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!”

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?”

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Black History Month for 2021 ends today. I had been thinking about a comedian, Flip Wilson, who was the first African-American to host a successful ’70s-era variety show on television. Though he died in 1998, one of Wilson’s standard routines was built around the statement:  the devil made me do it! The 5-minute 1970 video from the Ed Sullivan Show provides a taste of Wilson’s humor.

Since I am ignorant of most pop culture, I was unaware there’s also a rapper album titled The Devil Made Me Do It, plus other references (none I’m familiar with). My only point of reference is Flip Wilson’s skit from the 70s. But a recent Facebook post reminded me of Wilson’s skit. (If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the same post.)

Conversation between 2 devils

To the left is a screen capture (not the full FB post) but enough for it to be recognizable. The post emphasizes the similarities between our current age of fear (centered around Covid etc.) and the author’s suggestions on how to foment fear from “nearly 79 years ago.”

The original post credits C. S. Lewis (from his book The Screwtape Letters) as author. While this conversation between two devils does reflect a similar theme, there’s one problem. The words aren’t from The Screwtape Letters. Continue reading “The Devil Made Me Do It!”

A Trip To Mars

There’s a curious film I recently discovered on the Internet Archive. It’s a silent Danish film from 1918 entitled A Trip to Mars. (The original title was Himmelskibet.) Ten years ahead of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, A Trip to Mars captured the imagination of early 20th-century earthbound film-makers and viewers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Trip_to_Mars

Given the founding of the private corporation SpaceX in 2002, an organization whose stated mission is “to enable the colonization of Mars,” space travel to Mars has taken on early 21st-century currency. In May 2020, SpaceX was the first private company (i.e. non-governmental) to send humans to the International Space Station. Continue reading “A Trip To Mars”

Before Forever After

A recent television show, titled Forever, offered the intriguing tale of a man who experiences a kind of immortality. He’s a couple hundred years old and if he dies or is killed, he returns. The premise had promise but earlier this month, after just one season Forever was cancelled. (I suppose when it comes to episodic television, there’s no such thing as Forever … unless it’s Law & Order.)foreverFrom the moment we’re born, it seems we consider ourselves invincible. It’s in our nature to view the world through what I would call forever eyes. As I’ve noted before on this blog, C. S. Lewis explained it this way:  “… we were made for another world.” Because we were made for another world, our eyes want to envision forever, our fingertips ache to touch forever, our hearts long to connect with forever. Each of these impulses is innate.

Continue reading “Before Forever After”

A True Fan of Eternal Life

Wandering – virtually – around the worldwide web this week, I stumbled upon (or maybe the more accurate term would be tumblr-ed upon) a post dedicated to “fans of eternal life.” Certainly, the intriguing intro here compelled me to find out what this Eternal Life Fan Club was all about.

MtVernonPA
FROM: http://ivymcallister.hubpages.com/hub/WDED#

It should go without saying, I am a fan of eternal life! Just yesterday, I referred to a future reunion (in Eternity) that we anticipate having with many of our friends and loved ones. I’ve posted about my views on Eternity numerous times in this space. More than once, I’ve quoted the words of C. S. Lewis from his book The Weight of Glory:

“… if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.” 

Because I understand I’m made for heaven though tied to this mortal body, my desire and heart’s yearning is for that “proper place” to which I belong. But there’s a balance. I don’t fear death, but as long as life is in me, I will clutch Life joyfully and without apology. I think it’s accurate to say I’m a fan of both this life and the one to come.

Continue reading “A True Fan of Eternal Life”

Home Before Midnight

In spite of the hype of the 2015 Oscars last evening, it wasn’t enough to lure me in. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies, especially the films with well-drawn characters and a sensitive story line. (I’m much less interested in films that go for cheap laughs and ugly or superficial relationships.) If I’m going to devote two hours to a film, I need to care about the characters on the screen.

The Oscars broadcast didn’t draw me in because, much as I love movies, I’m disinclined to care about and choose to watch the Hollywood glitterati preen and pose and suffer through the tedium of a inane questions asked and answered inanely.2015_1$largeimg215_Jan_2015_104948370

From some of the comments I heard today and the brief posts I read online, I think it was a blessing I didn’t watch … no need to witness the awkward moments – Neil Patrick Harris in a diaper or John Travolta imitating Joe Biden’s lecherous moves, nor to note the stunning absence of Joan Rivers’ mention during the In Memoriam tribute.

I did note the Best Supporting Actor award earned by J. K. Simmons, the recent face of Farmers Insurance commercials. (I suppose it goes without saying, his price per ad will be going up, right?) I also took a gander at the gowns this morning and watched Lady Gaga perform the Sound of Music medley, as well as the Vine video of Common appearing to ignore (diss, some suggested) Oprah. All in all, the twenty minutes I spent was preferable over the extended live production. Continue reading “Home Before Midnight”

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Today is a day for sober reflection. No matter how often I interact with people from all walks of life who are suffering through various challenges in life, the question invariably crops up:  Why? and just as often, Why, God?

It’s an understandable question, almost as natural to our humanity as breathing. In some respects (no matter our age), we are like three-year-olds investigating a complex world we’d like to understand. Asking Why? is our common standard that (hopefully) leads us to understanding.Ask Why

Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs let their tongues hang? Why do I need cash when you have a credit card? These are the kinds of questions children tend to ask, but in our own way, we adults express an identical inquisitiveness, though we often do so with guarded sophistication … for fear of being perceived as ignorant.

Continue reading “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

Watcher of Men

Life is warfare. At least that’s how Job looks at it in Job, Chapter 7. He’s embattled. He perceives that the forces of the Universe have arrayed against him, one small and insignificant human being. I think the Blake image below is an evocative piece. Job so clearly turns his bewildered eyes heavenward, his palms empty and outward, and seems to beseech (in the vernacular) WTF?!

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

No question Job’s situation is uncomfortable, certainly justifying both anger and bitterness. He feels life pressing in on him, like a slave whose monotonous lot is looking forward to another week’s ending when he receives wages for his work (verses 1-2). Job’s situation is further complicated because he suffers sleepless nights (verse 4) and the boils on his flesh are oozing maggots (verse 5). In sum, he is without hope (verse 6). Continue reading “Watcher of Men”

Take Me Back

Life’s a pathway of longings. When we’re young, we long to grow up … to reach driving age, drinking age, voting age. Once those milestones are achieved, other longings become prominent. We long for a specific job offer, for our team to win, for an upcoming vacation trip, for that just-purchased lottery ticket to hit big, for the mortgage to be paid off, for retirement. We long to become parents and when that stage of life sometimes feels overlong, we long to launch those loved offspring into full independence. (We long for them to make their own pathways.)timthumb
On the subject of longings, I’ve posted about them before (here, here, here). C. S. Lewis most notably described this human concept as the inconsolable longing and he used the German term sehnsucht. I agree with Lewis about the aptness of this term which connotes wistful longing. Many years before I read and re-read Lewis, I understood inconsolable longing experientially. Continue reading “Take Me Back”