ENTRY 1574 | TUESDAY,
be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through
us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being
saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance
from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so
many, peddlers of God's word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned
by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Are we beginning
to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters
of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read
by all men; and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered
by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living
God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
second letter to the Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:1-3,
from today's Orthodox lectionary
See the homiletical thought below. «
diary - life in Northern Ireland
been reading about shamrocks since at least my Big Bend School years
(ages 11-13) as I
was always looking for tangible links to St. Patrick and Ireland.
Most pictures purporting to depict shamrocks show a plant that looks
like the one at right, which has three heart-shaped leaves (search
"shamrock" on Google
images if you need proof). I'm sure one of the encyclopedias I
consulted years ago flatly said that the shamrock is oxalis acetosella
or wood sorrel, which is what the photo at right depicts. But now
(or as many here say, "noeye"), the Wikipedia entry for
shamrocks, though it still uses a photo of the plant above as its
main depiction, gives as its first answer, "clover," and
even reports that over half of all Irish call clovers shamrocks, even
though clovers have oval-shaped, not heart-shaped, leaves.
But I have
an explanation for that: most Irish have probably never seen a "real"
shamrock, because, as I said in this Google+
entry, real shamrocks are relatively rare here. But they do exist
and a real connoisseur (your's truly) knows where to find them. I
found these at the top of Knockmany Hill a week ago. It seems that
wood sorrel, true to its name, grows only in the woods. In Pennsylvania,
we had them profusely in the woods, but also had a nearly identical
plant, which our family called (for some reason I never heard) "bird
seed." It had the same leaf shape, but unlike the wood sorrel
they grew out in the sun, usually next to a building, and they were
a much brighter shade of green, almost chartreuse. They also did not
seem to grow as large as shamrocks (er, wood sorrel) gets. They were
edible, with a sour but, to my taste, pleasant flavor. The wood sorrel
has a similar taste, but not as light. Interestingly, the Wikipedia
report on shamrocks says that Irish, at least centuries ago, would
eat wood sorrel; maybe that's why it's so rare now. I'm joking in
the last point, of course; they're rare now because woods are rare.
And I believe I read years ago, also, that oxalis acetosella
is the source for the active ingredient in aspirin, which could be
another reason people of ancient times found themselves eating it;
it may have been a pain reliever.
weather continues to be more like April than August, unseasonably
cool and cloudy, but with no appreciable precip.
today's Christian worldview segment for more "diary" info;
it's a rare instance that straddles both the "journal" and
the worldview discussion, but I decided it's mostly the latter. «
to news, features, and opinion pieces. See caveats,
must-read item: a movie about a heroic high school coach
conference leader: 'we are no longer at home in the culture and church'
review: 'we are relational souls in the image of a relational God'
warns: Internet-controlled homes could become 'houses of horror'
miracle: blind man regains his sight at Orthodox shrine
Silouan the Athonite said keeping your mind in hell cures depression
in interview: 'God will give me two or three more years'
Colorado newborns are being exposed to pot in the womb
is not loving to affirm persons in their sin; relativism and Orthodoxy
blogger discusses validity, importance of 'near-death' stories
Second Amendment at work: robber seeking easy mark becomes one
reporter describes 'three flavors' of Orthodoxy in his state «
worldview - Shadowlands
(This department alternates with Writing
night, Jack Lamb invited me to a showing of his DVD of the Richard
Attenborough 1993 theatrical film of Shadowlands at the home
of a couple in his church, the dramatization of the story of the friendship
between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham that eventually led to
their civil marriage and, finally, a church marriage and a great love
elsewhere that seeing Shadowlands shortly after its release
in theaters had led to the biggest change ever in my adult life. After
seeing it, during the next four months I devoured all the C.S. Lewis
books in my personal library (none of which I had read all the way
through before that time), along with around 50 other books by and
much Lewis and realizing that he believed in "free will"
in a way Calvinistsas I had been throughout my ministry years,
never doset me up to consider changing churches. I had become
convinced that his theology is more consistent with the New Testament
as it was interpreted by the early church, than Calvin's approach
is. About six months after seeing Shadowlands and embarking
on my "Lewis plunge," when I returned from my first trip
to England and Ireland that spring, a letter was waiting for me from
a former evangelical convert to Orthodox Christianity, challenging
me to look into Orthodoxy. Doing so, and realizing that this was much
closer to Lewis's spiritual home (traditional Anglicanism) than my
Presbyterianism was, by the end of that year I was chrismated (confirmed)
into the Orthodox Church.
All of which
is a prelude to saying that seeing the movie a second time last night,
though it stands up as a very good story of a mature love relationship,
hardly depicts the C.S. Lewis I have subsequently come to know through
my reading and writing.
Jack Lamb and I both spotted many more discrepancies between the film
and the real history of Jack and Joy in this second viewing than we'd
been aware of before, but the main thing to me is that the Jack Lewis
it shows giving frequent talks to large assemblies of middle-aged
women, and whose preoccupation was suffering and pain and a superficial
theology derived from his own ideas, is not a faithful rendering of
the real C.S. Lewis, in my opinion. Over the years he gave a few talks
to women's groups, for one minor thing, but he was not in any kind
of habit of doing so. And though his book, The Problem of Pain,
is the probable source of the spurious theology presented in Shadowlands,
it was "ancient history" in his life before he met Joy.
And more importantly, there is nothing in it that he ever refuted
in later writings, as Shadowlands' treatment of his career
I still recommend
the movie for anyone who does not know Lewis. Seeing this was not
the first time I saw a movie that got me into a strong reading regimen,
and the fact that my first viewing of this had that effect on me is
reason enough to recommend it. But know that if you like "this"
C.S. Lewis, if you'll follow my example and go on to get to know the
"real" one, you'll find him a man of much more substance,
credibility, and integrity than Attenborough's pastiche.
And if you
do that, your worldview is likely to be enhanced far more than anything
else I'd be able to say in this space. «