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Whizzer « In His Hands

As i was walking to Church yesterday morning i saw a young boy jumping in the puddles with his mother watching on.  I smiled at the lady and said ‘that looks fun’.  Her reply was to sigh, and explain that it takes a long time to get anywhere.  As i walked away i heard the little guy say ‘look at the leaves’.
I was struck by how i can walk along that stretch of road and not take in the beauty of the leaves, the marvel of the shape of the water puddles, the birds flying above.  That child showed me that i rush too much and should take more time over things, so that i don’t miss God around me.
As i run around saying ‘God, where are you’, He may very well be waiting to speak to me through the people and things i go past everyday, only i’m going to quickly to notice!

 Peter talks about mercy in his latest post:

I believe Mercy is our last best hope. Justice is good, it is desirable – and God is a just God. We get angry when we see injustice. But I am so glad that it does not stop there.

For by the strictures of justice, I am condemned, and justly so. I do not desire justice, not for me. Were the heart of love only about justice and law there would be no hope, not for any of us, especially in this day and age….

Read it all here: Mercy « The Age To Come

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:35-38

Excerpt from “Doubt and the Vain Search for Certainty” by Alister McGrath:

To believe in God demands an act of faith—as does the decision not to believe in him. Neither is based upon absolute certainty, nor can they be. To accept Jesus demands a leap of faith—but so does the decision to reject him. To accept Christianity demands faith—and so does the decision to reject it. Both rest upon faith, in that nobody can prove with absolute certainty that Jesus is the Son of God, the risen saviour of humanity—just as nobody can prove with absolute certainty that he is not. The decision, whatever it may be, rests upon faith. There is an element of doubt in each case. Every attitude to Jesus—except the decision not to have any attitude at all!—rests upon faith, not certainty. Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations—a trust in a God who has shown himself worthy of that trust. To use a Trinitarian framework: God the Father makes those promises; God the Son confirms them in his words and deeds; and the Holy Spirit reassures us of their reliability, and seals those promises within our heart.

These points are reflected in the American writer Sheldon Vanauken’s account of his mental wrestling before his conversion at Oxford. He found himself caught in a dilemma over the role of proof in faith, which many others have experienced.

“There is a gap between the probable and the proved. How was I to cross it? If I were to stake my whole life on the risen Christ, I wanted proof. I wanted certainty. I wanted to see him eat a bit of fish. I wanted letters of fire across the sky. I got none of these … It was a question of whether I was to accept him—or reject him. My God! There was a gap behind me as well! Perhaps the leap to acceptance was a horrifying gamble—but what of the leap to rejection? There might be no certainty that Christ was God—but, by God, there was no certainty that he was not. This was not to be borne. I could not reject Jesus. There was only one thing to do once I had seen the gap behind me. I turned away from it, and flung myself over the gap towards Jesus.”

There is indeed a leap of faith involved in Christianity—but it is not an irrational leap into the dark. The Christian experience is that of being caught safely by a loving and living God, whose arms await us as we leap. Martin Luther put this rather well: “Faith is a free surrender and a joyous wager on the unseen, untried and unknown goodness of God.”

Read it all here.

If I only read one blog, Father Stephen’s “Glory to God for All Things” would probably be THE one. Uplifting, thought-provoking, moving – his posts are a welcome part of the day. Today’s post “The God of the Waters” is a good example:

….To stand by a lake and shout the word of God, to call His name over the waters, is like standing in the midst of Hades and shouting, “Ally, ally, in come free!” (I know there are hundreds of innovations of that child’s call that ends the game of hide and seek – this was our Southern variant). But there is a word of hope being called out to creation that shares in our bondage. This lake, these trees, these sluggish winter fish, all will be partakers of the glorious liberty of the sons of God. This is God’s promise and it is a joy to stand outside and shout it.

Do read it all!

From the LetPress Discussion List:

There is a new letterpress publication. It isn’t printed letterpress
(!) and it’s not even printed on paper! (What are we coming to?) The
publication’s name is Galley Gab and published by me, Mike
O’Connor.
It’s initial audience is the membership of the Amalgamated Printers’ Association (APA) but subject matter is and will be of interest to all involved in letterpress. It is open to all who are interested in letterpress.

If you wish to see a copy (PDF file—712 KB), send an email TO THE ADDRESS BELOW.

SEND YOUR REQUEST TO:

gg.editor@galleygab.net

I’ve seen the first issue of the Galley Gab, and it is great! Whether your interest is printing, typography or design, do check it out.

For those who have a printing press, the APA (Amalgamated Printers Association) is a wonderful organization that enables the exchange of printed work – inspiring both newbies and pros, and keeping printers connected with one another.

For all kinds of amateur printing, writing and publishing (including desktop), both the AAPA (American Amateur Press Association) and the NAPA (National Amateur Press Association) are really excellent organizations. I’m a member of the AAPA, and the monthly bundles are better than any magazine. The organization is not only family friendly, but family-welcoming, with a special emphasis on attracting members who home-school, providing opportunity to experience and develop their journalism skills, warmly encouraging young people and their work.

(From Touchstone) Over Our Dead Bodies: Men Who Are Willing to Lay Down Their Lives Are Truly Indispensable
by Anthony Esolen

The humility of risk is perfected in Christ and is, even when marred or hidden by the swagger, essential to natural manhood. The men of all really thriving cultures know that their lives, if truly lived, are not their own. The samurai was taught to relish each day as one won from death, an unexpected boon: For the moment he swears allegiance to his lord, he must consider his life as already forfeit. Thus, he can lay that life down at a nod, whenever the sacrifice should be required.

Men who went down to the sea in ships, Viking marauders or Nantucket whalers, knew well they might never return, yet they did go; and the man on the mizzen in the midst of a storm knew that his life literally hung by a thread, and that many of his fellows in just his situation never saw land again, but without him and his obedience there could be no voyage beyond the calm of a bay. The crewmen on the Titanic held it as their duty, once the iceberg’s devastation had been reckoned, to assume that their lives were lost. Only so could they tax their muscles and their broken hearts to the last stretched fiber, to save as many other souls as they could, particularly women and children.

The lad who carried the flag in the old fields of war was unarmed and most conspicuous, but most necessary for the rallying and ordering of his comrades. He was indispensable in his choosing the honor of being the single man least likely to survive the battle. The man first up the ladder to scale the walls of a besieged city would likely also be the first man dead beneath; but if he does not go, no one goes.

The Spartans at Thermopylae knew they could not hold that pass forever against a Persian army many times their strength, but they held long enough for the Athenians to prepare for the onslaught. And you hold a pass by understanding that your life is not your life. You block the opening. The foe must break through over your dead body.

A man need not bear a saber to be a true soldier. When Louis Pasteur was searching for cures for infectious diseases, he had not our same luxury of safety. He was a devout Catholic who attracted to himself young men of high ideals and similar devotion. Those men knew that to be Pasteur’s assistant meant constant exposure to, and experimentation with, disease. Theirs was less a profession than a creed. They went forth in the wake of a plague in Egypt, to seek knowledge and cure the sick.

One gentle young man, like the holy Damien of Molokai, contracted the disease himself, and laid his body down in that alien land. The men embraced the risk. They were dispensable; the cause was not.

Read the whole essay on Touchstone; original comments on Touchstone Treaders here.

Above is only a small portion of something deeply important. I found the article today and it is haunting me. The article not only resonates what it takes to raise boys, to make men, to be men. I’m a mother of men: real, brave men; and I’ve long worried that our culture’s “perverted fear of violence”* is making it harder and harder to raise boys who can happily become men. Our boys are being deprived of the freedom to risk. Setting aside the other questions this may raise as I think on this over the next days, what stuns me about the article at the moment is the elements of it that may be some of the best answers I have seen to the questions of roles in the Church – why for men and women “equal but different” may be essential not just in a family but also in a congregation. These are questions where our churches may, not only because of biblical warrant and tradition, but for survival’s sake, need different answers than those we may support for the workplace. This article deserves a wide read, and a wider discussion.

* Chris Rea “Road To Hell

Sometimes I’m most thankful just to be able to pray. If I could not pray, how could I live in this world? How could I stand this good life knowing the terrible things that so many are suffering right now, if I couldn’t beg God’s help for them? There are things we can do sometimes, and we have to take action where we see needs, but so much of it is too much, the knowledge of it alone would crush me if God didn’t let me pray and know that the prayer alone DOES somehow help.

James 5:15,16

15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Touchstone reports “the death of historian (and Touchstone contributing editor) Elizabeth Fox-Genovese on January 2, 2007 at the age of 65. Author of many books on a dazzling array of subjects, including most recently a massive and definitive study of proslavery ideology coauthored with her husband Eugene Genovese, Betsey also was an adult convert to the Roman Catholic Church, being received in 1995. (Gene soon followed his wife, returning to the church of his youth.), This conversion seemed especially remarkable, at least on the surface, given her former visibility and influence as a lioness of academic Marxism and feminism. But in fact, there was a striking consistency in her life’s pattern, albeit one that runs so completely against the typical academic’s grain as to be unintelligible to those who think in conventional ways.

“She has told the story of her conversion in an article in the April 2000 issue of First Things (where she also was a contributing editor), and a reading of that account is a necessary starting place for assessing the background to her change. But anyone who followed the track of her published work knows that the change was not nearly as great as it might have seemed.”

Excerpts from her story:

“Although as predisposed as any to respect the claims of difference, whether of sex, class, or culture, I increasingly found this moral relativism troubling. It seemed difficult to imagine a world in which each followed his or her personal moral compass, if only because the morality of some was bound, sooner or later, to clash with the morality of others. And without some semblance of a common standard, those clashes were more than likely to end in one or another form of violence.”My more wrenching concerns, however, lay elsewhere. Thinking and writing about abortion had led me to an ever greater appreciation for the claims of life, which were so often buried beneath impassioned defenses of a woman’s right to self–determination, especially her right to sexual freedom. When I began to think seriously about the issue, my commitment to women’s right to develop their talents predisposed me to support the legality of abortion, at least up to a certain point. Even then, I found it impossible not to take seriously the life of the fetus that was being so casually cast aside. The emerging discussions of assisted suicide only intensified my discomfort, as I found myself worrying about one human being deciding whether another’s life is worth living. “How do we know?” I kept asking myself. “How ever can we know?”

“Today, it is easy to see that I was instinctively revolting against a utilitarian or instrumentalist understanding of the value of human life. For I did understand that as soon as we admit as a serious consider–ation whether our obligations to others are inconvenient, the value of any life becomes negotiable. At this point, as you will note, my internal struggles still unfolded within a secular framework, although I fully appreciated that devout Christians and Jews viewed reverence for life in its most vulnerable forms as a divine commandment. Indeed, I was slowly coming to envy the certainty that religious faith afforded, and I began to think seriously about joining a church. At the same time, I knew that no matter how noble and well–intentioned, worldly preoccupations were not an adequate reason for doing so.

“As if barring my path to church membership stood the figure of Jesus Christ. The churches I most respected all required that prospective members affirm their personal faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. I did not question the legitimacy of the requirement, but nothing in my previous life seemed to have prepared me to meet it. To the best of my knowledge, I had no personal experience of religious faith and no real grasp of its nature.”

Be sure to read it all at First Things. I’ve known a couple of people from within acadamia who converted, and they often speak of having “made a decision to live as if it were true” as the beginning of their journey into faith.

“…In the year after 9-11 I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was treated successfully. But during that whole time I read about the future resurrection and that was my real medicine. In the last book of The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee wakes up, thinking everything is lost and discovering instead that all his friends were around him, he cries out: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”The answer is YES. And the answer of the Bible is YES. If the resurrection is true, then the answer is yes. Everything sad is going TO COME UNTRUE.Oh, I know many of you are saying, “I wish I could believe that.” And guess what? This idea is so potent that you can go forward with that. To even want the resurrection, to love the idea of the resurrection, long for the promise of the resurrection even though you are unsure of it, is strengthening. I John 3:2-3. Beloved, now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope purify themselves as he is pure.” Even to have a hope in this is purifying.

Listen to how Dostoevsky puts it in Brothers Karamazov: “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, of the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; and it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened.”

That is strong and that last sentence is particularly strong…but if the resurrection is true, it’s absolutely right. Amen.”

Read all of this beautiful sermon.