Sunday, July 29, 2012

52 in 52 Week 31: Babylonian Captivity of the Church/The Small Catechism by Martin Luther

These two are on my Invitation to the Classics Book List. I am combining them today. The "Small Catechism" (1529) is really short (13 pages).  "The Babylonian Captivity of the Church" (1520) is much longer.

Luther said, "unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason -- I do not accept the authority of popes and councils. . . . My conscience is captive to the Word of God."  

With this he wrote the "Captivity":
"laid down a fearsome gauntlet. Its these was that the Catholic Church used it seven sacraments to enslave the conscience of Christians. There were, Luther argued, only three true sacraments, that is, rites to which Christ himself had attached promises with a visible sign: baptism, the Lord's Supper, and confession." Protestants later reduced the number even further to include only baptism and the Lord's Supper" (Invitation to the Classics, p. 123). 
The writing is very bold and gutsy, and I am sure he made some people really, really mad. "The Babylonian Captivity" also "demonstrated a revolutionary willingness of individual conscience to question the authority of the church" (ibid., p. 123). 

Print from Original Catechism Book
"The Small Catechism" is much milder. :) 
Luther wrote this for churches and household to be used in the education of children in the basics of the faith. It is sweet. I wished I could have had it when I was raising my children. It is Luther's teachings on the Ten Commandments, Apostles' Creed, and Lord's Prayer. In addition there is teaching on the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. I have a different view of baptism than Luther, but it was good to read. 

Addition: I wrote this in July and now it is November, and I found my mother's copy of The Smaller Catechism from 1939. She would have been 12 years old. So cool!
Print from German Small Catechism of 5th Commandment: "You shall not kill."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

52 in 52 Week 30: The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

This has been on my Kindle since June 2010 because, while reading Desiring God by John Piper for our Jesus Community, I wanted that famous quote from "The Weight of Glory":
"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased" (The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, p. 1-2).
When I read this quote John Piper's excellent book Desiring God (one every follower of Jesus should read IMHO) about 20 years ago, it mesmerized me. Yet, I had never read the quote in context, and now I have! The introduction by Walter Hooper is very interesting because it gives insight in how the man "walked his talk" since Hooper was an associate of Lewis. I think we all would have liked Lewis. He rates up there in "people of awesomeness" for me. 

Even though he is awesome, C.S. Lewis has always made my head hurt (like Dallas Willard). His mind is beyond brilliant. So, as hard as it was to listen to all these addresses this morning it was good for my soul after having just finished Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises last night.  The juxtaposition between these two men, born only 234 days apart and both injured in World War I, is startling. One wrote depressing fiction as part of the "Lost Generation" and the other wrote uplifting fiction and non-fiction as part of the "Found."  Praise God for C.S. Lewis. 
Here are more details about this book from
The Weight of Glory is a collection of nine sermons and essays originally composed by Lewis between 1939 and 1956. An original collection was published in 1949, and reworked into its current form in 1980 by trustee and literary advisor of Lewis’ estate, Walter Hooper, whose introduction to this volume sheds light on the many ways in which Lewis lived out the truths he wrote about. 

The title sermon, which appears first in the book, represents Lewis’ most direct work on the value of individuals to God; he affirms that men are immortal souls who have more intrinsic worth than all the cultures and achievements of history. He builds an eloquent case for our responsibility to evangelize and care for our fellow man, reminding us that through every action we are helping our fellow eternal beings toward becoming either “immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” 

The second major statement in the book is the essay ‘‘Transposition’’ in which Lewis undercuts the Roman Catholic teaching that the elements of communion are actually transformed into the body and blood of Jesus upon receipt. Instead, he posits that the Lord chose those elements to evoke the imagery of His sacrifice through the bread and the cup as a powerful sensory reminder for us. 

Lewis’ lecture “Is Theology Poetry?” explores the artistry of God’s story of creation and redemption and leaves us to marvel at the precision which it describes reality. This piece is one of the fundamental texts on worldview thinking, that is, understanding that one’s beliefs and presuppositions form the basis for his values, ideas and behaviors. It is probably best remembered for his oft-quoted statement, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” 

The remaining portions of the book, “Learning in War-Time”, “Why I Am Not a Pacifist”, “The Inner Ring”, “Membership”, “On Forgiveness”, and “A Slip of the Tongue” cover issues from relationships and exclusivism to education and courage to participation in the life of the Body. 

Lewis wrote from standpoint of wonderment at the mystery of God informed by his conversion from atheism relatively late in life. Each essay, lecture, or sermon in this volume contains pearls of wisdom that inspire and challenge the reader to love the Lord with his mind. Taken as a whole, it is an invaluable resource to give form to the ideas that make the Christian life what it is. This book belongs on the shelf of every believer. 
Justin Lonas
I agree Justin!

Table of Contents:
"The Weight of Glory" (1), (2), (3), (4) (Brilliant) 
"Learning in War-Time" (1), (4), (5)
"Why I am Not a Pacifist" (4), (6), (7)
"Transposition" (1), (2), (3), (4)
"Is Theology Poetry?" (2), (3), (4)
"The Inner Ring" (1), (2), (3), (4) (Really liked this one!)
"Membership" (1), (4), (5)
"On Forgiveness" (4), (5)
"A Slip of the Tongue" (2), (3), (4) (I liked this one too)
(1) The original, 1949 version of this work included only these works. The other works were added in the 1980 edition. Also, the 1949 version was published in the U. K. under the title "Transposition and Other Addresses".
(2) also published in "They Asked for a Paper"
(3) also published in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast and Other Pieces"
(4) also published in "Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces"
(5) also published in "Fern-Seed and Elephants and Other Essays"
(6) also published in "Timeless at Heart: Essays on Theology"
(7) also published in "Compelling Reason"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Freewrite

It is 3:15 pm on a warm and overcast summer Sunday. George is outside of Philomath at a memorial service for Scott Overton (

Scott was George's major professor for his Ph.D. in Statistics, and he loved George best of all of his graduate students, and everyone knows it. (Who wouldn't love my husband?) George knows the whole family, and he has written such a lovely thing to share at the service.

I wanted to go, but I am not feeling well, and I needed some downtime after a very big week. But George says my idea of being sick is working just a little less hard than I usually do which is true. One of the Bible Book Club members wrote me wondering why the posts were disappearing. WOOPS! I meant to only work through the end of our vacation in August, but I ended up working through to the beginning of November! I rewrote old posts and rescheduled them for future dates forgetting that many people read on their own schedule for the BBC! 

Thankfully, she was in Daniel and not reading chronologically according to the old schedule. If she had, it would have meant 48 chapters of Ezekiel would be missing for her! (Remember I said that last Sunday I got through all of Ezekiel accidentally by working all day?). As it is, she only has the minor prophets. Since I do them chronologically, most have already posted, and I only had to send her five short books! YAY! 

Actually, I will need to eventually cut and paste everything when I publish the eBooks. So, this just gave me a head start.

What I am so encouraged by is hearing from three people in the last couple of weeks whose lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit speaking truth and transformation into their lives through His word!!! WOOHOO! I LIVE FOR THIS!!!! Anything that I can do to help in that vein is time well spent, even if I am sick!!!! 

I tried to write a bit of Ezra this morning. While cutting and pasting and organizing posts in the Gospel Harmony Book Club have been great, I cannot seem to concentrate on the new posts. So, I am OK with that.

Well, I have four more minutes, and I am already tired. This is enough for my sick brain right now.

No proofreading. Please excuse my mistakes if you are reading this. 

52 in 52 Week 29 :The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Cover painting by James & Ruth McCrea (1974)

"The Sun Also Rises portrays the lives of the members of the so-called Lost Generation, the group of men and women whose early adulthood was consumed by World War I. This horrific conflict, referred to as the Great War, set new standards for death and -immorality in war. It shattered many people’s beliefs in traditional values of love, faith, and manhood. Without these long-held notions to rely on, members of the generation that fought and worked in the war suffered great moral and psychological aimlessness. The futile search for meaning in the wake of the Great War shapes The Sun Also Rises. Although the characters rarely mention the war directly, its effects haunt everything they do and say." 

This story is pretty pointless, but I guess that is the point: the lost generation was truly lost, and these characters just wander aimlessly through Paris until they make it to Spain for fishing, bull-fighting, and infighting while drunk and aimless and debauched. 

Sound fun? Then you too can take a ride through this book!

Again from Spark Notes, "A Note on the Epigraph":
Before the novel opens, Hemingway quotes Stein ("You are all a lost generation.")  and a biblical passage from Ecclesiastes:
"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever . . . The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose . . . The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. . . . All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again."  
The passage contrasts the transient nature of human generations with the eternal survival of nature: the world endures, and the sun continues to rise and set despite the inevitable passage of each human generation into death. Hemingway’s juxtaposition of the two epigraphs produces an ambivalent tone. On the one hand, there is hope, because there will be a new generation after the aimless generation that populates The Sun Also Rises. On the other hand, there is bitter irony, since every generation is lost, in the sense that each generation will eventually die.
I was halfway through the library copy when I found the copy with this neat cover in our bookshelf. George had forgotten that he read it in college. Believe me, the only thing I really liked about the book was the neat cover. :) 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Freewrite Fifteen

I haven't been writing much here lately. So, I thought I would do a quick fifteen. 

Well-Watered Soul

I have dropped off on my "World Walk" prayer in the last week. About a week ago, I did a very hard elliptical interval training, and I think I overdid it. I must just go back to my easy walking again! It is so much better for my body. It doesn't help to do a hard work out and then be incapacitated for the rest of the week!  

All that said, I have spent more time in the Word than World Walking which isn't such a bad thing, but I like BALANCE!  

I don't know how it happened but I got all the way through Ezekiel this last weekend. Yesterday (Sunday), I was particularly focused, and it was so enjoyable! I like Ezekiel. I was most intimidated by it when I first started the BBC, but I am no longer intimidated. 

The meditation on the glory of God filling the temple at the end is thrilling! Come Lord Jesus!

I am going to go for a little world walk right after this freewrite. It will do me much good and good to do before it gets too hot.

Well-Educated Mind 

I am almost done with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I don't care for some of the content and language, but Ken Kesey was a brilliant writer and an Oregon native. So, I felt it was important to read one of his books. 

We have also been watching film adaptations of Anthony Trollope novels. So interesting that i had never heard of him before a couple of weeks ago. We are currently watching The Pallisers.  I do enjoy it. It was slow, at first, but it has picked up and so fun to see a young Susan Hampshire in the role of Glencora. 

Well-Tuned Strength

I was doing so well until my overdoing it on the elliptical. My back has been tight but not out for a week now. I have been walking lightly. Well, I guess not, I did go hiking on Friday and met my calorie burn goal. I guess I just didn't meet it on Saturday, even though we walked for two hours downtown, but it was very slow walking, but that isn't all bad. Sunday was a rest day. SO, I am probably not as bad off as I think I am, but I just don't feel very motivated this morning to do anything. 

I also think I overdid it on the eating. Nok served us a Thai FEAST at Tarntip on Friday night. Amazing but I know that I have not been good with my eating from Friday-Sunday.

I am back to my FOUR DAY WIN for Monday-Thursday! Then, I will reevaluate again. Back on the wagon after a very fun visit from friends. 

I have three more minutes . . . 

Well-Adjusted Heart

It is great, but I think I am going to have to say NO to meeting with people for a chunk of summer. I wish I had someone who could arrange my calendar. I spend much of my time trying to coordinate meeting with people. I wish people could just be set at a certain time instead of needing to reschedule and fudge all over the place. WHO AM I KIDDING? I cannot even hope for that to happen, but much of time this morning was trying to juggle J, S, and S when I already have M, K, and C scheduled this week. That is meeting with six people PLUS M wanting to "touch base" with me on the telephone "some time" this week! I don't have time to figure out your "some time."  Please just give me some times to call, and I will see if I can fit it in.

On top of that are a "tentative" once someone finds out their work schedule. We also have a going away party and getting my books ready for the Homeschool Curriculum book sale.

I am not complaining, but I think I just need a break from scheduling my life and just get through my photos! I think my mental health would be so much better if I could just have CLOSURE on that and get that monkey off of my back. :)

Well, the timer went off, and now I am going to FORCE myself to get out in the sunshine and walk and pray!!! 

Bye (No proofreading on freewrites so I apologize ahead of time for typos and misspellings. Freewrites are meant to not let those things hinder you. It is a great exercise and helps with your perfectionism [something I obviously don't have a problem with])

Sunday, July 08, 2012

52 in 52 Week 28: Faust Part One by Goethe

By Richard Roland Holst (1868 – 1938) ([1])
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I read Steppenwolf a couple of months ago, and Hesse kept on talking about "GER-TA." Since I was listening to it on audiobook, I didn't realize until I looked at the actual text that he was talking about Goethe! This inspired me to read the play. 

I had seen this volume in my father-in-law's Franklin Library collection (the fancy and expensive books with the gilt edges) about 22 years ago and had no idea who "GER-TA" was and  what Faust was about. I just thought it was a pretty book. 

Now I know. It is  a tragic poem/play  that is a take-off of Dr. Faustus by Marlowe, a play from medieval times.  

It is about a German scholar who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for knowledge and power. The first sounds much like the Book of Job, where Satan tells God that he can make one of His faithful servants fall, and God allows Satan to do it.

It is considered the finest piece of German literature and the two parts took Goethe over 60 years to complete. Part One was written in 1808. The first draft (Urfaust) had a different ending. Apparently, the first night audience who saw the new ending cheered. You'll have to read it to know what that ending is!

Faust Part Two came out in 1832. I might take a break before tackling it!

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Well Update Freewrite Fifteen

I thought it would be good to update from the homefront being that it has been over a week. There will be typos in this everyone. Don't be alarmed. Freewrites are meant to allow you to write freely without a concern about grammar, spelling, or typos. Those things can impede the writing process. I did this with my sons so that they would not see writing as a negative thing. They wrote freely. Eventually, they learned to proofread and correct, but freewrites were meant to just teach them how to get their thoughts down on paper, which is really what writing is all about!

They do really well now in college having used this method. :)

Well-Watered Soul

I continue to LOVE my "World Walking"!  I think I am putting in about 30-40 miles a week. That means many different unreached people groups are being prayed for. George and I have done it several times together after dinner, and I really like having a husband who loves to pray with me! Kathleen has done it with me too. If anyone local wants to do it. LET'S!

I had this block with Isaiah, but then I asked for prayer, and it flowed right on the blog. So, the one of the MAJOR prophets is down! I got past the halfway point of Jeremiah yesterday by staying home from morning activities yesterday. I was tired from the Civil War Reenactments in Salem on Saturday and just needed some time alone with the Lord. I love Jeremiah. I love how he was hurt that people didn't want to receive his message. So real, and that is how I feel sometimes. SO, I can relate to him.

After Jeremiah, I have Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel of the major prophets, and Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi of the minor prophets. I also have three more history books sprinkled in: Ezra, Esther, and Nehemiah. Oh, I also have 37 more Psalms. Then, I am done with the whole Old Testament. It is really a spiritual journey and not just a task though. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this God-inspired BHAG given to me on Christmas Day 2007!

Personal prayer has been so good too. God is really leading me into deeper places.

Oh, I think I have decided, on second thought and reflection, that the Spiritual Direction class in Mount Angel would not be a good thing at this time. George job is being cut back to 32 hours a week (with a subsequent cut in pay), and we have many major expenses: art school for Michael and dental work for both me and Michael. So, maybe another time! I am very peaceful about that! Plus, I think I already do Spiritual Direction as I read the books from the class. I just wanted to fellowship with others who are doing it. That is the main reason I wanted to take the class.

Well-Educated Mind

I loved The Aeneid by Virgil, and I am so shocked that I did! I dreaded that on my "100 Great Books" list!  But the audiobook of the Fagles translation, narrated by Simon Callow was the BOMB. I started listening to it on my way to Ginny and Lorraine's on Wednesday, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN (or, in this case, stop listening). It was great. YAY!

I am also listening to The Federalist read by this man on the internet. You can download all 80 MP3. The founders of our country were BRILLIANT men, and we owe our freedom to them. They presented the need for our Constitution with such foresight! I am loving that too. I take it in little doses of 10-15 minutes each.

(DRAT there goes the 15 minute alarm! I will continue this fine discussion tomorrow for the other "Well" concerns! BYE!) 

Remember NO PROOFREADING. Sorry if it drives you crazy! LOL!

Well-Adjusted Heart 
Well-Tuned Strength

Sunday, July 01, 2012

52 in 52 Week 27: The Ascent of George Washington by John Ferling

Just in time for Independence Day!

This is about the myth versus the man. Excellent. I like this review of the book by The Washington Post. 

This book is long. It was 438 pages in print, and it was over 17 hours of audiobook listening, but it is so well researched and written that I heartily recommend it. The narrator was also great on the audiobook. I listened to it leading up to our time on the East Coast visiting Valley Forge and Mount Vernon. I always try to read a book about American history around 4th of July. I have read biographies on Ben Franklin, John Adams, and 1776. It was Washington's turn, having been a character in all three of those books. 

Well worth the investment of time. I read a review on library thing that said "One of the rare accounts in which a political idol is not diminished by the revelation of his human imperfections. If anything, his ability comes out enhanced. Singular & thought-provoking" (Niels Peter, Library Thing). I agree.

Here is a really great, short summation of the book by the author:

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...