Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Presidential Race 2008

So it's between Elmer Gantry and Joseph Smith and Walter Matthau on the Republican side, and Cruella DeVille and a male Shirley MacLaine on the Democratic side...

So there you have it, good citizens!

The race in a nutshell, lol.

A good friend asked for my thoughts on the race so far, and I was in a succinct, humorous mode, lol. You can send me a donation later for summing it up so nicely and saving everyone weeks/months of frustration or angst! Enjoy!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Twilight over the Kissimmee River

Here's a typical view of a winter twilight in south-central Florida -- this shot looks out over the Kissimmee River basin into the western sky... enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Book meme: Thus spoke Loy-athusthra

Well, Sir Jason tagged me and the game must go on, so here you go, loyal readers!

1. One book that changed your life:

I have to go with Chronicles of Narnia, starting with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe… it was early on when I read these, maybe third grade, and it was the first that my imagination was captured in a Christian sense, in literature. My imagination was baptized in light of faith, learning and entering beautiful layers of relation to Christ.

Later, That Hideous Strength and Brothers Karamazov were very moving to me. More recently, George MacDonald’s sermon “Abba, Father!” from Romans 8:15 is the most powerful thing I’ve read in a long time.

Also honorable mention: Megashift: The Best News Since Year One, by James Rutz. Also, I’ve recommended Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, to different men of value in my life. A Vietnam vet [whom I’d never met] walked across a gym and asked me a question: Do you read? He then introduced himself and handed me a paperback copy, telling me that the book rescued him again: he’d been rescued by a Navy corpsman in ‘Nam, and he said the closest he came to that feeling of rescue was reading this book. Obviously, he had my attention: so I read it and it is very salient, guy stuff. Also, The Life of Antony, by Athanasius... despite academic questions regarding the text and authorship, it is a challenging read, raising potentialities and necessities of prayer.

2. One book you’ve read more than once:

Many. Mentionable: That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis; also, Chronicles of Narnia [see: above]; Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien; George MacDonald’s sermons and selected texts, Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoevsky; Provocations, by Kierkegaard [and other texts]…

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:

Robinson Crusoe had the Good Book, and it was enough for him! And, as one great thinker commented, “If it’s good enough for Robinson Crusoe, it’s good enough for me!” Or, maybe I misheard that quote, lol. But the point still stands. :-)

4. Two books that made you laugh:

Henryk Sienkiewicz’s With Fire and Sword – Sienkiewicz captures human irony so well, the loyal and comic in the human condition: the inimitable character of Pan Zagloba, the unruly, boisterous [verbosely so!] knight, my, my! lol… suffice to say I heartily laughed and smiled so often, in the story, lol.

Also, two little books by Tolkien: Farmer Giles of Ham, a short story which documents the mythical encounters between intrepid Farmer Giles and the wily dragon Chrysophlax – ribald storytelling which skewers several sacred cows along the way, lol. Also, Smith of Wooten Major, which skewers one huge, sacred post-Enlightenment cow, at least.

5. Two books that made you cry:

Henryk Sienkiewicz’s With Fire and Sword, once again – not only does he capture the human irony very well, he also presents eucatastrophe in all its power: he understands hope unveiled in human destiny, loyal kingship. His vision of Prince Yeremi Vishnyevetski riding his horse on the doomed city walls, singing a song in the face of impossible odds… facing certain death from a million Islamic besiegers, he yet rides upon the city walls in supernatural and kingly grace, and sings! His song rises and wings over the besieging fires… and his starving men weep and shout for joy, that they can die with such a man. And the Sultan hears the sound, and fears… It’s a thematic twin to Tolkien’s vision in Return of the King, where Eomer laughs in the face of despair on the hopeless fields of Gonder:

Stern now was Eomer’s mood, and his mind was clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot until all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man be left in the West to remember the King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

These staves he spoke, yet he laughed as he said them. For once more lust of battle was upon him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people. And lo! even as he laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them.

And then wonder took him, and great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned toward the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought with gems by Arwen, daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold. The king!

This is eucatastrophe [a word coined by Tolkien] – the turn from hopelessness to victory, laughing the face of despair and finding it crumble before faith: The turn, the kinglike turn from despair to impossible victory, casting all one’s lot on destiny and finding it true, against all odds. Yes, With Fire and Sword and The Return of the King both moved me to tears!

6. One book you wish had been written:

Plato: Definitive Dialogues: Women for Dummies!

7. One book you wish had never been written:

Anything by J. Dominic Crossan or Bishop Spong or Elaine Pagels.

8. One book you’re currently reading:

George MacDonald, Discovering the Character of God, edited and compiled by Michael R. Phillips.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:

I’m a book-a-phile: if I mean to read it, I read it! :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lemony Pickit -- A series of unfortunate events!

Easter egg model picks the wrong moment!

Sometimes you just have to smile... a recent Thornham Walks Easter add was jettisoned because the picture accidentally featured a girl picking her nose. Here's the account:

A council's attempt to promote a tourist attraction has been undermined by an unfortunate picture, say critics.

A leaflet extolling the elysian beauties of Thornham Walks - a 12-mile footpath network in Suffolk - has a picture of a young girl picking her nose.

Andrew Stringer, a Green councillor, says that "it does not represent our youth in the best light" and wants the "amateurish" pamphlet to be withdrawn.

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokesman admitted: "It's not the best photograph," but added: "They wanted a real picture, not a typical staged one. It's a real picture and shows children in their Easter outfits."

Here we have a series of unfortunate events:

  • The girl just happens to pick at the exact moment of the pic
  • The advertisers just happened to pick that exact pic for their feature
  • The picked pic just happened to make it past the editors
  • Now, the picked pic just happens to be re-picked for non-publication.

O what a series of unfortunate events! Lemony Pickit!

Evidently some people can't appreciate a girl just looking for a special Easter egg! :-)

This post is in honor of those who can appreciate such humor, lol. Beauty in the simple things, I say!

grin. Smile!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

A fishing light at twilight

It was almost dark when I took this picture, but the water area was lit by gas-generated fishing lights... several fishermen went together and lit this little backwater of the Kissimmee River [must be really good fishing! :-)], so I took advantage of the background light over the water and snapped a shot -- the contrast in dusk, darkness, clouds and local light was very neat. Notice the darkness of the palm bush in the foreground -- that's as dark as it was without the fishing lights!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light!

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

Words, verse 1: Johann Rist, 1641; trans. John Troutbeck, ca. 1885;

words: vv. 2 & 3 by Fred Pratt Green
Tune: Ermuntre dich

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel's warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.

This night of wonder, night of joy,
was born the Christ, our brother;
he comes, not mighty to destroy,
to bid us love each other.
How could he quit his kingly state
for such a world of greed and hate?
What deep humiliation
secured the world's salvation!

Come, dearest child, into our hearts,
and leave your crib behind you!
Let this be where the new life starts
for all who seek and find you.
To you the honor, thanks, and praise,
for all your gifts this time of grace;
come, conquer and deliver
this world, and us, forever.


A righteousness of God in humans

Neither doing nor knowing but Being

What is the righteousness which is of God by faith?

It is simply the thing that God wants every man to be, wrought out in him by constant obedient contact with God himself. It is not an attribute either of God or man, but a fact of character in God and in man. It is God’s righteousness wrought out in us, so that as He is righteous, we too are righteous.

It does not consist in obeying this or that law, not even the keeping of every law, so that no hairsbreadth did we run counter to one of them. To be righteous is to be such a heart, soul, mind, and will, as would recoil with horror from the lightest possible breach of any law of God. It is to be so in love with what is fair and right as to make it impossible for a person to do anything that is less than absolutely righteous. It is not the love of righteousness in the abstract that makes anyone righteous, but such a love of fair play toward everyone with whom we come in contact, that anything less than fulfilling, with a clear joy, our divine relation to him or her, is impossible.

More powerful than all powers is being. To be is more powerful than even to do. Action may be hypocrisy, but being is the thing in itself and is the parent of action.

If by neglect of its wings an eagle should sink to become a sparrow, it would then recognize only the laws of sparrow life. For the sparrows of humanity do not generally believe in a consuming fire and an outer darkness, where all that will be left is an ever renewed “alas!” The “alas” is that they neglected their wings, neglected to try to see beyond their own horizons, neglected to do the words of Him who alone is life.

It is truth and not serenity that a man’s nature requires of him. It is help, not the leaving of cards at doors, that will be recognized as the test. It is love, and no amount of flattery, that will prosper. Differences as wide as that between a gentleman and a cad will contract to a hairsbreadth in that day. The customs of the trade and the picking of pockets will go together, with the greater excuse for the greater need and less knowledge. Liars the most gentlemanly and the most rowdy will go as liars just the same.

The first shall be last and the last first.


George MacDonald, Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael R. Phillips, 175-176.