July 2008 Archives

The Wicked ONe

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The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept. He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber. So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour, Thou who dost will that all men be saved.

Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer.

Bear Country

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Bear Country.JPGGood thing we don't have Grizzlies in Colorado.

Campaign Advice

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Roger Kimball offers some tips on campaign efficiency to Republican candidates this election year:

It's as simple as it is efficient: Ignore The New York Times. More and more of your constituents are doing so, why shouldn't you? Join the many happy folks who have Kicked the Times: Don't read it, don't refer to it, don't regard it as an authority on anything. You'll feel cleaner and your blood pressure will thank you. Above all, do not write, and do not allow your staff to write, op-eds for the Times. On the off chance that the paper actually publishes your piece, you will only help to bolster its sense of smug self-righteousness and perpetuate the illusion that the paper treats the candidates, or the issues, even-handedly. They don't, and you shouldn't collude in fostering the destructive myth that they do.

One of the things we are losing in this society is concern for the truth expressed in open, respectful debate. It seems the preferred option of those on the Left is simply to shut out debate altogether, to deny that there is even the possibility that their opionions could be subject to debate. It's as arrogant as it is dangerous.

My Little Notebook

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I have a small notebook. It's a Moleskine reporter type notebook that measures 3.5" x 5.5", has a stiff black cover and a neat elastic strap that I can use to either keep it closed or mark a page for easy reference. It also has a little built-in pocket in the back for storing stray notes on scraps of paper. I've used it regularly over the last two years to write down brief descriptions of things seen, or important quotes either from the Bible or from books read, but mostly, just to keep lists of things to do, phone numbers to remember and other mundane information.

I pulled out this notebook a couple of day ago and noticed I was close to filling it up. For no reason, I began looking at all I had written in there and it dawned on me that, despite the rather trivial nature of most of my jottings, the notebook had become a rather good record of my life over the last 24 months. It had become one of the best journals I have ever kept. My first entries tell the story of our last big vacation, to Hawaii, and it has a brief packing list along computations I made for a contest on the plane to calculate the time we would reach the midway point of the flight over the Pacific. It has a brief description of some Army officers I saw at the airport. I suspect they had just returned from Iraq. It notes on things to remember for a new job, common phrases in German to use while on a business trip over there along with a couple of addresses for people I needed to contact. It's a remarkable record.

It got me thinking about St. Benedict and his emphasis in the Rule on the importance of working out our salvation within the boundaries of our daily existence. I wasn't sure I completely understood what he meant but I now have graphic evidence of it; my journal shows a pattern of the mixture of daily routine and (all too rare) sudden insight gained from the Word or other reading. My daily routine is down there.

I asked myself if I see a pattern, in all these mundane details, of the working out of my salvation. I'm not sure I can say one way or the other. There are no great revelations, nor any jottings of great times of prayer or contemplation, just daily concerns and duties. There are, I'm sure, many details I've left out - the work of a neighbor who built a beautiful new deck on a difficult piece of land, or a note on the sighting of the first fawns of the year, and many others. But it occurred to me that the mundane details are the only material I have available to me for use in working out the issue of salvation. Our lives are made up of these details, and the trick is to pay enough attention to them to see the finger of God, not on a reflective basis, but, preferably, in real time. So maybe it's best to say, my journal is a record of missed opportunities.

I think its Benedict's genius that he recognized this and built a life full of mundane detail into the substance of his Rule, with the injunction in the first word of the Rule to "Listen!", pay attention, see God's hand all around us.

A Quote from Peguy

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"He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers´┐Ż”

Abba Apollo

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images.jpgThere was in the Cells an Abba called Apollo. If someone came to find him about doing a piece of work, he would set out joyfully, saying, I am going to work with Christ today, for the salvation of my soul, for that is the reward he gives. Apollo

Blog Appearance

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I suppose I should make a brief comment about the new look at The 7 Habitus. St Blogs.org has implemented a new version of Movable Type -- MT4 and, as a result, all the blogs in this group were left with generic designs. I'm trying to learn a bit about the new format so as to regain some of the lost graphics, links, etc, but without much success as yet. To be honest, I'm getting used to the new look and may retain much of it.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tiger Stadium

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Demolition has begun on old Tiger (formerly Briggs) Stadium in my hometown, Detroit. I remember attending many games there when I was growing up, including Detroit Lions football games in the fall. I saw Mantle and Maris play, Whitey Ford pitch along with the stars of one of the Tiger's best seasons, 1961. That would be Stormin' Norman Cash, Al Kaline and the rest. If there is baseball tradition in Detroit, it lives in Tiger Stadium. It was a beautiful old park and its a shame to see it go.

Another suprising thing to me is that, looking at the web sites of the major Detroit papers, there seems to be relatively little interest in the loss of the old place; the demolition is not receiving major coverage. One aspect that is receiving coverage is the apparently failing attempt by a private group to save part of the stadium from destruction. The papers seem to almost be gloating over the failure to raise sufficient funds to prevent total demolition.

Part of me wonders, why should anyone do this? The ballpark is hardly in a good part of town, but even if that were not the case, what use could now be made of it? But, I also wonder if the papers' lack of enthusiasm for saving Tiger Stadium is an indication of the current day disdain for anything that smacks of tradition: out with the old, in with the new, whether or not the new is an improvment. This current disdain is most graphically displayed in the unfathomable rush by a major political party in this country to nominate a man for President who has no discernable qualifications for the job, other than an expressed desire for "change."

For me, I'll take tradition anytime.

Anglican Angst

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Anglican Angst

The remaining Anglican (Episcopalian, for us Americans) bishops are holding the Lambeth Conference this year. As you are probably aware, there has been a serious split within the Anglican communion over such questions as the ordination of women, gays, and whatever. Liberal bishops have taken over the denomination over the last 10 years or so. As Jordan Hylden writes on the First Things blog, the difficulty lies, essentially, with these liberals' firm dedication to the idea of licentiousness:

Unfortunately, there are several factors in play that will make the Lambeth bishops' task very difficult. Most fundamentally, the bishops will have to confront a theology, held by many of their own members, which places little value on doctrinal unity and scriptural authority and instead exalts near-unbounded freedom and diversity in matters of faith and ethics. Liberal Anglican modernists, many of them from North America, believe that doctrinal latitude is central to what it means to be Anglican. They argue that the 2003 consecration to the episcopate of Gene Robinson, an actively gay man, was fully in keeping with Anglican tradition, even though the 1998 Lambeth conference had held homosexual practice to be incompatible with scriptural norms. Several American and Canadian bishops continue to publicly bless same-sex unions, in defiance of the repeated requests of the international organs of Anglicanism and the canons of their own churches.

It seems an impossible task to bring full, Christian communion back to the Anglican church, and this is both sad and trying for those who remain members. As Mr. Hylden writes,

Two weeks ago, many conservative Anglicans met at GAFCON to produce their own statement of doctrinal foundations and to begin their own way forward. It is not difficult to see why many faithful Anglicans felt that such a move was needed. But it should be no less difficult to see why the GAFCON path will only lead to further schism. In essence, if it is followed as an alternative to the existing structures of Anglicanism, it amounts to the creation of a new evangelical church in the Anglican tradition. Many orthodox Anglicans will not in good conscience be able to join them, and where there is one split, more are sure to follow.

The prayers of all Christians over this matter are much needed.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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