Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his sojourn in Northern Ireland'

A new Lewis museum; and the
beginning of wisdom is listening

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1277 | April 10 2013

The strong tower of the wicked comes to ruin, but the root of the righteous stands firm. An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. From the fruit of his words a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man's hand comes back to him. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent man ignores an insult.

— from Proverbs 12,
from today's lenten Orthodox
lectionary readings

Diary: On Friday morning Jack Lamb drove me to see a new display (since my previous visit to Belfast) in honor of C.S. Lewis. It is in a room in the Belmont Tower, a former primary school (which has a design similar to many churches) which now has an excellent cafe on its second floor. It reminded me of the excellent cafe the Historical Society in my hometown, Nanty Glo, Pa., has been operating for the past year. And Jack has turned me into a cappucino drinker. I was never sure what that high-falutin word meant when I was spending my mornings in Starbucks in San Jose, so always drank just regular coffee, fearing that anything more fancy would be too full of sugar. But cappucino is a very creamy coffee that is concocted such that the cream stays with the coffee all the way to the bottom of the cup. Belmont Tower serves an excellent cappucino.

On display at the Belmont Tower C.S. Lewis room, a photo of his grandparents' house which was near this location.

On Monday evening, for the third consecutive Monday, we went to a movie in the Queens University district of Belfast. This is as many as all the movies I had seen in theaters in the past decade (though I have watched my share on television). When I gave up movie reviewing some time in the mid-1990s, I pretty much lost my interest in that literary art. I thought it was probably because it meant I would now have to pay for my tickets after having had the reviewer's privilege of free movies for most of my life, but in retrospect I think it was even more that I had no one to share movie watching with. We've been going on Monday nights because it is bargain night at the Queens Film Theater, with movies only three pounds.

The first movie, Beyond the Hills, is a Romanian film about an exorcism in an Orthodox monastery in which a young woman with a very worldly past and lifestyle suffers a breakdown and the doctors tell the priest in charge of the monastery that she would be better off being cared for by the nuns and her close friend, a novitiate nun, than stay in the hospital. But when the prayers seem to have no effect, the priest and nuns decide that perhaps an exorcism will be more effective. But at the end of the exorcism the "patient" dies of unknown causes, leading the police to suspect that fowl play led to the woman's death, or manslaughter. The movie has deep implications about the fall of Communism and its ruinous destruction of Romanian society and culture, and Christianity which is trying to find its way again now that it has been freed to organize openly and play a significant role in the county's life, and the secularism that demands first place and the primary authority in all modern societies.

The second movie, Good Vibrations, is about the nascent punk rock and new wave music era in Belfast, led by real-life record store owner Terri Hooley, a youth-culture wave that crested just before the beginning of the worst period of "troubles" to erupt here, in the 1980s, bringing the good vibrations to an end for that generation.

Finally, this week we saw The Late Quartet, a story about a world renowned string quartet (three violins and a bass) based in New York, which is rocked by news that its oldest member (played by Christopher Walken) has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. The stress this news causes for all members of the quartet leads them to assess their views about life, death, and the meaning of it all. The movie's introduction alludes to T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, which was considered that Christian poet's masterpiece and points to the Christian way to sanctification, which is also the likely subtheme throughout this film. The film's trailer (or the "preview," as they say in the States), follows, embedded from YouTube.

Today's Scripture, again, contrasts the folly of imprudent talk and the wisdom of finding, keeping, and humbly contemplating, our peace.

§     §     §

If you missed my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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Old age is when . . . everybody whispers.


If we believe that liberty comes through a political worldview, if we believe that our shelter and food is given us by the state or an economic system, if we believe that equality is achieved through political design, then we become idolaters. We replace God with manmade things.

— Peter Freeman

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