Saturday, September 27, 2014

An Organic Family Farm Near You, North Texans

A family at Will's school, Coram Deo Academy in Collin County, recently opened an organic farm. They supply locals with organic produce and honey -- including the "Harvest" farm-to-table restaurant in McKinney. This is truly a sweet family who has found a way to work hard doing what they love together.

Check out the link and have a visit some time! It's right in Celina -- so not far away from north Dallas towns. You can also see their facebook page -- with some really gorgeous photos.

Monday, September 22, 2014

HGTVs Elbow Room, Tuesday 11:30 EST,10:30 Central

...features my sister-in-law and brother's house -- Adam and Leigh Anne Redd's in Atlanta. Host Chip Wade and his team did an innovative renovation.

One Critique of "Courtship:" Or, Why DO We Have to Go Steady?

Mid-century (as in non-"courtship") American dating practices can remove heavy pressure and unwholesome emotional intensity in dating, and promote young people gaining wisdom and knowledge about the kind of person they should marry. This guys asks -- what about the good, old-fashioned casual date of a movie and ice cream? (Remember Elisabeth and Jim Elliot and their "coke dates"?)

After Sunday: With Gladness and Singleness of Heart

"Eternal God, heavenly Father,

You have graciously accepted us as living members

of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ,

and you have fed us with spiritual food

in the sacrament of his body and blood.

Send us now into the world in peace,

and grant us strength and courage

to love and serve you

with gladness and singleness of heart;

through Christ our Lord.


(Book of Common Prayer, Holy Eucharist II p 365)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Something Good Happened in Russia

A report from the Russian Orthodox Church on an international gathering of government officials, clergy, and others: "International Forum on the Large Family and the Future of Humanity" 

'Addressing the forum, Patriarch Kirill said in particular, “The large family is a phenomenon that influences very many because the large family is an example of how people build a very solid community by dedicating their life to others. The large and healthy family is a factor defining the moral health of the whole society. That is my profound conviction and for this reason I support all the events and the program which you have carried out in cooperation with like-minded people from many countries of the world”.
In his speech, Metropolitan Hilarion stated a demographic crisis in Russia and Europe caused among other things by the crisis of the family, “especially the crisis of the large family. The life of a large family in today’s Russia is an everyday hard work and feat; it is a life against all the patterns of a society of comfort”. Among the acute problems impeding the preservation of moral family climate in Russia is an enormous number of abortions. Metropolitan Hilarion called for solidarity of all religious confessions and all people of good will in the efforts “to safeguard the family against challenges of the secular world thus protecting our future."'

Family Worship Part II: The Time and Manner of Family Worship

To follow up from the first article, The Heart of Family Worship, here is the second and last installment on the topic of family worship by Scott Redd.

The Time and Manner of Family Worship

How High Is the Divorce Rate among Practicing Religious People?

Bears repeating, in case you missed it -- a correction to a common misconception.

Gospel Coalition fact checker on Divorce

Divorce stat article by same author at "Church Leaders" site

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beware What You Revere

One analysis of various cultures that foster rape, Rape and Rotherham, and the misplaced reverence within those cultures..

Cycling and the Brain

David pointed out to me this interesting article on the intersection of cycling, behavior, and brain function

Brain Function and Cycling

If I were a man I'd want his name

The newly discovered viking ring fortress of Sweyn Forkbeard.

A Bad Month

Thoughts on the month of August and the hope that does not disappoint.

What This Summer Taught Us by Scott Redd

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pleading the Case for the Mundane

A letter to a gifted prep school friend

Dear Friend,

You are caught up in a hundred little deaths of your soul these days. You are forced to sit through classes which are beneath you.

You know more about these books, these histories; you understand them better than your peers. You are better read than some of your teachers. This is really true, at least in an academic sense.

In other classes you are made to study material you know you will never use. Odds are good you won't need that quadratic formula in graduate school or in cooking your dinner.

And this is an indignity. You, O Suburban Minion, must abide the endless chores of polite conversation, lunchroom shufflings, leading questions, obvious observations, endless chores, polite conversation....

You have better taste.

Every day you are forced to eat food lacking in subtlety, speak to people lacking in insight and nuance, and grind through homework assignments lacking in imagination and spark, taught by adults who punch the card when you include "setting," "characters," and an ample amount of ham-handed adverbial verbiage. Similes that sit like a knuckle sandwich in your mouth.

What's the use? Where are Sartre and Camus and Kerouc and Woolf in all of this mundane flotsam and jetsam? Where is the Green Knight?

Where is Keats in this tedious homework assignment to analyze Fanny Brawne -- 'til the Bright Star herself becomes thick-limbed, ugly, and graceless with dead eyes? Nothing like the sun.

Oh to be one of those noted intellectuals! Those brilliant sparks, caught up in thought and conversation, and not hampered by The Daily Bourgeois of suburban high school and carpool line and vacuuming the stairs.

Oh to feed that bright fire of the mind, all day, with people who understand and appreciate the heat!

Yet, you are well-read. What about those characters you know so well?

What about Saruman in his tall tower hanging in the thin air far above the plains and the little men and the beasts.

What about Uncle Andrew and Queen Jadis, and their "high and lonely destiny"?

What about that invisible man, and his lone scientific pursuit of autonomy, fed by a withered heart lacking in human connection?

What if Dr. Frankenstein was a monster and the Monster had a soul?

What about Virginia's Lighthouse? Did it help her see the rocks?

And you have read The Intellectual Greats. What if:

What if many of those ivory tower intellectuals were tiresome bores in the pub or the parlor?

What if it would be insufferable to share just one drink with them? What if they were the ones everyone avoided at the cocktail party or on the street?

What if they were people that made other people look at the clock to mutter about appointments and traffic and "needing to go, so nice to touch base with you...."

What if -- in their rejection of humility, humanity, and the simplicity of duty -- they lost touch with glory, divinity, and the deeply complex?

What if, in their single-minded pursuit of truth and beauty in isolation -- in the rarefied company of themselves and their toadying salons -- they lost both. (Truth and beauty, that is.)

What if we all felt sorry for their wives and children and dogs and next door neighbors?

And more.

What if Mother Teresa was a genius and Sartre was a fool (himself telling tales full of sound and fury, signifying nothing)?

What if Einstein practiced piano scales daily as a kid?

What if the capitalist down the street is a philanthropist, the humanist down the street is a misanthropist, the scholar is a bigot, and the small town sheriff is a sage?

What if theology is the queen of the sciences?

It's complicated, isn't it?


What if we maintain our connection to the divine, in part, by maintaining our relationship with the human?

What if we love God in part by loving others and performing daily duties?

What if even the Word Himself became flesh. And dwelt among us.

And what if to love and know and learn, we have to go where the unwashed they are, and live where the un-nuanced they live, and eat their casseroles, boiled vegetables, and drink their iced tea, and do their homework assignments?

And in meeting with daily life and daily people, what if we find not just truth and beauty, but also ourselves right there?

What if we find that we, in fact, are just another one of them: merely a co-regent of all creation. (Nothing big.)

My friend, what if we find our best selves in the mundane performance of daily duties that bring order and abundance, done with love, joy, and humility?

Here is your next homework assignment for "Life 101"

* Read the Gospel of John to yourself aloud and slowly
* Read "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Andrew
* Read "Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson
* Discuss with your fellow co-regents. (Ie, your middle class parents, teachers, and friends. You might be surprised at how much they know.)

An old friend who once hated homework, wore black turtlenecks, and choked on both gnats and Camels