Friday, July 31, 2009


In the course of the last nine days, I have received ten contacts concerning potential job offers. Ironically, 6 of them were in Old Home.

On one hand, I have to shake my head (and fist). "Where were you people 3 month ago?" I wonder in my head. "Things would have been a lot less stressful - at least, we wouldn't have to completely disrupt our lives so much - what gives, God?"

On the other hand, as Otis so ably pointed out to me this week on the phone, "Well, it's pretty obvious God wants you in New Home.

"Huh?" that little part of my mind goes that always questions these kind of things. "In New Home? Away from family, friends, a good school, a good church, my bees - good heavens, my life essentially?"

It is interesting to me that I am great believer in the sovereignty of God - but when that sovereignty suddenly does not go quite the way I was expecting, I immediately question God. "What are thinking?" I mutter to myself as I drive to work. "I thought I was doing everything like I was supposed to be. Tearing our lives up at the roots - did I not do something right?"

Then I have to remind myself that: 1) Just because you are doing the right thing doesn't keep you from being moved by God; and 2) Sometimes you do what you are told to do - until new instructions are given. Then you follow the new instructions.

And this does not account for the things that will happen here - that wretched part about not being clairvoyant about the future. I don't know what they will be -but I do know the God that will allow them from his beneficent hand.

And if you're where God wants you, in the center of His will, isn't that really what matters - not the where of your location?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I am re-reading both Randy Alcorn's Lord Foulgrin's Letters and Francis Schaeffer's The Great Evangelical Crisis. It is a potent combination, one that reminds me I should probably read works in tandem because the sum of the total is greater than the parts.

What the two remind me of is how easy it is for myself to get sidetracked in the realities of life.

In reality, the great drama playing out in the world is not freedom versus oppression, right versus wrong, or even justice versus injustice (although these are all very important). The great drama of the world - in fact, of the universe - is the one running through the soul of every human being currently alive: will it be Heaven - or Hell?

The physical reality we see is not the total reality - we live in a universe inhabited by spiritual beings that are engaged in a titanic struggle not over the control of this universe or even the control of this world - the first has already been decided, and the second will be someday - but over the souls of men and women, souls of people we interact with, love, insult, mock, care for, treat as idols of worship or as objects of use, everyday.

And the stakes of the battle could not be higher. Again, it's not for control of this or any other universe - that's decided. Instead, it is for the eternal destiny of each currently living human. The eternal destiny. Forever. With God or in Hell.

If I can stop and grasp that -indeed, if I can get even a glimpse of that-that changes how I look both at the world in general and my world in particular. Suddenly what happens becomes less important than how I react to it. How I react to people and show them Christ through me becomes less important than how I get my way with them. What I give in service to God, to the cause of salvation, becomes less important than what I get and keep.

In Don't Waste Your Life John Piper compares the difference of a peacetime and wartime mentality through a display on the Queen Elizabeth where a dining room is divided in half, one half with the settings as it would have appeared in peacetime, the other when she served as a troop transport. On one hand, there are linen tablecloths, 12 course settings, and fine crystal and china; on the other , metal trays and bare tables. Everything was stripped down because there was a war on, and the purpose of the ship was different.

The reality is, that is true today. I don't just say "for the Christian" because in reality we are all impacted by this, Christian and non-Christian alike, even though all do not see it. The battle rages around us daily, hourly - as one author said, "As you read Ephesians 6:10-18, you can almost hear the smoke and fire, the clash of arms".

As K.P. Yohannan says in Revolution in World Missions every minute thousands of people die (life being 100% fatal). How many of those have never heard the Gospel, never seen the Gospel as lived out?

There is a battle on. As a Christian, am I engaged - or do I blithely wander through life, thinking the whole purpose of creation and Christ's sacrifice is purely to make my life more pleasant, with Heaven thrown in besides?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


"But something has happened in the last sixty years. The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world spirit of our age -autonomous Man setting himself up as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the reason we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms we once enjoyed have been cut loose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. And when this happens, there really are few alternatives. All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves towards disintegration. In personal and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self interest. As I have pointed out in my earlier books, when the memory of the Christian consensus which gave us freedom within the biblical form is increasingly forgotten, a manipulating authoritarianism will tend to fill the vacuum. At this point the words 'right' and 'left' will make little difference. They are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will not go into chaos - and most people would accept it."
- Dr. Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (1984)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

To Each/From Each

A subtle distinction struck me this week as I was reading through the story of the servants and the talents in Matthew 25.

In Matthew 25:15 it states "And to one he (the master) gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his ability, and immediately he went out on his journey."

"To each according to his ability." Hmm. A variation of this phrase may sound familiar. It's from Marx: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

As I pondered this, I was struck by the fundamental difference between God and man. God, the giver, grants us according to our ability, not removing things from us based on our ability. But God also expects us not to spend them on ourselves but to use it for His work and His glory (read the rest of the parable [Matthew 25:14-30, James 4: 1-3]).

The natural man, by comparison, is a taker. He (we) takes what he wants (tangible and intangible) to slake his own purposes and lusts. This should not come as a surprise - the Father of Lies started this trend by desiring to be like the Most High, not from any sense of glorifying God but from the sense of ruling and gratifying his own sense of pride.

Now here's the irony: The world has so reversed the two ideas that the world system (cosmos) is seen as a giver and God is seen as a taker.

Why? The world has come to interpret giving as only that which brings pleasure, power, or glory to self. Giving in this sense becomes no more than gratification dressed up in finer clothes. And God, the giver of all things, becomes a taker in this cosmos economy because He does not call for self gratification but self denial and service, of glorifying God and serving others through the gifts which He has given.

The second irony is that in fact God is the final giver. As with the Master in Matthew 25, when God returns He will judge how well we used what He gave us - so the the self denial and service are turned into rewards, while the self gratification for ourselves becomes the true "taken away."

Self denial for rewards. Service for glory. We accept that hard work and deferred rewards works here on earth, but fail too often (as Christians anyway) to fully grasp how the principle also works in the heavenly economy. If we truly acted this way, if we truly thought and believed this way, if we vigorously developed and debated the idea this way - could we change the perceptions?

My hopes are not high -but at least we could give evidence to a God who gives freely, loves much and is worthy of our praise. That cannot be a bad thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Water falls on self,
As a pool gathers the warm
summer's offering.

Rain is warm, not cold;
While clouds look same as before:
Change of (l)attitude.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hanging with Francis

I am taking part of my sojourn here at New Home to re-read some items which I have read before but need a bit more time to mentally roll over in my mind (I've got nothing but time right now). Currently, I am in the process of re-reading Francis Schaeffer.

I've read Escape from Reason, A Christian Manifesto, and True Spirituality, am working my way through The God Who Is There, and have The Coming Evangelical Disaster (with The Mark of a Christian) to go (and that is scarcely all that the man wrote). In reading his work, one cannot help but take notice of the fact of the sweep of his knowledge base (philosophy, theology, the arts) and his ability to follow the flow through history.

His level of intellectualism and methodical reasoning also give me pause, because he represents a line of though which has become increasingly absent from the church, and it's ability to interact with the world. Not just the church though; it's the world as well.

We've lost the ability to think, to look hard at an issue and ponder its application. It is difficult to fathom that within 2-3 generations we lost this ability; we are, as someone so eloquently put it, "entertaining ourselves to death". The world has by and large lost the ability to honestly deal with the nature of truth, having drowned it out in a flood of shallow entertainment and adherence to idealistic nihilism that proclaims "I am correct no matter what" conveniently ignoring the implications and ends of their thought patterns and beliefs; the church has lost the ability to honestly deal with the world by retreating into an faith without intellect and proclamation without engagement.

The world I cannot directly help, as it has little interest at the moment in correcting itself. The church, as the body of Christ, I am commanded to help, or at least try to: the question is, does it have the same interest in being helped?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is Today the Day?

How often do I think about my death?

That was the question of the sermon yesterday morning, preaching on 1st Corinthians 15: 35-58. The pastor raised the point that we do not ask two questions of ourselves daily that the early church asked:

1) Will I die today?
2) Will Christ come today?

The key to wasting your life, he stated, is to live like you have tomorrow.

That strikes me as funny, because so much of modern American life - of my own life- is built on the idea that we do have tomorrow. Plan for advancement, plan for retirement, plan for the weekend - always something is set off for tomorrow, which by default we assume we have. Not to be given as a gift, but to have as a divine right.

Not that there is anything wrong with planning. But planning presumes that tomorrow will be there. And tomorrow may never come. We make our plans and so often fail acknowledge the sovereignty of God in our lives and the universe:

"Come now, you who say 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or than.' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." - James 4: 13-16

If I believed tomorrow would not come - if I knew that tomorrow would not come how would that change today?

If I knew that I would not wake up after I put my head down on my pillow tonight, how would I pray differently? Serve differently?

What am I clutching to my chest as mine that I would release if I knew I would never use it again?

And now that I ask myself all of these questions, what am I going to do about it?

What are you going to do about it?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vie Rides Again!

My friend Vie and his new band have a new CD: Red Letter Read.

You should go to their website:

The CD is officially released tomorrow. I'm not sure when it will be for sale, but if like Christian Rock Praise music, you should buy a copy.

On second thought, buy two: one for you and one for someone else.

A Buttercup Moment

I Corinthians 15:35-45

"Death used to be an executioner, but the gospel has made him just a gardener" - George Herbert, Welsh poet and priet (1593-1633)

The Audience of One

"The point is, we can't hide anything from Him and it's silly to try. I don't know if He cares about all the details, like what kind of toothpaste we use, but He certainly cares about spiritual growth and moral issues. If we're doing something right, it doesn't matter if other people disapproved. All that matters is what He thinks. If we're doing something wrong, it doesn't matter if no one else knows, God does. He sees us as we are. He knows everything we're thinking, everything we're doing. I heard someone put it this way: God is the Audience of One. There are no secrets from Him. He's our judge, and His opinion is the only one that ultimately matters." - Ryan Lawrence, Lord Foulgrin's Letters (Randy Alcorn)

How much do I grasp that I am continually before the Audience of One? How often have, in the dark of night or the dark of my own mind, conceived things that are sin, flirted with temptations instead of roundly casting them aside - nay, encouraged them, rolling them around in my mind like a fine piece of dark chocolate in my mouth, savoring the flavor? In all of these times, even as I appear unchanged on the outside, do I understand that I am wide open to God?

Or on the other side - how often do I seek to do things because they will accrue the praises of men rather than the praise of God? How often have I turned aside from the thing I should do because no-one would know, there would be no recognition? How often have I reluctantly served, harboring thoughts of resentment that I was not praised rather than thoughts of rejoicing that I was privileged to serve?

How often do I truly think of the Audience of One? How real is He to me?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Visit With Failure

I was sitting at my computer when Failure came by unannounced and unexpected. I had not intended or planned to see anyone that night: my roommates, young and college age, where out having a night life while I, married and frugal, was spending the evening in the apartment reading and getting ready to write.

I caught a glimpse of blue-while out of the corner of my eye as I heard the creak of the corner of the mattress being sat down on. As I had not expected any visitors, I felt little need to turn and acknowledge her presence.

"You're trying it again, aren't you?" came the voice as the rustling sounds suggested hair being pushed behind ears and shoulders. "It's really hot here. Did we have to do this now?"

"If you don't like it, leave. If you're hot, sit under the fan" I retorted, not dignifying the comment with eye contact.

A soft thwap and the rustling of papers on my desk suggested that a fan had been brought out and was being used. "It's not a question of like, you understand" she purred, banishing annoyance from her tone in an attempted exchange for results. "It 's just that it's my duty to remind you of things you can't do and you're not good at."

I spun around at that and saw the blue-white yukata covered shape hop over on the mattress, afraid I'd take more action that just whirling. The fan had stopped in mid-move; when it was apparent I'd do no more than just glare, it started up again.

Failure pouted. "We always go through this: for a while you're sensible, then you decide you "want" to do something, and then we come back to this. You think you can, but you really can't. Remind me: your writing, it's so good you've managed to complete how many manuscripts?" Her smile was as insincere as her tone, the long sleeve of the yukata trailing the movement of the fan.

I snorted in response. "Doesn't matter how much I haven't done, I only need to keep trying. Dedication, you know. New place, new life, new time. Now off with you." I pointed at the door.

The low sound of her laugh beat a countertempo to the fanning. "Quite brave now, aren't we? Reading always makes this way. It's cute."

Again I pointed. "Off. I've enough of you. Maybe I'll never get beyond the basics, maybe I'll never be good, maybe I'll never be published. But none of that is a reason to accept you. If I fail, I fail - but not because I stopped trying."

The bed creaked as she got up, still fanning herself. "I'll be off then - but I'm pretty sure not for long. Maybe I'll be back for the cool season here." She strolled out of the room, giving the impression that she was leaving of her own accord, not being asked to.

I turned, barely hearing the door shut as I got back to the computer. Note to self: lock the doors of the room and of my mind before I start this next time.

Friday, July 17, 2009


We're starting to enter the home stretch of the relocation: Home lease - check; home sale ongoing - check; moving date set - check; kid's school - check; new church - ongoing.

It's the last little details that are starting to come up that are of themselves minor, but are seeming to bother me: bank, reliable mechanic, exactly what way am I going to get to work, where's the best place to shop based on where we are, a new church (again) - those things that in some ways I need to have an idea about before everyone else gets here.

I say last little, but they seem not to be little in my mind - I guess because I want to make the right choice the first time instead of making choices which are not as good and/or convenient. Because I've made those choices before, only to find out that once we were in a place, they really weren't the best or most convenient choices.

Planning. So much of life is about planning, thinking ahead instead of just reacting as things come into place. I look back now, especially now that I am working with individuals 10-15 years younger than I am, and I suddenly realize all the time and effort that I have wasted. It's a sad thing - you see individuals whose lives in their mid-twenties still revolve around X-Box or Wii and you want to scream "Do you realize how precious your time in life is? Why are you wasting it on things that are of no value?" to which they nod, smile at you in that sort of "Oh-You're-an-old-person" way and continue on with what their doing.

Planning. Efficiency. The older you get, the more you realize there is less and less time to waste.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Whack on the Side of the Head

I got an electronic invite yesterday from my friend Vie, who said "The CDs are on my front porch; where's my book?"


Vie, my musician friend, already has one CD that I enjoy immensely and has been working on a second one for some time. Almost every week in the spring, I was faithfully bothering him about it, to which he replied "Where's the book?" I would laugh, say I was working on it, and we would carry on.

But now he reminds me of it, even as the thought floated through my head this morning as I ran. He finished his project; what about mine?

Why have I given up right now? I could come up with a variety of excuses, but they would simply be that - only excuses. Like all other things, to read of the struggles that some of the great authors went though to get published (and this before the advent of electronic media) is both humbling and indicative of my laziness - because let's call it what it is.

I have books on writing with me in New Home. I have time. Every excuse I come up with - I can't write well for a sustained period of time, I'm boring, I can't characterize - just seems to expose me more and more. What do I really want?

"Crossing at a Ford

'Crossing at a ford' means, for example, crossing the sea at a strait, or crossing over a hundred miles of broad sea at a crossing place. I believe this 'crossing at a ford' occurs often in a man's lifetime. It means setting sail even though your friends stay in harbour, knowing the route, knowing the soundness of your ship and the favour of the day. When all the conditions are meet, and there is perhaps a favourable wind, or a tailwind, then set sail. If the wind changes within a few miles of your destination, you must row across the remaining distance without sail.

If you attain this spirit, it applies to everyday life. You must always think of crossing at a ford."

- Shinmen Musashi no Kami Fujiwara No Genshin (Miyamoto no Musashi), A Book of Five Rings

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who Am I?

I am struggling to not be myself in my new location and position - as if I know who "myself'" really is.

Long ago, I had a manager whom I revered as a role model comment to me one day on the job "You know Terry, I'm not really one to speak about conforming to normal behavior" (and he was not), "but it occurs to me that management will find it hard to promote a guy to more responsible positions if they see him jumping up and down and waving to folks inside the manufacturing facility." And so I took what he said to heart -or at least as much as I could to heart. I tried to double down, read the usual "how to be successful" books, try tame my behavior into some more acceptable outlets - and to be fair, it does seem to have served me well in certain aspects.

At the same time, I realized tonight, walking around the block in the 8:00 PM 93 degree heat, that this was not just a piece of advice that I was carrying around: it was a strait jacket I bound on myself.

Who am I? Who do I want to be? What am I capable of being? I'm certainly not traditional leadership or senior management material (so say the books) - but look at all the people who are now not "typical" leadership material. I was not deemed acceptable for the pastorate - but there is more than one way to be a light for God. I was not cut out for real estate - but you cannot be successful at someone else's dream, only your own.

Who am I? Whose ideas about me have I continued to carry around? Who am I trying to satisfy? And who should I try to be satisfying, except God?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seeing Clearly

I'm in the throes of a decision that needs to be made by the end of the day, something I had not planned on having to do: paying my mortgage this month.

My hope was, as we were in the process of relocating and selling, I could get by without this being an issue because the sale would be underway. Instead, I find myself in the position of having to choose to pay with money we could use elsewhere for home deposit at New Home and living expenses or not paying and using the money for a house deposit and living expenses at the potential cost of immediate credit rating and progression of the short sale.

I've received council of belove friends - Uisdean Ruah, Bogha Frois - and The Ravishing Mrs. TB. I've pondered and pondered - if I contact the bank, it will have to be today.

The comment, brought up by Uisdean Ruadh, is the one that continues to plow through my head: the hardship laws are there for a reason, and the reality is, you are at that reason.

Which is remarkable to me, because I don't feel that I am - or I don't choose to feel that I am. But is that me simply denying the reality of where we are? I don't' have to deal with the day to day issues of managing our money as The Ravishing Mrs. TB does.

Am I seeing our situation clearly? Am I seeing myself clearly? Am I looking for an excuse to avoid doing something, or am I being prideful to keep from humbling myself to reality?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

Why do we engage in anything - thoughts, behaviours, actions - which are contrary to our own best interest?

Yes, I know I could take the relatively easy way out and say "sin" - and while on one level that would be true, on another level that is just a convenient excuse for the saved Christian. Of course we sin. Of course we have a sin nature which we are (hopefully) dealing with the through the Spirit and the process of sanctification.

But that still doesn't get away from the area of choice, which is where I am this morning. Why do we - goodness, why do I -choose thoughts, behaviours, and actions which are contrary to my own best interest?

It's either one of two things: 1) Making the bad choices meets some kind of need within me even though I don't or can't acknowledge it; or 2) I am making choices based on a script that no longer is appropriate for my life.

1) Making bad choices meets some kind of need within me even though I don't or can't acknowledge it - Interesting, but in some ways this gets me back to sin. Certainly there is a sense in which doing something feels better than choosing nothing. A need to act decisively - or a sense from others that I need to act decisively?

2) Making choices based on a script that is no longer appropriate in my life - Less self awareness here but probably more accurate. It goes along with my truth theme of a few days ago. I make choices based on things that used to be true but maybe are not so much now. I cling to them because the exercise of realizing, acknowledging, and casting them off in favour of other decisions is more than I feel like I am intellectually capable of (i.e. I'm lazy).

In Man of La Mancha, Aldonza sings a song to Don Quixote titled "What You Want From Me?". As part of the song she asks:

"Why does he do the things he does?
Why does he do these things?
Why does he march
Through the dream that he's in,
Covered in glory and rusty old tin?
Why does live in a world that can't be,
And what does he want of me...
What does he want of me?"

For Don Quixote, he does these things because of his world view, a world view that in theory no-one else sees but in fact is more noble than any of the other characters - seeing life as he would have it, not as it is. In his case, realization is brought to him of the difference - but the others try to bring him down to their level of crassness and reality, instead of elevating to his. In Don Quixote's case, his choices were ones which ennobled those around him.

Mine are not nearly so good.

How do I get off the intellectually lazy bus on a regular basis? How do I make choices based on what is now - or even on what I aspire to and wish to be - rather than what is or what has been?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Man We Fain Would Be

"Every man as he grows into life, finds he must employ such an ecomony on his own account. He is pressed to occupy positions or to engage in work which prevent him from achieving the purpose for which nature has fitted him. He is offered promotion which seems attractive and has its advantages; but he declines it, because it would divert him from his chosen aim. Continually, men spoil their life by want of concentration. They are greatly tempted to do so, for the public foolishly concludes that, because a man does one thing well, he can do everything well, and he who has written a good history is straightway asked to sit in Parliament, or the man whose scholarship and piety have been conspicuous is offered preferment which calls for the exercise of wholly different qualities...

Yes, it is good for the builder to bury the banker that he might have been. It is good for Paul to bury the Saul that he had been. But here is one man within us, whom we are most strongly tempted to bury, to whose funeral we must never, never, go. He is the man of our ideal; the man our prayers; the man we fain would be." - Dr. Marcus Dods as quoted by Frank Boreham, The Luggage of Life.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" - John 8:21-32

"Jesus answered, 'You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.' Pilate said to Him, 'What is truth'?" - John 18: 37b - 38a

"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged

"Deal with the truth as you find it, not the truth as you wish to find it." - Toirdhealbheach Beucail

What is truth? This thought popped into my head as I was wading my way through Atlas Shrugged - but also has been a theme as I have made sojourn here in New Home, in many many ways a sort of mini-remote island experience cut off from friends, family, church, and most activities that I did as well as a great deal of news. It has been a time where for a great deal, I have had books, thoughts, and the Internet to ponder.

How do we use truth? What do we base our life on? Do we even bother to search it out anymore, or do we merely accept what we are given at face value? Or just settle into our own version of what we believe the truth is?

The English word "truth", for those that were wondering, is not actually derived from Greek or Latin but rather comes from the Old English "treowth" which means "fidelity". Which is actually not a bad definition at all: when were are truthful, we are faith (showing fidelity) to the thing or facts as they are.

Truth is a sort of dirty word in much of today's culture, both modern and philosophical - and the idea of a "True Truth" (as Francis Shaeffer would say) even more under attack. Most here are probably familiar with the concept of "It's true for you, but not for me." Truth, in so many ways, is seen by this time and space as something which is subjectively true rather than objectively true.

The difficulty with that thinking is simply that it is never faithful to the end. Inevitably, false versions of the truth stop short of the full implications of the truth - and individuals refuse to embrace the totality of the truth and where facts lead but stop at their "version" of the truth. And if one cannot be faithful to the full truth, one is simply not truthful, embracing false versions of truth.

God is a God of Truth. He calls His people to be those of truth - not only about Him, but I would also submit about everything. Christians should above all others be people of ruthless honesty (but not ruthless about how we present it), a people who are committed to seeing things as they really are and not shunning away from the uncomfortable parts or wishing that there was truth other than that which they find.

Are we truthful with God? (Probably seldom as much as we should be) Are we truthful with ourselves? (Usually only when it is of benefit to us). Are we truthful with our spouse? (Insert your own answer here) With our children? With our friends? With our community? With those in the church and out of it? With the nations?

The world is awash in half truths, false truths, bad truths, and untruths. We substitute everything else for truth because we can't find truth around us.

Let the Church, at least, be a place of truth for a world controlled by the Prince of Lies.

And let it start with me.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

I finished rereading Atlas Shrugged this weekend. I forgot what a really good book it is - it is one of the books I can honestly say that the more I read it, the more I see in it. It's remarkable how a really good, intellectually engaging book reminds one of how much less so much that passes for literature truly is.

Rand's philosophy, Objectivism - that everything should have an objective reason purpose behind each act (the Toirdhealbheach Beucail short statement) - is not for all, and her atheism is somewhat disturbing considering she saw the effects of an atheistic government in her youth in the form of Soviet Russia. Still, for an approximately 1070 page novel the story moves, the characters are memorable, and the plot is engaging.

Rand is not shy about her characters: her heroes and heroines are bold and heroic, the villains weak and unattractive. But the thing that surprise me the most this time as opposed to the first time is how truly motivating her heroes are. To read of John Galt or Hank Rearden or Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d'Anconia or Dagny Taggart is to walk inspired literally to excel to the best of one's ability - that in fact one should do one's best, should live to a higher standard, should simply be to the utmost capacity that one has to exist - these are the things that inspire me long after I put the book down, or call me to go back to it after I have moved into other things.

The question is, how does one put that inspiration into daily practice?

Friday, July 03, 2009


Today being July 3rd is the first official holiday/day off that I've had since being laid off.

Days off are one of the luxuries that only the employed can truly understand. I remember when Memorial Day was coming around this year being surprised by the fact it was here so soon and the lack of impact it had on me. When the approach was pointed out by me, my reaction was similar to "Oh - for me it's just another day not working."

But now I'm on the other side.

And what a strange other side it is. I cannot remember a situation where I had a three day weekend off without The Ravishing Mrs. TB or Na Clann or even my greater family around - 17, 18 years? One is confronted in a small way with the problem of the workaholic: what am I to do today?

Catch up mostly: a little cleaning, a little laundry, actually waking up and trotting off to work quickly, reading without a sense of having to finish to do something else, and most of all getting ready to go see some old friends I've not seen in 4 years.

Do we work to treasure the times we don't work all the more?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Look Who's Coming to Dinner

So as a special treat last night, I got to have dinner with Otis. He had some business to conduct not far from here and so made the drive up last night to visit me in New Home. We engaged in one of the modes of food (BBQ) that New Home is known for, and chatted the evening away.

It provokes a moment of reflection for me. I've known Otis something like 8 years now, when I first met him through the church we were both attending at the time and he was having a men's study in his home. It makes me reflect because you never know where friendships are going to blossom - I cannot think of anything directly that would make the think that the friendship I have with him is what it is today. It was an easing in, rather than a sudden realization of "Hey, this is someone that I can build a real relationship with, and have it grow even stronger even though we are states away from each other."

This is in contrast to those friendships where you try to make them happen because of some reason - the person is significant in some way that is meaningful to you, you seem to share a common interest, or there is something about the person that makes you want to be associated with them. So often, those do not end up working because they are built on some goal to the relationship rather than the relationship itself.

It's actually a lot like dating and marriage - we date those who we think have something that is attractive to us be it looks, money, or interests, but those marriages that last end up being built on the relationship with our spouse, rather than the things that the relationship has or can offer of itself - because all too often, those things can go away and all you are left with is the relationship. Woe betide the weak relationship built only on things.

And actually (if you carry it that far) it's like our relationship with God: so often we desire God for what He can do for us, rather than the relationship that we can have with Him. And so often, people fall away from God because the things suddenly do not appear (the great and dangerous Achilles heel of the "Health and Wealth" gospel) and interpret that as God not loving them rather than realizing that God loves us through those situations and that it is our relationship with Him is paramount, not what we get from Him.

Powerful stuff indeed. I should have Otis out for dinner more often.