I thought I had taken two weeks off from the Friday Five, but it’s been three. The retreat, both the preparations for and the aftermath of, kept me a little preoccupied. My apologies for the delay. And thanks to all of you who helped make October 2nd the “busiest” day ever at this blog. I try not to pay attention to the stats, etc., but the bar chart peaked on that day so I took a peek and noticed it. A big heartfelt thanks to you all. And now, as Casey Kasem used to say, “on with the countdown.”
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Quote of the Week: “We can’t bind ourselves to joy—we have to kiss it as it flies.” ~ William Blake
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What are your limitations? Is there anything holding you back?
H/T: Thoughts on Theater
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Heather King is fast becoming a favorite writer/author/blogger of mine. I first heard of her a little over a year ago when I learned of her book Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux. I read the excerpt below over at the CERC. I love her description of Jesus.
It’s easy to scoff at miracles, but another thing I liked about Christ was that he never performed magic-trick miracles; he didn’t pull rabbits out of a hat, or produce gold ingots.
He performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes; he made the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear. He performed miracles to bring people alive; he operated on a higher level of reality in order to bring love into the world.
He didn’t go off and sit in a cave and grant folks an audience one by one, like some wise old shaman, either; he mingled. He ate and drank with people; he touched them, human flesh to human flesh: demoniacs, lepers. And when he did heal, he never held the people up as sideshow freaks or floor models to show how great he was…
The small, hidden, anonymous God I found in the Gospels appealed to me deeply. It was the God I’d found in sobriety, who worked through other people, who had a sense of humor, who held me accountable and forgave me at the same time. Who didn’t force or judge, just invited me to do a little better, then put the challenges in my path to teach me how.
Christ subverted all worldly systems — political, familial, financial: not for the sake of being subversive, but because acting with utter integrity is automatically subversive. He was left of the furthest left and right of the furthest right, both radically liberal and radically conservative. In one breath he could say, “Honor your father and your mother” (Mk 7:10) and in another, “let the dead bury their own dead” (Lk 9:60).
This last paragraph really speaks to me. One of the things that can be most maddening to me is how those with a political agenda or a cause to promote will attempt to co-opt Christ for their own purposes, cherry-picking a verse here or there to illustrate why their cause is just while they ignore the rest. He doesn’t love more if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or whatever. He wasn’t a liberal nor was he a conservative. He was both. He is all. They killed him for that. So why should those of us who attempt to walk on his path expect anything less than ridicule or persecution?
During the discussion portion of the men’s prayer group I meet with each Wednesday morning this subject came up. One of the men is a psychologist and counselor and he mentioned a study he read where the author argued that the Ten Commandments were unnecessary to live a moral and ethical life. That they were irrelevant in our capitalist society and that capitalism was our true religion because the commandments were in opposition to them. While I said that I don’t agree with this man’s view, I did agree that if you are an individual who holds to the principles of those ten commandments and to live your life based upon those basic tenets you, my friend, are counter-cultural. To live that life is to go against the grain. You will be ridiculed. Don’t believe me? Watch network television for a week if you can stand it.
Funny ol’ world.
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For 13 weeks in the Fall semester of 2012 (A-M) and 13 weeks in the Spring semester of 2013 (N-Z), I will be exploring the legacy of C. S. Lewis. Professor, apologist, novelist, literary critic, fantasy writer, philosopher, theologian, and ethicist, Lewis has exerted a profound influence on the way millions of people read literature, make moral choices, think about God, and live out the Christian faith. By means of a genial blend of reason and imagination, logic and fantasy, profound academic insight and good old common sense, Lewis has challenged the modern world to re-examine the claims of Christ, the Bible, and the Church, re-experience the goodness, truth, and beauty of literature, and re-expand its vision of God, man, and the universe. In each 600-word blog I will enlist Lewis’s aid as I study, both theoretically and practically, a topic of perennial interest to humanity and of particular interest to the early 21st century.
So far he’s covered Aslan, Beauty and Courage. It is definitely worth a look.
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During my series of posts on my recent retreat, a friend of mine told me he loved one photo in particular “if I removed my hairy knee” so that the full view might be enjoyed.
I concede the point. Here you go John.