Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love is kind. Period.

For our wedding anniversary. -- Lately, some people (maybe post-modern in outlook; I don't understand all that) have been trying to say to me that love is hate and hate is love and we need to be harsher and tell the truth. Yes, we are to tell the truth. But love is still kind. We may fail often or continually, but this does not change that love is kind. Love may be tough, at times, but still love is kind. We don't need to get that all mixed up. Don't let anyone confuse you.  Thanks, Paul. 

Honesty Day

Apparently it is is World Honesty Day, today, April 30th.  It also happens to be my wedding anniversary, a big round number today.

(This is an important date but be assured I am not using it as any password anywhere.) 

World Honesty Day.  I suppose we are trying to have a day to encourage something positive.
Wikipedia has this.   Ah, we see it is a "national" day in the United States.  No wonder we have not heard of it before.

Honesty.  Honest Abe.

You would think people would not need to say:  "If I am completely honest."  or "Honestly"--anything.  Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no".   Someone in my family used to say:  "You know me, I have to speak honestly."  This was an introduction, usually, to saying something you might not otherwise say, either unkind, or gossipy, or just critical.  I am not sure that this introduction of complete honesty helped the matter.

The biggest liar I have ever met would say:  "I have to be completely honest, here."

I am "honest" seems like saying, I am "humble".  You just don't say it.  It just is so and everyone knows it.

And yet honesty is what we need and want.  Truth is what we need and want.  Humility is what we should need and want.

Do we want it?  Yes and no.  We want it more than anything and we also want it less than anything.

Some C.S. Lewis people posted this for Honesty Day on Facebook.  It is kind of an interesting choice.

Honesty involves an openness to facts. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013



I have two reactions to the criticisms outlined above. The first, more emotional response is to reaffirm something I've said before: To many on the left, if you are conservative then there is nothing you can do that is virtuous. Even the good that you do will be dismissed as cynical or destructive. The idea that my friends and family, who love their adopted children more than they love their own lives, have "orphan fever" is disgusting. Given that much of this criticism comes from unapologetic advocates for abortion-on-demand, I'm reminded of the words of Isaiah: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/left-launches-attack-on-evangelical-adoption-94832/#ybcvqfG5IfePoZZZ.99 

Saturday, April 27, 2013


A catechism with questions and answers in English.


Ought, can, hope, believe

And yet:

"Ought" does not imply "can".

We strive all our life to see ourselves as loyal subjects of laws under which we can only be judged as outlaws.

-- Robert Farrar Capon

One day, I will read Capon.  

I am the Lord

 "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. 

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest your incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19. Treasury of Daily Prayer, p. 263, Saturday, Easter 4.

This reading came up this morning.  What rings in my ear is the "I am the LORD".  

This first commandment is the key to everything.  Do we have a Lord whose word is the light on our path?  Do we have a Lord to whom our conduct matters?  Do we have a Lord that cares about my neighbor? Do we have a Lord who hears and sees everything and loves justice and truth?  Do I have a Lord who wants me to love my neighbor as I love myself?  

Just as I am supposed to speak frankly and sort things out so that there are no grudges, the same way we need to sort things out with the Lord and with our conscience.  And where there has been offense, it needs to be put right and out of the way so that the relationship can flourish.  This is the good news.  Offense abounds, but it can be put away. 

Sometimes we go through life and we think all this talk of God is so ridiculous.  Some will even tell us it is gauche to talk about God, even though he is central to our reconciled relationships.  We cannot see him, though we are told that he hears and sees everything.  Is it just a ploy to keep us morally on the straight and narrow (if that were possible)? 

Sometimes others and I, myself, can talk myself into thinking this way.  We could just live doing our work, doing the best for our family, enjoying what we can. --  But it never takes me long for the nihilism to completely overwhelm me.  It feels like worm eating from the inside out.  When the inside is hollow the outside becomes sterile.  When the inside is rotten,  empty, bland, there remains only a shell of life.  No matter how beautiful the birdsong or the sunrise, etc.  all the things that can uplift us;  they grow stale.

I only feel like a person in relation to this unseen God. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Some Double-Speak / Mocking / Love and Hate

It's been a very long time, decades in fact, since I've read George Orwell's book, so I should beware of alluding to it.  But... here we go. It was written in 1949.

This is how Wikipedia has "double-speak":

Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms, in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace"). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. Doublespeak is most closely associated with political language.
Ha!-- but that is not what Orwell used; this is how far off I am, but:

 In "1984" Orwell introduced us to the words doublethink and newspeak.  A word he DIDN'T use - but which combines the two - is doublespeak.
Doublespeak is saying one thing and meaning another, usually its opposite.
In 1984 when BIG BROTHER and the Party say PEACE they mean WAR, when they say LOVE they mean HATE, and when they say FREEDOM they mean SLAVERY.

Lately, I've come across some stuff--which I am actually trying to forget because it is not helpful--but I feel I need to put it down in order that I can put it behind me.

It involves someone saying that love is not what Paul is after in 1. Cor. 13.  That it is not an imperative.  That actually "love" and "grace" are really "hate."   So now "grace" means "hate" and "hate" is good.  But those who are too nice or afraid to "hate" are "goodies", which is very bad.  These are people who won't criticize or rebel, struggling being the answer to the question of life's purpose.   In any case, "grace" does not mean mercy, forgiveness or joy.  In fact, one should not repent or be sorry because that is a waste of time and energy.  We should be putting our energy to use in "struggle" or in "wrestling" (bring in a Biblical story here to make the thing palatable to some.) One should not apologize, ever.

The person who thus engages everyone in fighting and struggling is thus being "gracious" but those who claim some faith are not at all "gracious."  They are the ones engaged in hypocrisy because they claim to be captive to grace but they are not really "gracious"--whatever "gracious" now means.

The ambiguity in all this is supposed to be fertile ground for breaking down former concepts and birthing something new and creative, a dying and rising, not by coming logically to see the error in one's ways but by simple breaking down what was seen as clear before.  People are approached in a duplicitous way, priming the pump so to speak, to gain their trust or influence over them.  Then they are ambushed by this "gracious hatred" of surprising put-downs and illogical and anti-intellectual twist and turns of deliberate attempts to confuse them.  This is considered some kind of public service.

Love is now the highest good, but really love is some kind of hate.  "Comfort" is very bad. Almost the worst thing because it causes no rebellious kind of change.  Being good is bad.  Wanting to be good is bad.  Jihad comes to mind.  Really it is a kind of jihad, an attempt to subjugate by force rather than by making sense or by being trustworthy in relationship.

Christians are stupid dupes putting up with crosses and guilt and, oh, no, doctrines, when there should be assertiveness and aggravation.

Well, Mr. Orwell was a practicing Anglican who always wrote against Totalitarianism, and we also have this from him:

Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism. He wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,
When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with FieldingStendhalThackerayFlaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens's photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry—in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterized Orwell as much as his subject.

Orwell  has Dickens as always fighting against something without "malignity", laughing with a touch of anger but not triumph, as "generously angry."   The invocation of the "19th-century liberal" reminds us of what we've read about Heinrich Mann and others.  Ever these people are writing novels to re-educate the public (-- changing their own minds every other year or so, themselves, however).  It seems that the word "liberal" has had many incarnations so that one wonders what it is supposed to mean.

Liberal and Progressive seems to be a word that anyone likes to use for their own position.  It is always the other man or woman who is not liberal or progressive.  It is the other guy with the "smelly little orthodoxy".  I wonder about Orwell. --I think by "orthodoxies" he meant Communism and Socialism and Nazism, and National Socialism.  Maybe Eugenics, too, which held sway for some time, even now really with the selective abortions and racial factors.  And, of course, we still have Darwinism.  And lately the Dawkinism, Dawkins being as doctrinaire and vicious as any one could meet, a doctrinaire baddie with totalitarian leanings.  It happens. There he is, love him or hate him, love it or hate it.

Dawkins not having the brains of a Dickins or an Orwell, however, encourages everyone to mock with hate. There we have it, he probably calls it "love", too.  Ravi Zacharias makes a good response on some grounds.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How could it happen?

One of the questions which came up during the look at Nazism was where did all the money for the war effort come from when the Weimar Republic was so broke?

This week's CBC documentary shows how Hitler got a hold of a lot of gold from the countries he invaded.
This is a link to the show but it plays only in Canada.

Someone has put it on Youtube and it is here.

A while back we also had a figure about Hitler's melting down of thousands of church bells for the war effort.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

John 10:27

That's a pretty good cartoon. There is something to be said for reading, learning, singing, watching, entertaining, except we are bombarded with all that these days and most of it is noise, advertisement or drama on the lowest common denominator.

We really can't hear the voice of the shepherd if we don't hold still, don't read the word, don't "hear, mark and inwardly digest"...  It does not really matter how many distractions we have, the time needs to be carved out.

Truth and nothing but the truth

The Frankfurt newspaper discusses the lawsuit of New York University law students against the University.  It was lost because advertising need not be true.  Wow.  The "idea" or "myth" was obviously "inspiring" but it cost the students a great deal of money, time and effort with disappointment as a result.  Truth in advertising should be expected and especially from schools of higher education.  This judgment to me is disappointing.

The advertisement had stated that 97% of students had found work within 9 months of graduation.  The research into this statistic had included the work of people who were working as restaurant servers, for example.


We note that the Frankfurt newspaper lets us cut and paste paragraphs:

Tatsächlich schauen viele der jährlich etwa 43.000 amerikanischen Absolventen von Rechtsfakultäten gerade in die berufliche Röhre, unter anderem, weil das, was vor Jahren noch ihre Aufgabe war, inzwischen von Datenbanken oder von Indern erledigt wird: die Begutachtung von Dokumenten, das Finden von Präzedenzfällen, der Entwurf von Verträgen, das Bereitstellen juristischer Information.
Der Richter am New Yorker Appellationsgericht fand zwar, die Hochschulen mögen falsch informiert haben, aber nicht falsch genug, um verklagt werden zu können. Reklame, mag man sich das übersetzen, ist eben Reklame. Von einem verständigen „Konsumenten“ juristischer Lehre, so las sich die jetzt bestätigte Originalentscheidung vor einem Jahr, könne die Einsicht verlangt werden, dass der Markt optimistische Werbebroschüren obsolet mache.

Translating the above:

"Indeed many of the 43,000 graduates of law faculties are presently side-lined career-wise.  The work they might have been doing is nowadays often done by data banks or workers in India.  This would have included work such as the evaluation of documents, the finding of cases of precedent, the designing of contracts or the  finding of information...  In the end, the judge of the court of appeal in New York decided that while the universities may have provided false information it was not false enough to warrant a law suit.  Advertisement is advertisement.  An insightful 'consumer' of  'studies in law' can be expected to be critical enough to realize that the job market can make optimistic advertisements obsolete."

The Divine Historian?

George Jonas writes great commentaries for the National Post.  This one, today, on the task of historians is quite good.  http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/20/jonas/

The Philanthropist, the Marxist Academics, the Historian and another chubby Diner, and George Jonas, of course, discuss the task of historians.

Many noways seem to me to abandon scholarship for ideas such as promoted in the last post, sounding like Pontius Pilate and his abandonment of search for truth. Is that the post-modern way?  Or the modern way?  What do I know.

(I was going to cut and paste the very end of the article, here, but the National Post won't let me without a licence.)

(The spell checker does not know "Pontius Pilate";  it is suggesting "Pontiac".  Here we have a prime example of what we are talking about.  No more Pontius Pilate, though we mention him every single Sunday and have for millennia from the very time it happened.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Liberal Fascism? / How could it happen...

Today, I happened to sit in an office where I took a book off the shelf.  It was titled "Liberal Fascism".  It can be found on Amazon here, where it has garnered over 600 reviews.  The average rating is 4 out of 5 stars.  On its cover it has a big yellow smiley with a Hitler mustache.  What was meant by this image was that in today's America we have in some liberalism an ideology not so far removed from fascism.   To be honest, I don't find the whole thing too far fetched in light of some of the reading we did earlier in the year. The subject matter dove-tails with what we've said about National Socialism, German philosophers  Wagner, and the New Religion of the Nazi's, in some posts earlier this year, and the subject still interests me.
Here is a quote  I wrote into my notebook:

"Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms... there are lifeless truths and vital lies... the force of an idea lies in its inspirational value.  It matters very little if it's true or false."

This is a quote found in the book from another book "Mobilizing America", 1917 by Arthur Bullard.  Well, it's not too current but it fits into this first and second world war period.  Hitler would have loved the saying, in any case.

The concept is called the Sorelian doctrines of the "vital lie."  (Who or was is Sorelian?-- I see now there lived a French philosopher George Sorel, who dealt with the "power of the myth".  Wikipedia mentions this about him:  .He did not absorb and systematize the ideas of others but analyzed and reacted to all that he read. Original in his thought, he was an intellectual eccentric and very nearly a crank.)

In another paragraph was a discussion about the reading of texts.  It does not longer matter what the text is trying to say, but only how the reader reacts to it.  This is pretty much the same message as the quote above.     If it only matters whether an idea inspires or not, it does not matter whether it is true, then content does not matter as much as how someone reacts to it.  Manipulation is king?  The myth is good for manipulation.  People will believe very big lies, Hitler said.

I have met people on the internet who think this way.  They have even hounded me to give up a literal reading of the Bible.  They have called me names and been rude.   The problem is the Bible does not become less true by someone bashing it. And your and my sin does not get whiter by mushing everything into some sort of "oneness", and grace is not "hate", against all what some want to say about radicalism and anarchy.  However, the Bible is seen fit to use as myth.

Another book intrigues me.  The Nation  Post Saturday edition featured an article "How Literature saved my life" by David Shields.  Apparently is actually about how literature did NOT save his life.  He also wrote a book "Reality Hunger" seemingly about how we have so much fiction we are looking for facts and biographical material.

The Bible is biographical and historical.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition's Newsletter / Dr. Catherine Dopchie

The latest Euthanasia Prevention Coaltion's Newsletter arrived in the mail.  On page 2 is an article written by Dr. Catherine Dopchie, an oncologist in charge of a palliative care unit in Belgium.

I'll try to give some of it here.

"Palliative care is so efficient today that even the proponents of euthanasia say that failing to relieve physical suffering is medical incompetence.  Euthanasia is mainly applied, not for pain, but for the suffering of loss of meaning of life."  

"The patient does not believe that it is possible to integrate the richness and the poverty of his condition, and find there a source of healing.  He has reduced himself to a person in his pain and he has reduced the doctor from his function.  For us physicians, there is no longer the "always help/care" as we partake in his helplessness.  We find ourselves no longer in a particular place where two parties are in the center on this last and final act of giving.  Instead, he has convinced himself that he is insurmountable and must be in control.   The doctor who aims rather for wholeness of the person, and refuses to practice euthanasia, can no longer become involved in the relation of therapeutic union that engages two people in the situation of fragility.  We end up in the impasse to choose between the right of our conscience or rights of law."  

"Actual pain is subjective, not measurable.  The fact that a patient might only be suffering the fear of pain is no longer an obstacle to euthanasia.  To the doctor who believes that he can predict when suffering might become unbearable, anticipated suffering justifies killing under the law. A doctor who believes he is capable of predicting human suffering may be more dangerous than a doctor who believes in pursuing aggressive therapy.  By becoming an "expert" at predicting suffering, the doctor may dispense with actually assessing the pain of a dementia patient, or an infant."

"In end of life situations, where psycho-spiritual activity is intense, people completely change their minds about their desires.  ... It is not reasonable for a doctor to assume that he is competent to predict the patient's feelings in a situation which is not yet here."

"To the psychology of a young person, not yet a mature adult, it may seem difficult to avoid the pitfall of false freedom, especially in the current materialistic society.  An adult knows from experience that it is possible to evolve through his suffering. But the young person needs to witness the journey of adults facing suffering in order to find his way.  However, if all that person hears is that he has the right to refuse care, and if palliative care is relentlessly labeled as aggressive treatment, they can lose hope.   All of the development still needed to optimize psycho-social and spiritual care will be suffocated in the egg.  Only through suffering along with the patient can we acquire compassion.  Without that, caregivers will become increasingly intolerant and therefore incompetent. The mystery of the dignity that proceeds from carrying each others' human pain is disparaged by those who do not know how to do it.  Euthanasia is a cheap technical way to pay off the account of human suffering.  Can we honestly consider that it is real progress?"

Wow.  This doctor has deep insights gained from experience, we can tell.

Personally, I can speak to the dying of my own parents.  It was each time traumatic since we children were still fairly young.  But death is always traumatic.  My mother died at home after several rounds of chemo for leukemia.  My father died at home of cancer, also.  In the case of my mother, it was decided in consultation with the doctor that further aggressive treatment was unlikely to be very successful and therefore it was discontinued.  She came home and we daily did for her what we could.  The local health unit helped with equipment and dropping in for care.  I read the gospel of John to her and we decided she was getting too ill to chance another family holiday we thought we might be able to take.  It was a very difficult time but we spent it together.  We talked and sang and read and prayed.  It was not pretty.  There was nausea, depression, problems with feeding and voiding.  Very tough.  We children were 15, 17, and 19 years old.

My father died at home and had a family physician trained in palliative care.  She made housecalls and came over regularly.  I remember her being asked about helping him die.  She said she could not do it.  We had morphine and we sat with my father til he died.  He did not die suddenly.  In the end the death rattle came and we all knew and he did too, that he was within hours of his inevitable death.  I held him.  I sang to him.  I gave him his morphine.  When he was conscious he was extremely lucid.  He felt very humbled and chastised by it all.  I just kept saying that we too will be in this exact place.  It is our common human experience. The sense of loss was overpowering.  But we had each other.  We could talk.  We could care.  In the end, I had a sense of strength.  This too can be done.  We will be able to die.  We will be able to do it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

American Poverty


How could it happen.../ Spiegel on Wagner


UNICEF data on children in Industrialized Nations, comparison of reporting and analysis / i.e. U.S. ignoring study results

Last week UNICEF released a study comparing and rating the well-fare of children in industrialized nations.

The full report is here.  Please view it.  The comparative chart is easy to read and found on page 2, showing the categories in three shades of blue for easy comparison.

Below, see how the story was handled in the media in different countries. In the German news it made headlines, highlighting the discrepancies in some of the measure.  This is where I came across the story, making me curious as to how Canada and the U.S. dealt with the story, since they placed even lower than Germany.

Basically, I found  no intelligent treatment  of the story in the US media, which I find disturbing. I am still looking.  Let me know if you find something.

See my quick little survey, below:

The CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has a number of stories dealing with results relevant to Canada. For example here:


The National Post, the paper I get delivered at home, has three stories, below the link to one:

The Wall Street Journal has a story about how badly Canadian children are doing.


Fox news has a story on how badly children are doing in Great Britain, completely ignoring results about United States.


CNN has a video, where the interviewer cuts off the person beginning to show how poorly the U.S. is doing in comparison.


The Huffington Post has an article, which does mention that the US is pretty far down the list in a number of measures but makes no real attempt at analysis or summarizing the info.


ABC News only carries a story on a Unicef study on children in Congo.

I can't find the story in the New York Times, either.  I don't know where else to look for US news.

I can't find anything in the Los Angeles Times.

The Tagesschau from Germany has a number of stories, also showing the chart for the comparison between all the countries, analyzing the discrepancies found which are relevant to Germany.


Deutsche Welle carries this story in the English language:

The British have this, offering some analysis of their own situation:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Less depression among those who attend religious services, study


Egypt in mayhem and Christian girl assaulted video

Muslims in Egypt rape a girl shouting "Christian" and "Allah akbar".  Posted yesterday.  66 thousand views by today.

Muslims should move against these barbaric acts perpetrated in the name of Islam. A mob Muslims assault a Christian girl in broad daylight shouting: "Nasarah (Christians)."

I am completely revolted and horrified.  Recently, I met an Egyptian Christian.  He said in Egypt there is no rule of law at the moment.  People are shot on the street and nobody investigates. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Hobby

Winter has got to be so long now, that I've taken up knitting for the first time since my mother taught me when I was Middle School age.  This piece below is something I just finished:  a cowl in purple with diagonal stripes running through it.  It is knitted on a round and there are six knits and six purls alternating, but minus one on the round, so that every round everything is shifted by one, so you get the diagonal.  At the moment I am quite excited by all the different designs and wool's.

Revisiting this skill and hobby makes me think that I am accumulating an arsenal for older age, when it will be even harder to get out and about in winter, plus, who knows when there will be babies to knit for...  Knitting always reminds me of my mother, who has been gone for a very long time and who was an accomplished knitter.

This new piece is quite handy, as it is pretty cold in the house.

This was a practice piece.

This is the one below, is what I am really aiming for, a longer cowl with big geometric lace pattern.  It apparently is this sort of thing that is the rage with the younger set.  So I am seeking to ingratiate myself  by hopefully making some of these.  The wool is a Marino/ Silk mix which is not available at the local wool shop, but they will order it in.  The timeline is to try and get some done by next Christmas.

The pictured young woman Adrienne Key designed this impressive pattern.  Variation is also provided by knitting the same pattern with various size needles and by increasing and decreasing the number of stitches, as you go along, giving a different kind of draping effect.  Very smart.

Cowl KNITTING PATTERN PDF File- Lace Circle Scarf, Cowl, Snood - Balustrade

Don Quixote so far

We are one hundred pages into the unabridged version of Don Quixote and already he has had a variety of ill-conceived adventures and suffered several sound beatings and nearly killed some others himself.  Yesterday, he was involved in precisely two nearly incapacitating altercations plus he was mentally unfaithful to his love and muse Dulcinea, perhaps also twice, once in following coy Marcella, who probably inspired his other imaginations of the wench coming to him at night.  Thus is the nature of Don Quixote's heroism and chastity.

It is strange to contemplate his getting himself into so much trouble voluntarily and at the same time I worry that we are all like him.  What kind of mad people are we?

Being a very bad novel reader, I have skipped ahead to the end, already, not being sure that I can deal with many more hundreds of pages of Don Quixote, Sancho and Rozinante.  Already we can see that the novel is much deeper and quite different in quality from what popularizing musicals have done with it or to it.  Being at heart a non-fiction girl, I really would like to know more about the context such as the Inquisition, the expulsion of Jews and Muslims, about what was actually printed and censored in 16th-century Spain, about knights and conquistadors.  Finally, I am realizing that I know practically nothing about Spain. Our dear author Cervantes is being satirical to the bone and not very subtly so, but in a way that goes down well and which has understandably immortalized him.

The ending, however, since we have skipped ahead, gives away some of the moral of the story.  It  has this to say about the "pen" and the "why" of writing and heroism.  Don Quixote must have at the end given up his errant-Knighthood and died a "Christian" at home having also given up the reading of romantic knight stories, the copying of which had led him into so many follies.


Thus died that ingenious gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, whose native place Cid Hamet has not thoguth fit directly to mention, with design that all the towns and villages in La Mancha should contend for the honor of giving him birth, as the seven cities of Greece did for Homer.  We shall omit Sancho's lamentations, and those of the niece and the housekeeper, as also several epitaphs that were made for his tomb, and will only give you this which the Bachelor Carrasco caused to be put over it.

Don Quixote's Epitaph

'The body of a knight lies here,
So brave, thjat to his latest breath
Immortal glory was his care,
And make him trimph over death.

His looks spread terror every hour;
He strove oppression to control; 
Nor cou'd all Hells' united pow'r 
Subdue, or daunt his mighty soul.

Nor has his death the world deceiv'd 
Less than his wondrous life surpris'd
For if he like a madman liv'd
At least he like a wise one dy'd.'

Here the sagacious Cuid Hamet addressing himself to his pen, "O thou my slender pen, ' says he, 'thou, of whose nib, whether well or ill cut, I dare'nt speak my thoughts!  Suspended by this brass-wire, remain upon this spit-rack where I lodge thee.  There mayest though claim a being many ages, unless presumptuous and wicked historians take thee down to profane thee, bid them beware, and, as well as thou can'st in their own style, tell them,

"Avaunt, ye scoundrels, all and some!
I'm kept for no such thing;
Defile me not; but hang yourselves;
And so, God save the king."

'For me alone was the great Quixote born, and I alone for him.  Deeds were his task, and to record them, mine.  We two, like tallies for each other struck, are nothing when apart.  In vain the Spurious Scribe of Tordesillas, dared with his blunt and bungling ostrich-quill invade the deeds of my most valorous knight  His shoulders are unequal to the attempt:  The task is superior to his frozen genius.

'And thou, reader, if ever thou canst find him out in his obscurity, I beseech thee advise him likewise to let the wearied, mouldering bones of Don Quixote rest quiet in the earth that covers them.  Let him not expose them in Old Castille, against the sanctions of death, impiously raking him out of the vault where he lies stretched out beyond a possibility of taking a third ramble through the world.  The two sallies that he has made already, which are the subject of these two volumes, and have met with such universal applause in this and other kingdoms are sufficient to ridicule the pretended adventures of knights-errant.  Thus advising him for the best, thou shalt discharge the duty of a Christian  and do good to him that wishes thee evil.  As for me, I must esteem myself happy, to know been the first that rendered those fabulous nonsensical stories of knight-errantry, the object of the public aversion.  They are already going down, and I do not doubt but they will drop and fall all together in good earnest, never to rise again.  Adieu." 

End of Quote.

For a moment I thought I knew what he meant, but now that I've typed it, I come up with many more meanings.  What a wicked fellow this Cervantes.  Of course, there is no end to the knight-errantry, we are all on this course.  And the pen is supposed to lend its power to praise such foolishness.  We would love to gain some glory and have everyone repeat forever how wonderful we are or were.  Would it be worth doing any great deeds if no one preserved the record? What is the task of writing and of reading?  Will this ridicule bring down the knight-errantry, the pen also having been used for this hope of producing public aversion to it?  Is it irrepressible? 

Is the book about nihilism or the follies of the Catholic church and crown?   Is it about our search for immortality via becoming famous, infamous--or "prophetic" as many seem to like to call themselves, these days.-- Surely, I have met more people on the internet that thought themselves prophetic than I can say.  It's the "new" thing.  Everyone a prophet.  Everyone a critic.  Everyone a radical and superior to the rest of the masses.  Everyone with a "nobless oblige" to educate and elevate the rest.  Everyone an "apologist"?

Everyone only living on in people's memories and imaginations. Good for you, Cervantes.  We remember you.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pope Francis meets Schneider

Pope Francis has been invited to Germany to come to the 500 year celebration of the Reformation.  His returning thanks for the invitation is touching to see--momentous somehow.  It would be quite a day to celebrate the Reformation with him in attendance. But he must know, we cannot budge an inch from the Gospel and be brought under the yoke of fear and slavery, again, beholden to every word of the pope, curia or councils.

May neither the State Lutheran church nor the Roman Catholic church make this a shallow or empty gesture,  or just a cultural event, but may we all listen truly to the word of the Lord in whom we can rejoice.  "Delight yourself in the Lord." (Psalm 37:4)


"On the death of a child"

Here is a blog post about the death or suicide of a child written from first hand experience of Lutheran clergy.  This would come in the wake of the news of the suicide of Rick Warren's son, several days ago.


I think Wilken's post of the other day, is also well-taken and the Luther quote well selected.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Analyze Me"--Game

The family arrived safely yesterday in more winter weather and driving conditions.  They come from the south of the province and were not impressed with out temperatures "up here." -- Yes, indeed, tell us about it.  The neighbors came over, too, and we opened up a game I had bought for the visitors.  It turned out to be a great success and time well spent.  Hence, I will recommend it here.

It sells on Amazon.  This is where I bought it of course, together with some other Blue Orange company games, all of which seem to be simple, fun, portable and have educational value on top of it.

We were a company of 8 adults and teenagers. The game started good story telling, revealed much about ourselves and what we thought of each other, challenging some long-held assumptions.  It was all in good taste.  Apparently there are some some adult-questions in the game, to which we had not come.  I would say that it is suitable for teenagers, as well.  The questions could be pre-selected without detracting from the play value.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekend is nigh, rambling.

It's snowing, again;  my sisters family is coming for the weekend... and I'm trying to throw out the old newspapers but end up reading some of the articles.

Here is one:  http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/03/george-jonas-on-classical-liberalism-a-church-without-a-congregation/

On classical liberalism:  a church without a congregation.

I am not sure what it means.  But I'm also reading Chesterton's  "What I saw in America".  Surely, there is a link, if I think about it some more.  Chesterton is assuaging my feelings over meeting Americans in person or on-line.  He gives me the best laughs of the day.  I try to read it to my husband but all he hears is verbosity.  What do you do with him.

I'm also reading Cervantes Don Quixote, in the unabridged version. Also here we have good laughs and plenty of verbosity.  Me thinks, it wouldn't work for the hubby either.  Last night I got to the point were Don Quixote's curate (pastor, priest) wishes to ban and burn all the books and romances that Don Quixote has read and have perverted his mind.  Funny.  After the Bible, there must have been printed these forsaken "romances".  Don Quixote, itself, is pretty much the first novel ever written.  800 pages in this small print.  Why am I not reading it in I-books?

So much.  What is the bottom-line?  How are we like Don Quixote?  How is American liberalism like Don Quixote?  How are we "dogmatists" like Don Quixote?  How is it that the 10 commandments are always true, and progressiveness always has to charge and change.  How is it that the Rights of Man can be different from country to country, though self-evident? How is it that science keeps claiming ultimate truth but also says we are evolving.  How is it that marriage was between a man and women for thousands of years, but now it is a bigotry to say so?  How is it that one must not say a word against Darwinian evolution though it has no idea how life arose or how information was generated, or how there could possibly be a mechanism of change or adding new information?  Don't get me going.  I shall heave out the stack of newspapers now.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"How University prevents Geniality", Klaus Hansen


This is an article in the Spiegel on-line Uni-Spiegel.  I can't seem to find it in English.  Its thrust is to bemoan the downfall of traditional scholarship and thorough knowledge in the favor of faddish non-research and shallow thinking.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Women

Easter  Women

Who handles the dead body?
Who dares, who wants to?
The Mary’s do, and Joanna and Salome.
--The body, almost an afterthought after the trauma.
Where have they laid it?

What with it?
Call the funeral home, the police, the coroner.
--slow down.
Don’t pass it by. 
Don’t pass it up.
Have another look.
Take another prayer.
Take courage.
Stroke the hair,
The cheek,
The mouth,
Anoint it with aloe or with tears.
Fulfill this last task of love.
It will be your last chance,
To touch, to hold,
This precious body,
Warm or cold,
Ruddy or gray,
Limp or stiff...
This was your boy,
Your lover,
Your dear one.
The body goes to dust,
But you still have it a moment longer.
Linger with it.
Love it.
Don’t panic.
Fear not.
Peace be with you.
The Lord is with you.
The Lord of Life.
It may not seem it now. 

By me, yesterday.

On Marriage


Passion / Easter / Music

Ah, the wonderful music of Passion week and Easter.  Easter goes another 50 days until Pentecost.  I will still work on singing through quite a bit of the music.  At the moment, I have the St. Matthew's Passion score in hand, and sing bits and pieces of it in the morning.

Yesterday, someone of FB shared this link to Glen Gould speaking about Bach;  it promised an unknown Bach choral at the end of the clip.  And surely there was something there that I've never heard before:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=crQ8YEUkUjg

Wikipedia also says about this:  A notable recording of the cantata was performed by Glenn Gould with countertenor Russell Oberlin in 1962, Gould's only recording of a Bach cantatas. Gould himself played the continuo part on a "harpsipiano", a grand piano modified to sound more like a harpsichord.

That would be the above linked Youtube video. 

But the Gould clip led me to look up Bach cantata 54.  What gorgeous pieces.  Here is one alto aria sung by a male falsetto.  The performance was so stunning I showed my husband and listened to it several more times.  Here it is below.  Soloist Markus Forster.  I am an instant, ardent fan.

The words to the Cantata are here:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Caught my eye

While on the Huff Religion page, this just caught my eye:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/29/bhutas-makes-condoms-available-to-monks-to-stop-spread-of-stds_n_2976401.html?utm_hp_ref=buddhism

Metaphorical Resurrection, yea, sure.


Earlier this week, I wrote a piece about the Christian concept of the resurrection. Does it matter, I asked, if Jesus' resurrection is interpreted metaphorically? My answer was that it matters a great deal, since "a Jesus whose physical body remains in the grave gives me no hope for a physically broken world."
A friend emailed me that I was reading the Gospels wrong, and that the resurrection was best interpreted metaphorically. To relegate the resurrection to a purely physical phenomenon was to read the Easter narrative in the most primitive way, at its lowest common denominator. The Resurrection narratives are given to each of us to interpret and enjoy in our own way -- literally or metaphorically.
The Easter stories, he reminded me, belong to all of us.
And yet before they belonged to us, they belonged to other people -- people who lived and thought and wrote within the first century. It seems to me, then, that if we are to truly understand what the gospel writers are trying to say, we need to contextualize them not first within our own world, but within theirs.

And it must be bodily because, after all, a dead Messiah -- no matter how spiritually alive he may be -- is still dead. He's especially dead if he's being experienced as a ghost. In the ancient Mediterranean world, a vision of a recently deceased loved one confirmed that he was dead... not that he was alive.
It's difficult to imagine the disciples saying, "God has warmed our hearts and caused us to experience the metaphorical presence of Jesus, and therefore we know that he's the Messiah!" Unless Jesus' postmortem appearances were experienced in a physical way, his disciples would have assumed that Rome had won again, and that Jesus, regardless of what they hoped, couldn't have been Lord.
For this reason, scholars of all persuasions are forced to seriously consider what happened between the event of Jesus' crucifixion and the event of his proclamation as Lord. As it turns out, the early Christians answer this question in their Easter stories. What convinced them that Jesus was the Messiah was that, unlike other people murdered by Rome, he didn't stay dead.