I share convicting things sometimes and basically 100% of the time those things are what I’ve been convicted of; they’re things I’m learning about. I read this C.S. Lewis quote today and immediately said, “YES, this is for me.” Maybe it’s for you too, beloved?
I consider myself an artist. I grew up loving the theater, literature, music, dance, journaling, scrapbooking, letter writing, decor and all things that move me to my emotional, relational, and spiritual core. I still love artistic endeavors dearly, as I see so much of my Maker in them. However, I’ve noticed how tempting it can be to make these good gifts into bad gods (props to David Powlison for that phrase). Yee-ayah DP! Sometimes art and artistry subtly and sneakily saunter their way to the top of the ladder of my heart. They become almost religion-like to me. C.S. Lewis articulately warns against this temptation, but also reminds me of the truth of what is infinitely more valuable than art:
“The Christian will take literature a little less seriously than the cultured Pagan…The unbeliever is always apt to make a kind of religion of his aesthetic experiences…and he commonly wishes to maintain his superiority to the great mass of mankind who turns to books for mere recreation. But the Christian knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world: and as for superiority, he knows that the vulgar since they include most of the poor probably include most of the superiors.”
-C.S. Lewis, “Christianity and Literature”
This reminds me a bit of C.S. Lewis’s tack when he wrote “The Screwtape Letters.” I love the jazzy style of music here juxtaposed with the atrociousness of Satan’s twisted plans. I’m thankful for “the God in Heaven who loves us, who yearns for us, and who gives us the freedom of forgiveness and truth.”
Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by doves’ voices, the whisper of straw,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.
Thanksgiving is over and it’s snowing on my blog, so that must mean it’s time for Christmas music! Thanks to Ransom for introducing me to this rockin’ acapella group, Pentatonix. And if you’re sick of hearing the same ole Christmas songs, check out their Christmas album (on youtube or spotify) for some fun new ones.
I can’t help falling for collaborations like these…I mean Lorde and Jamie Cullum together? Plus the fantastical elements make it fun. Enjoy, beloveds, on this Monday!
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet? If not, get thee to a movie theater! Quick! Not only is the plot/dialogue/casting amazing, but the music and dancing throughout the film is quality. I had to share this lil’ gem of baby Groot dancing. There’s something about people dancing with no shame and utter abandonment that delights the soul!
Humans. Are. Awesome.
These. Two. Get. Back. Together. Please.
SSSSS….LOW….L…..Y….I have been working my way through Ezekiel; turtle-style. My intention is to camp out for long periods of time in one book of the Bible with the aim of understanding its themes and practical implications. The New Application Commentary by Iain M. Duguid and The Message of Ezekiel by Christopher J. H. Wright are major helps. Ezekiel has its fair share of depressing moments with God’s judgments and oracles against Israel. Yet there are many surprising encounters of encouragement and hope. Today’s reading of Ezekiel 17 provided many helpful warnings and loving correctives.
Enjoy these powerful excerpts from Duguid on Ezekiel 17’s contemporary significance:
“We should work for political change and we should plan for the future. Yet we can be so busy doing the good things that we miss out on the one insight that is really necessary, the best thing: maintaining our personal and corporate life with God. But as Jesus reminds us: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
“We want to think that God ought to be impressed, at least somewhat, by our goodness and righteous acts. We prefer not to remember that we are helpless sinners on a collision course with a God of absolute purity and holiness, in whose presence sin cannot be tolerated. But if we accept the fact that we are all covenant-breakers in Adam as well as covenant-breakers on our own account, how shall we stand on that day? The answer lies in the new chip off the old block, the sprig of the cedar tree that God will plant…The good news is that in spite of our weakness and folly, Christ’s kingdom continues to grow and develop, based on his goodness and covenant faithfulness, not ours. Our rebellion and failure may have negative consequences in our own lives, but it cannot prevent God from achieving his purposes in the world. He may work slowly, from our perspective, through imperceptible growth from small beginnings rather than radical revolution, but his work is nonetheless effective. His tree provides perfect shelter and security for all of his own people. As he has planned, he will bring men and women from every tribe and nation to know himself, justified in the perfect obedience of their true king, the shoot of David, Jesus Christ.”
After reading this, I had to ask myself these questions: How easily do I let my work and planning my schedule usurp time spent with my Creator? Do I really believe that I am helpless and a covenant-breaker? Do I find myself rejoicing in Christ’s perfect obedience and faithfulness? Do I live striving for my own righteousness, or do I rest in the shadow of his righteousness and the shade of his perfect shelter? Oh how I long to place my security in the one whose work is sure, effective, and completely good! Help me, O God. What about you, beloved?
During my short stint of seeing a speech therapist, she trained me to speak with higher and lighter tones because the lower and deeper ones caused more problems for the vocal chords. I bet vocal fry is negatively affecting these girls’ vocal chords.
Now that I know about this, I’m hearing it everywhere. Beware of the vocal fry!