Friday, December 25, 2015

Strengthen the weak hands...

...and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
'Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.'

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water

-- Isaiah 35: 3-7a

A voice cries:
'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up.
and every mountain and hill made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'

--Isaiah 40: 3-5

So they said to him, 'Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' He said, 'I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord," as the prophet Isaiah said.'

-- John 1:22,23

"As dry leaves which before the wild hurricane fly...

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky..."

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Nuances of Truth-telling

Teetering between Cyncism/Irony and Hyper-Sentimentality....

This author touches on a couple of topics -- some gems here for the social media age:

-- "To live ironically is to hide in public."

-- How we manufacture sentiment and nostalgia.

Both are deceptions.

[Less we react so much against irony that we blather our every heartfelt feeling, dark secret, and deepest motive, let us affirm this is not a call to publicly navel gaze or broadcast every feeling on social media. It is a call to authenticity instead of irony. A call to real-ness over cool-ness.]

How We Instagrammed Away Our Feelings

Friday, December 11, 2015

Prayers for the People (40, 41)

40. For Knowledge of God's Creation

Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with
all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and
the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we
probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know
you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your
eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

41. For the [Care] of Natural Resources

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth,
you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom
and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one
may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet
to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Adapted from the Online Book of Common Prayer --

"No one had ever lived with so many choices before."

This is an article about the modern, middle-class, western woman (not the poor woman or the rich woman or the 3rd world woman) and the radical transformation of life for her in the 20th century. 

One might call it "Decter's Last Stand."

"A quiet look around would have told her and anybody else who actually cared about her that her life had undergone a revolutionary change. For one thing, she was being positively beset by new freedoms. Before marriage, she was now free to pursue an education of her choosing or not, to take a job or pursue a career, to engage in a kind of sample mating, and to marry or not when and as she saw fit. And though there of course remained social pressure on her to marry, if she did not, she was no longer consigned to playing the maiden aunt.
Once married, she was now free to continue her career or give it up, remain married or change her mind about her choice of husband, have a child or not, and at a time and place of her choosing. She could also now look forward to being vigorous and attractive well past what was once middle age, thanks to both birth control and the mechanization of housework—indeed, there was by now an ever higher statistical probability that she would end up a still-healthy widow. She had, in short, become the most transformingly advantaged beneficiary of modern technology, above all, modern medical technology.