June 19, 2009

Five years

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love – a scholar's parrot may talk Greek –
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

- C. S. Lewis

July 18, 2008

So I wait for the rain

Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain . . .

June 26, 2008

Thinking of you, and all that was, and all
That might have been and now can never be,
I feel your honour'd excellence, and see
Myself unworthy of the happier call:
For woe is me who walk so apt to fall,
So apt to shrink afraid, so apt to flee,
Apt to lie down and die (ah, woe is me!)
Faithless and hopeless turning to the wall.
And yet not hopeless quite nor faithless quite,
Because not loveless; love may toil all night,
Of day, but then wield power with God and man:--
So take I heart of grace as best I can,
Ready to spend and be spent for your sake.

- Christina Rossetti

June 19, 2008

Death in Park City

My Dagon has fallen,
fissured face pressed to the ground,
the remains of a religion in ruins
at my feet.
On the curve of the mountain, in
the space between two aspens,
I bury him.

Something better has come.

June 8, 2008

Soon I'll grow up, and I won't even flinch at your name.

June 1, 2008

A Consumer's Guide to the Apocalypse

I signed up for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's (ISI) Reader's Club a few weeks ago, and among the books I received was one intriguingly titled A Consumer's Guide to the Apocalypse: Why there is no cultural war in America and why we will perish nonetheless by an Eduardo Velasquez. ISI is a bastion of conservative intellectualism -- or, as they like to put it, "old-fashioned liberalism" -- as well as being primarily Catholic in its authorship. They have many, many interesting books and publications, and I finally broke down and joined.

Knowing ISI's doctrinal bias has kept me on the lookout for anything distinctly Catholic that might affect the analysis, although I am of the mind that Catholics can be just as apt as Protestants with regard to cultural criticism. Reading A Consumer's Guide to the Apocalypse assured me that I was right to be wary on this account.

The book's premise is that the "apocalyptic angst" seen in popular culture and the seeming war between fundamentalist religion and dogmatic science are the result of the particularly incoherent brand of irrationality stemming from a "tenacious, if sometimes unacknowledged, commitment to the basic tenets of the Enlightenment." Which thesis didn't sound particularly new to my ears, though worth exploring, but it was the author's elaboration on this that was truely surprising.

In the book's introduction, Velasquez asserts that "Enlightenment Protestantism severs the connection between reason and the soul" via its emphasis on "access to a personal God through faith alone." He sees the Reformation as having "razed the meeting place for reason and faith" and suggests (subtly) a return to Catholic objectivity in order to reconcile religion and rationality. Essentially, he implies that it is the Protestant Reformation that has caused all the trouble, not man's unwonted pride in his ability to reason.

Although I agree that the "subjectivity" of faith (I speak as a man) can lead to the errors Velasquez points out, Protestantism -- or the Bible, for that matter -- doesn't preach that we can only know and access God via our subjective experience. Romans 1 says that God is objectively known and seen in creation, so that all mankind is without excuse. "I believe" is an assent of the mind as well as the heart.

The true error is putting God at odds with man's reason simply because He cannot be explained by it. Our inability to "prove" God or reason to God is merely evidence of the limits of reason rather than an acknowledgment of the irrationality of belief. When the Enlightenment gave rationality preeminence as a worldview, some Christians (notably Descartes) felt impelled to recast their faith in that framework, to use reason to access and define God. Unable to do so satisfactorily, their only retreat was to the subjective experience of faith. The either-or fallacy that God must be able to be reached by reason or is irrational, not the implications of sola fide, is the root of much of modern irrationality, both in the church and out.

Although God cannot be conscribed within the circle of rationality, He is nevertheless the God of reason, and reason can certainly be used for His glory and for the good of His kingdom. But, we should beware of trying to bring He whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts down to our level. As Van Til has said: "It is Christ as God who speaks in the Bible. Therefore the Bible does not appeal to human reason as ultimate in order to justify what it says. It comes to the human being with absolute authority. Its claim is that human reason must itself be taken in the sense in which Scripture takes it, namely, as created by God and as therefore properly subject to the authority of God."

May 14, 2008


I remember that last night on the threshing floor. I was sifted there, beaten, winnowed -- chaff filling the wind, a swirl of lambent golden husks as empty as my dreams of the future. You reached down and picked me up, gathered every nerve and fiber 'til your hands were full of me, and put every cell back in its place. As soon as I could, as soon as brain and muscle were connected, I ran from you. You had seen too much.

Now I stand here, our love the dust that drifts about my feet, shimmering as it catches photons in the air. All of our once-possible lives rushing through me, the future collapsing to this dark, solitary singularity: me without you.
Evolution never angers or disappoints me so much as when it is applied to mankind. I can only read so many articles explaining away the enigma of our souls before I am impelled to blog about my indignation. Everything about humankind that is a mysterious reflection of the divine is belittled to a mere reproductional boon. I suppose, in the absence of anything else, there is a comfort in Darwinism -- no supernatural, no surprises, everything very clear and orderly. But all it really provides is a framework for fairy tales. Nothing more.

May 11, 2008

Of all tears, they are the best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ. Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God.

-- John Bunyan, from Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

May 7, 2008

The Prophet and the Whore I

You never asked for salvation. You didn't want to know if it was possible, for fear that it wasn't. For fear that it was.

You despised him, shackled to his strange mission, free in his pure devotion. You had forfeited that freedom for yourself, and you hated him because he made you want what you couldn't have. He made you want to be the woman you should have been.

So better the indifferent eyes and ungentle hands than the touch that knows you, that has strayed onto your inner wounds but does not recoil, his unmerited love shaming you in your brokenness. You will not have anything you don't deserve.

May 6, 2008

All that has been running through my head lately has been images and metaphors of pain. I imagine being delicately flayed open with the thinnest of knives, knives slicing down between ribs, ribs splaying. Reaching between to stop the quivering, exposed muscle inside. The struggle that ensues between mindlessly driven flesh and tireless, merciless intent.

The refrain in my internal monologue has been, This hurts like hell. Stopping for a moment to ponder my language, I conclude that I couldn't have said it better. Hell to me means two things: knowing sin but being alienated from good. Guilt, but no forgiveness.

May 5, 2008

There is nothing like the loneliness of having transgressed beyond the bounds of divine patience, where the form of forgiveness might be had, but not its substance.

April 21, 2008

I hate subject lines/post titles

I am a constant source of amusement for myself, although more often in the dry, ironic sort of way. Starting a new blog for every stage of my life is a peculiar habit. I'm not sure what such behavior implies. But here I am.