years. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Salvation has come to the world, the gospel made us free.

But sin was a small minded mold that set our bodies to slow, boring, and selfish movements. Habits are the hardest to shake, and Adam’s was bred deep. Being awakened then, being shaken out of our stupor, is teaching our bodies freedom. We must know that the gospel means we are free. We tend to think that means free to keep being small minded and tidy. We think it means pressed shirts and shiny shoes. So we live our lives in tiny cubicles: small sand boxes for grown ups. We glare and glower with our little toys and trinkets. We seize our precious scraps of life, when all the while there’s a world that dances around us.

The gospel teaches us to be wild. Jesus came to give life and life abundant. The gospel means reckless abandon. The gospel life is a wild life.


Friday, February 14, 2003

A Valentine Break-Up

It’s not too much to hope for more,
When God’s love is unending.
I’ll go in strength what e’er the chore
Though chocolate still be pending.

My love, I’ve sought to love you true.
I’ve given without taking.
Alas! My soul grows dim to you,
Unless there’s chocolate baking.

I swear with tears! No oath I void!
My agony you’re sowing!
My battered heart you've cruelly toyed!
No chocolate. So I’m going.


Thursday, February 13, 2003

My wife says she wants me to take her to Narnia for summer vacation.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

As it turns out, I have the blung.


Tuesday, February 11, 2003

More Annie Dillard

I began to respond to Nick's question to the previous post, but it got so lengthy that I decided it had earned the standing of having its own post. So here it is:

Nick et al, Dillard was born in 1945. She grew up in Pittsburg a Presbyterian it seems, converted or dabbled in Catholicism, and returned (I infer) to some sort of congregationalist/methodist/presbyterian flavor of the Faith. She lived in Washington State for a little bit and then settled back east (New England?) with her husband and children. She's a journalist, as I said, particularly interested in nature. But she's thoughtful and exuberant about the world we inhabit. Here's a little to wet your appetite; this is taken from "Holy the Firm", which, as I went back through it, should also be included with "Expedition" as a good start to liturgics and sacramentology:

"The higher Christian churches--where if anywhere, I belong-- come at God with an unwarranted air of professionalism, with authority and pomp, as though they knew what they were doing, as though people in themselves were an appropriate set of creatures to have dealings with God. I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words that people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed. In the high churches they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a strand of scaffolding who have long since fogotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it any minute. This is the beginning of wisdom."

--Annie Dillard from "Holy the Firm"


Monday, February 10, 2003

Annie Dillard

I highly recommend a good sturdy dose of Annie Dillard. Dillard is a journalist with the heart of child. She absolutely loves creation, and is constantly stunned by the way it all works. She sees theology and philosophy in mountains, rivers, and insects. My favorite bits are her essay "An Expedition to the Pole" and "An American Childhood". "Expedition" is a must read for anyone interested in liturgical studies.


Saturday, February 08, 2003


My wife is Bookends!

Which Simon and Garfunkel album are you?


Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Bridge Over Troubled Water

I'm not usually into these quiz things, but I dig this music. As long as people tell me what I want to hear, I'll advertise. You can take this quiz here.


Monday, February 03, 2003

Where is Faith?

Where is faith? In a faithful person, you might say. But where is faith, in that person? My gut tells me that for most, explicitly or implicitly, faith, as a fruit of the Spirit's work in man, is thought to be found in a person's brain. This is not surprising since it is relatively easy to manipulate the thoughts of your brain, but it is a mysterious mission (at best) to attempt to control the thoughts of your hands and legs. We, however reformed we claim to be, still want to have some power over God. It seems what is meant by a lot of folks saying, 'sola fide' is really 'faith alone in my brain.' And then it's no wonder that hearty affirmations of efficacious sacraments make them choke. And yet the work of the Spirit is in the whole man: renewing the mind throughout our bodies. If faith is only needed in our brains, St. Paul should seem odd for all his insistance on the subduing of our bodily members to Christ. Lastly, if we as the Church make up Christ's body, and our bodies will one day be made like his body, then this has to inform not only our ecclesiology and eschatology but our ontology and epistemology. There is more going on than our brains can tell us. Not only do we need faithful brains, but we need faithful eyes, faithful knee caps, and faithful finger nails. And that, my friend, is why it's important to dance.


Saturday, February 01, 2003

Cain Shrugs

Cain shrugs his shoulders;
his name is not in vain.
The sweat that turned the bolders
no longer shines to feel the pain.

Remus should have known
his cross would bend the sky
-for all the mercy Christ was shown-
it's still the single greatest lie.

But voiceless cries the sin
from Hitler to the Flood
(unless one rose again).
Every city must be built in blood.