Refuse to Cower!

As National Poetry Month 2024 comes to its end, we acknowledge poetry’s ongoing influence in our lives. Though I will continue to post poems, I will refrain from daily posts for now … maybe until next April? No, I’m pretty sure I’ll post again before next year.

I began the month with a lighthearted April Fools Day poem. And it’s worth mentioning on this day fifty-eight years ago, The Church of Satan was founded. Though I hesitate to draw attention to this founding, I recognize the pervasive lure toward New Age spirituality and away from traditional Christianity. Continue reading “Refuse to Cower!”

In the Kornfield

In his preface to the book How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, author Edward Hirsch states “Reading poetry is endangered, I suppose, because reading itself is endangered in our culture now.” As we observe National Poetry Month 2024, I thought a few comments from Hirsch’s book would be of interest.

This book (my edition has a 1999 copyright on it) is rich with observations about poetry in general and about learning to read poetry with enthusiasm and understanding. He calls poetry “a collision, a collusion, a compression of two unlike things:  A is B.” Yes!

Continue reading “In the Kornfield”

TMI – Too Much Information?

In addition to observing this 23rd day of National Poetry Month 2024, I’d also like to recognize the day as the 68th anniversary of the civil wedding ceremony for C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham. Two writers, now both deceased, entered into a marriage of convenience on this day in 1956.

Readers of wiseblooding are probably aware of my admiration for C. S. Lewis. I’ve posted about him numerous times. As a literary scholar, a teacher and a writer, Lewis built a reputation and following which continues to grow long after his death.

This is my first post to mention Joy. For her poetry in Letter to a Comrade, Davidman won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. She was considered a good poet by some, but her subsequent writings mostly failed to find an audience. She continued to write and married a fellow-writer, William Gresham. They had two sons and a chaotic marriage.

Continue reading “TMI – Too Much Information?”

An Invitation to Storytime!

Following my discussion related to digital vs. material books in a previous post, several readers responded with comments saying they also prefer the joy of holding, touching, fingering actual books of the paper-and-ink variety. In this post, I thought I’d mention a different (hardly new) dynamic:  reading aloud.

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

It’s an ancient practice, reading aloud. (Is it permissible to describe it as an art?) One person pulls out a scroll/manuscript/letter/book and others gather around, captivated by the material being read. Or let’s go even further back when tales were memorized and recited. (This train of thought brings to mind a post from 2011 in which I wrote about one of my possible forebears, the 13th century German poet der Stricker.) Continue reading “An Invitation to Storytime!”

Golden Books

In my last post, I mentioned there are certain digital books I’ve read over the last year which I will eventually purchase in actual hard copy format. One might naturally ask the question, Why? Since I’ve read these particular volumes digitally, what’s the point in acquiring them as hard copies? The easy answer is because I’ve found hidden treasure during my initial readings … and I anticipate more richness with each subsequent reading.

Image by Petra from Pixabay

Like most people, I may read a novel once and quickly dismiss the story line. Even with non-fiction, the content is (all too often) forgettable. But some books, I think of them as golden. Certain books, and occasionally even a few specific authors, have found a unique place, burrowing into my heart, and thus have earned an esteemed position on my bookshelf next to other Greats. (Note well, I said Greats, not necessarily Bestsellers, many of which would never qualify as great – except on the publisher’s ledger.) Continue reading “Golden Books”

Reading, Between the Lines

Reading is a particular kind of nourishment for me. Whether it’s research (information and study), relaxation (fiction and literary works) or relational (communing with my God), I read hungrily, interactively, establishing an intellectual (and often heartfelt) connection with the specific work and its author.

Image by Fio from Pixabay

However, I’m a reluctant latecomer when it comes to enjoying books presented in digital format. In fact, one of the most difficult transitions for me has been the gradual acceptance and subsequent adoption of digital books over actual paper-and-ink volumes. Since buying my first Apple iPad (maybe ten years ago?) and an Amazon Kindle (a short while after), I used the hand-held devices almost daily for email, browsing the internet, etc. … but rarely ever as a reading device! Both devices seemed cold and detached, objects which might be considered helpful but still completely devoid of personal connection. Continue reading “Reading, Between the Lines”

Is Enough “Ever” Enough?

Except for the red hair and flashlight, the image below reminds me of a long-ago youngster. I vividly recall lying in bed hidden beneath sheet and blankets, eyes focused on a book which I was determined to read even though the lights in the room were switched off and I’d been duly tucked into bed. Undaunted by the dark room, I depended on an outdoor street lamp which cast its muted light through my second story bedroom window. Many a night I fell to sleep, captivated by tales of heroic deeds and imagined adventures.

Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay

My motto at that time might have been So many books, so little time! Books were my favored pathway and the universe seemed unlimited. After mentioning book recommendations in my previous post, I was reminded of several volumes I (1) have recently started, (2) am currently reading through or (3) have just completed. Contemplating the image above, I understand vicariously the delight and joy reflected in this child’s face.

Continue reading “Is Enough “Ever” Enough?”

To Be Something – More

Book recommendations are one of my major weaknesses. Especially when someone I admire suggests a particular book, I have little-to-no resistance. Given the number of books on my bookshelves (many still unread), it seems I’m dealing with an obsession a costly one!

If I were blessed with unlimited resources, I envision “my” library looking something like the image above from Prague … maybe I’d add a comfy chair or two since the straight-backed chairs on the right don’t look terribly cozy! Give me a cushy chair and footstool (plus a cup of coffee or cinnamon tea) and except for refills, I might not venture out for days (or weeks). Continue reading “To Be Something – More”

Culture As Report Card – Part II

In my previous post, I discussed how the culture has made an indelible mark on today’s Church. There’s a statement making its way around social media which addresses culture and the church. While there are various versions, the image (below left) is one I screen-shot from Facebook. 

Considering the number of places online where I’ve noticed this (and similar) expressions of concern, I think it’s safe to say many people are becoming more aware of the downward slide of the church. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, US church membership has declined sharply over the last two decades. An even more recent poll shows US church membership falling to its lowest level ever.

It’s difficult to identify the exact cause (or causes) of this decline. Some observers have even suggested the slide began in 1517 when a priest named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg (Germany). Luther was, after all, challenging church authority and doing so in a very public way.

Continue reading “Culture As Report Card – Part II”

Culture As Report Card – Part I

A pithy observation has tucked itself away within my memory. Though I can’t recall who said it (else I’d provide proper attribution), the comment begs for reflection and due consideration, especially as our social norms face new challenges almost every day.

Culture is the Report Card of the Church

Over the years, the terminology for a Report Card has morphed into something meant to sound less ominous:  Progress Report … Student Assessment … Quarterly Evaluation. Still, whatever it’s called, this periodic report often causes unnecessary dread for the person (or organization) being evaluated. Continue reading “Culture As Report Card – Part I”