I had a lot of fun writing Good Stuff, V.1, last week, so I figured I’d write V.2 on this chilly Saturday morning, instead of doing the 4,896 things that must get done today.
Here are a few items that have caught my attention over the last few weeks:
From Desiring God: Did God Betray You?
This is an article I’ve returned to a few times, and I’ve shared a few times, with friends that were in the throes of deep grief. The raw honest truth of #3 and #4 on this list is bittersweet, but the hope found in #1, #2, and #5 is what makes #3 and #4 bearable–and even settling, to a degree.
Also From Desiring God: Too Depressed to Believe What We Know
I find the title of this article, over at DesiringGod.org, to be an encouragement–or a kick–in and of itself. When one struggles with chronic, clinical depression, the words of the above title are truth: they often are so wrapped in a shroud of thick weightiness, that even though they know truth, it is very difficult to believe that truth to be truth. This also is an article that I’ve returned to, several times. It’s a resource article that contains links to several helpful items–I find the links to the sermons to be most helpful, but there are also some good book suggestions (I’ve read each of them. Excellent choices. I would also add Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones book Spiritual Depression, to the list.
From The Gospel Coalition: Flannery O’Connor and the Violence of Grace
I like to read O’Connor; I wish I could write like her. However, I don’t have a creative bone in my body, and could never write fiction. I am so unimaginative. But I so appreciate O’Connor’s way with images and character development. She portrays grace, rightly so, as shocking. And, when you think about it, it is shocking. It is violent. I love the opening paragraph of this article: Yes. She’s kind of my hero, too.
To Flannery O’Connor, grace was a violent thing. Not a solemn walk down a church aisle or a hushed prayer, but a bullet. A bull’s horn. A suicide.
You won’t find her in Christian book stores, though you may have read one of her stories in college. Her goal in writing fiction was clear: “My audience are the people who think God is dead. . . . To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”
Her characters are grotesque. Her religious voice is unconventional. She’s kind of my hero.
All who wander are not lost….
I have to travel to Fredericksburg, VA this week, for work. Fredericksburg is ok, I suppose, but here is where I’d rather be in the upcoming days:
Oh Pluto. Maybe the flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft will finally gain you back the respect you so sorely deserve. We are sorry that we demoted you. It was cruel. It was disrespectful. And I still want to visit you, after I hit up Saturn and Mars.
One of my favorite things to do is to walk down my very dark street in the summer, and watch the lightning bugs flickering way up high in the trees, and along the side of the road, in the bushes. In fact, I took a kitchen chair over to my neighbor’s house and duct taped his sensor on his garage motion light so it wouldn’t come on, so I could see the fireflies better. (Don’t be alarmed; the house is abandoned. I think.) So, when I read about this park in China–well, it is now definitely on my Places to See Before I Die list. (And, yes, I really have such a list.)
I’ve recently subscribed to The Gospel Coalitions Podcast “Word of the Week”. So far, I’ve enjoyed listening to sermons by preachers that I’m familiar with, and those that are new to me. Crawford Loritts is a pastor that I’ve not heard before, until I listened this week to his sermon on Romans 4:16-21; the subject being Enduring Faith. Good stuff. I’ve never really dug deeply into that passage before now; it contains some hugely important words. I need to do more work on it. You can find his Loritts sermon by Clicking Here.
Also, I mentioned a sermon from This Series on Psalms last week, but really, I’ve found the whole series to be both a tremendous kick, while at the same time encouraging.
He wants them to learn to walk & must therefore take away His hand…if only the will to walk is there He is pleased even with their stumbles. ~ C.S. Lewis
Jesus loves us enough to disappoint us. And in his disappointing us he’s always loving us. ~ Sammy Rhodes
Mom. Mom. This is not a joke. If u love me and Beth u will call the school and let me and her out of class early so we can get home safely. Besides, I’m bored. ~ Text from my boy.
Mom. Mom. When are you grocery shopping. ~ The Same Boy.
Probably Tomorrow. What food to you want? ~ Me.
All the food. ~ Boy
Upcoming Books of Note
Here are two books that I’m considering reading this winter:
The Revelatory Body: Theology as Inductive Art by Luke Timothy Johnson ~ Interesting concept.
Waiting for God by Simone Weil ~ I’ve wanted to read Weil for quite sometime; this looks like a good place to start.
Music of Note
Here are some tunes I’ve come across, that I’ve enjoyed lately:
Andrew Peterson ~ The Silence of God
This haunting song says much about Jesus and His human-ness, and His ability to comprehend what it feels like to us, as mere humans, to experience God’s silence. And, there is much truth, and–strangely–comfort, in these lyrics:
There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He’s kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone
And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God
This Blood by Prestonwood Baptist Church
I stumbled across this the other day–this is solid stuff. Chicken Skin stuff.
O My Soul by Audrey Assad
This song. Whew.
Bridge of Spies, based on a true story, was fantastic. Tom Hanks is a genius, and whoever the guy is that played the Russian spy was incredible. Well worth the 2 hours and 21 minutes and the ticket price.
So, I have cleaned out my closet and have had a fun time getting rid of fat clothes and bringing out clothes that I’ve not worn in a few years, now that I can get back in them. My clothes rarely go out of style, because I have no style to begin with, and most of what I wear is, um, jeans and black or grey shirts/sweaters. But still, it’s nice to have my clothes back in my closet and out of the storage bins. Since I was making The Big Switch, I also purchased new hangers. Velvet hangers are the latest trend, apparently, and at first I thought they would be a ridiculous idea, but I’m amazed at how much more organized my closet looks. Plus, they save space AND my clothes don’t fall off of them. Score. You can buy them Here, at Amazon.