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.)From 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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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?!
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”
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.)
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”
He has been called “the best writer of the 20th century.” Not easily measured and more a matter of opinion, I think, but there are others who’ve used similar descriptions to emphasize his genius. In a letter to his friend Sheldon Vanauken, C. S. Lewis described one of this man’s books (The Everlasting Man) as “the best popular apologetic I know.” Another writer, T. S. Eliot, described his poetry as “first-rate journalistic balladry.“
If you haven’t guessed his name yet, he is Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton, a literary giant and dominant figure in twentieth century London, a man who is best known for his Father Brown mysteries, but was equally at home writing (and speaking) on a multitude of topics.
The self-portrait at right, Three Acres and a Cow, provides a hint of Chesterton’s great wit. A large man at 6 feet 4 inches and almost 300 pounds, Chesterton acknowledged his girth and borrowed this slogan to describe himself, though it was initially coined to describe the desirable size for an individual citizen’s sustainable land holdings. In another example of Chesterton’s self-deprecation, during World War I, a woman queried why he wasn’t “out at the Front” and he replied, “If you go round to the side, you will see that I am.” Continue reading “Sub-Versive Poet”
In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis points out: “… the proper good of a creature is to surrender itself to its Creator.” In Job Chapter 3, this act of surrender is part of Job’s challenge. I think it’s safe to say Job was no different than me (or you?) in that he didn’t particularly enjoy suffering. However, because we’re the creatures, surrendering ourselves to the Creator’s intent may be a proper good, the right thing to do, the means through which creative objects derive their meaning … but this surrender isn’t always an easy thing for us!
There’s an interesting dynamic in the Book of Job. Reading the text today provides us with the exact situation … the back-story (if you will) to which Job himself wasn’t privy. We know from Chapters 1 and 2 that Job’s suffering transpires because of a heavenly conversation between Almighty God and Satan. Satan has requested permission from God to torment and cruelly sift Job in order to demonstrate that Job’s faith is worthless under heavy pressure. Satan thinks he can prove Job’s a man of fair-weather faith.
Job doesn’t know any of this. All he knows is his life has suddenly gone terribly wrong. He’s suffered huge material losses, the annihilation of his family and finally, the destruction of his physical health. Summing up his life, all Job really knows is: Life sucks! Continue reading “Purposeful Suffering”
There’s a statement by C. S. Lewis from The Four Loves which has great currency for me. It says: “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself ….'” Wisdom from the pen of Lewis rarely disappoints. This statement is no exception.
Back in the mid-1960s, I became acquainted with one of the new girls in my class at junior high school. Little did I know that our friendship would deepen and grow, that eventually my older brother would marry her, and that we’d sustain a lifelong bond of friendship that only grows sweeter as we grow older.
Through the years as we’ve both raised our families, we’ve experienced similar (though separate) lives. After marriage, the stages of work and childbearing and completing education and more work and more education and moving to different cities as our husbands made career changes and the loss of parents in death and … all those common milestones of life, we always seemed to have the “What! You too?” moments between us. Continue reading “Friends Forever”
If you expect this post to be another in the long list of comments and criticisms and criminalities of a once-football player, please stay tuned. I’m going to suggest there’s another kind of domestic violence that doesn’t scandalize the masses even though it should.
Reading the excellent September 5th post at askthebigot.com, I found myself once again dismayed at the nightmare that masquerades as the state of California! This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this lunacy. However, because I live in the middle of the country, what goes on at the margins doesn’t always earn my front-burner attention. But “The Bigot” wrote compellingly about why California’s birth certificate makeover is political correctness writ large and disastrous!
This, my friends, is domestic violence. Every boy and girl deserves to know who he or she is. We’re not just talking a name here. Who are their parents? What are the bonafides that uniquely connect them to an identity? What are the family ties and cultural underpinnings that have created that synergism of biological connectedness? Continue reading “Domestic Violence”