Tuesday, December 06, 2011


If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church...is to recover from the injuries she suffered, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. - A.W. Tozer
As quoted on Hebrew for Christians.

A false dichotomy:
Dayton's point in this chapter [of Discovering an Evangelical Heritage] is to question the kind of evangelicalism Billy Graham represented in a comment on the Vietnam War in 1973: "God has called me to be a New Testament evangelist, not an Old Testament prophet! While some may interpret an evangelist to be primarily a social reformer or political activist, I do not! An evangelist is a proclaimer of the message of God's love and grace in Jesus Christ and of the necessity of repentance and faith" (8).
From: Ken Schenck, March 21, 2010.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tree child

From a letter I wrote to my parents from boarding school when I was in Grade Four, just after my ninth birthday. "Half-term" was a two-day break from school work. Most of the day was spent "at the river" swimming and playing. We were served extra treats and usually shown a film in the evenings. It was the highlight of the school term. (When the school terms were longer, four and half months, we had two half-term breaks.)

(Note: I have edited this slightly to remove spelling errors and to make it slightly easier to read!)
On half-term I got so many sweets. I got 83 ngwee worth of sweets. 66 ngwee was my birthday sweets and 17 ngwee was my half-term sweets. After we got our sweets, we played around or got ready to go down to the river. About 10 o'clock we went down to the river. I had a super time in swimming in the morning! Miss Halls gave us a long, long time to swim! All the time I did dives off the spring board. I did at least fifty dives.

When it was "all out," I quickly got dressed, ate a sweet and asked to climb trees. Soon it was lunch. I was the last one in line because the tree that I was up had so many people and it took such a long time to get down. After lunch I climbed trees again. I climbed them until rest hour. During rest hour I read and did criss-cross puzzles. When rest hour had finished, and I had had my milk and cookies, I climbed trees again. I climbed them until swimming. Again I had lots of fun. All the time I did dives off the spring board. I had so much fun on half-term.

The Family of Man

From The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals , March 19, 1958 (p. 125):
Marvelous books for a few pennies--including The Family of Man for 50 cents. All those fabulous pictures. No refinements and no explanations are necessary!
By chance, I found The Family of Man: The Greatest Photographic Exhibition of All Time- 503 Pictures from 68 Countries book in high school, perhaps (?), and it became my stock wedding gift and for other gift-giving occasions.

Later, I picked up a rather battered copy for myself from a used bookstore. The black-and-white photographs and scattered quotes truly give an unadorned and evocative glimpse of human life and longing that contrasts with the much more constructed and artificial way we (I) live our (my) lives (life) today in Western society.

I am sad that so many of the photos remain just that--pictures on paper. But, still, they beckon....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years

Ten years ago today.

Very compelling thoughts on the significance of that day for the future:
What now after the “world changing” events of 9/11? That day saw horrific tragedy. Yet, there could be a far, far worse tragedy to come, following on its heels. We should really be afraid of letting this awful loss come to naught. [...]

There can be no greater memorial to those who lost their lives than for us to change ours. Charity can be an easy kind of love and get us off the track. In tracing the footsteps of all the firefighters, police, and other heroes, you come face to face with the hard love based on a commitment to place others’ lives ahead of one’s own.
Jules Dervaes, October 2001

To mourn is a lost ‘art’ in the West. [...] Why would we want to waste precious time remembering those “no longer with us”?

It’s all about establishing value. What we mourn is what we value outside ourselves. To ‘cry’ over an extended time will convey appraised worth. We can’t let life become another throwaway commodity.
Jules Dervaes, November 2001

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Ten years

It was ten years ago today that I published my first weblog post. Blogging was kind of a big deal back in those days, although not so much any more for me.

Here's a link to that first month of posts as recorded on Archive.org.

Some significant things have happened via the blog, for which I am truly thankful.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Another in the series "Quotes Found on Sidebars":
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. - Flannery O'Connor
From: Close to Home
HT: A Circle of Quiet

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Too many books

NOTE: The following reflections are not intended to criticize or question anyone else’s reading or book habits. They are based on my particular experience.

I have been going through the boxes of books that have been stored in the garage, trying to decide what to do with them—which would be the most useful ones to keep and which ones should I sell. Not knowing the best way to dispose of them (it is a buyer’s market right now), I have been entering the books on LibraryThing so that I have a more efficient way of organizing them even when they are packed away.

Flashbacks: the latest literary novels given as gifts by a former boss during my corporate-world days; novels from college literature classes; a book purchased from the college bookstore after scanning the books for literature courses not taken; Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries purchased from a used book store (just one example of so many random used bookstore book purchases); books familiar by their cover even if never read; books representing many different stages of life, journeys started but not finished (e.g., doctorate in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible).

So many books to be organized and dealt with. (The boxes are in addition to the books in the house.) They represent hours and days of time spent reading, thousands upon thousands of dollars spent buying, if added up over time. Most of the books have been read only once, quickly—no notes taken, no discussion with another; no written review, no serious critique.

And what about all those books I have already gotten rid of or returned to the library? Are the number of books I’ve accumulated and the amount of reading I have done worth it? In many ways, for me, I think not.

Too often, books have been an escape, a method to numb mind and emotions, a vicarious way of experiencing life, a settling for reading/thinking about something rather than going through the halting, difficult steps of doing something—whether learning a new skill or language; taking time to be with or write/talk to friends; untangling the mysterious puzzle of being a human—a woman; thinking through and solving problems.

I have been very tempted by all the book blogs now online. There is something extremely alluring about lists and lists of books. Now, it is easier than ever just to read about reading and not even read the actual books. And, now you don’t have to go to actual bookstores or a library to spend hours lost in browsing titles—just click through the hundreds of books on Amazon’s recommendation list.

I worry about the ways reading can negatively shape character and personality, affect productivity, and inform life decisions—and how one can be oblivious of (or at least rationalize mightily about) the effects of reading, until confronted by an insightful other.

Then, the work of "regaining our illiteracy" can begin. (From a chapter title in Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg.)