“Lord God, which seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Archive for February 2011
A Weltanschauung that rejects the metaphysical and confines itself entirely to the physical or material (i.e., one that trusts wholly in the presuppositions, methods, and findings of naturalistic science) has thereby forfeited the grounds from which to make any meaningful statements concerning the existence or nature of the metaphysical. Metaphysical claims simply do not fall within the ambit of science. The converse cannot be said of a Weltanschauung that embraces the metaphysical along with the physical or material. Religion may speak concerning science, while science must necessarily be mute concerning all things religious.
It is not busyness that eats the life out of the soul, if busyness means simply having lots to do. To be human is to have lots to do. What wears down the inner life is the impossibility of sustained concentration in a world where everything under the sun is relentlessly, rapidly, even simultaneously presented to the senses with demand for some kind of response, though no response is expected. It’s the bewildering fragmentation that accompanies unlimited access to everything. It’s the barrenness that results when one’s most significant contact, quantitatively speaking, is with virtual reality, insulated from the solid pleasures and stubborn challenges of pre-virtual reality: back porch conversation, rainstorms, weeds, machinery parts, street beggars, and handheld musical instruments. It is the lethargy, the listlessness that breeds when all is instant (or trying to be), when one has forgotten how to be deliberate, and to write in pencil. It’s not busyness that eats away the soul; it’s the acid of catered sovereignty, of dwindling finitude.
“Leaders choose daily, but the real weight on their shoulders lies in the need to decide. And there are no easy decisions. To decide requires a death, a dying to a thousand options, the putting aside of a legion of possibilities in order to choose just one. De-cide. Homo-cide. Sui-cide. Patri-cide. The root word decidere means ‘to cut off.’ All decisions cut us off, separate us, from nearly infinite options as we select just one single path. And every decision we make earns us the favor of some and the disfavor of others.” (Dan B. Allender, Leading with a Limp)
“O Lord, we beseech thee favorably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we which are justly punished for our offenses, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth, &c.”
I’m currently reading through Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Her work came to me highly recommended, and now that I’m into it, I have no difficulty seeing why. Here’s a sample of the way she probes the connections between that troubled period and our own (hence the “distant mirror”):
“Survivors of the plague [she is closing out a chapter on the Black Death], finding themselves neither destroyed nor improved, could discover no Divine purpose in the pain they had suffered. God’s purposes were usually mysterious, but this scourge had been too terrible to be accepted without questioning. If a disaster of such magnitude, the most lethal ever known, was a mere wanton act of God or perhaps not God’s work at all, then the absolutes of a fixed order were loosed from their moorings. Minds that opened to admit these questions could never again be shut. Once people envisioned the possibility of change in a fixed order, the end of an age of submission came in sight; the turn to individual conscience lay ahead. To that extent the Black Death may have been the unrecognized beginning of modern man.”
This collect is taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; Cranmer did not write one for this extra Sunday, which occurs only in certain years:
“God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever, one God, world without end. Amen.”
Day late again, with apologies to all:
“Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they which do lean only upon hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Christ our Lord.”
“The only thing worse than dying is living a boring life.” (Mark Driscoll, Radical Reformission)
“But the body is not an inn to keep a traveller warm for a night, ere he goes on his way, and then to receive another. It is a house made for one dweller only, indeed not only house but raiment also; and it is not clear to me that we should in this case speak only of the raiment being fitted to the wearer rather than of the wearer being fitted to the raiment.” (Tolkien, “The Debate of Finrod and Andreth”)