Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Does C.S. Lewis float your boat? ...

I'm a big C.S. Lewis fan and if you've not read the Oxford don who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, the Screwtape Letters, the Great Divorce, and many others, who was a friend and great encouragement to J.R.R. Tolkien whose Lord of the Rings started a genre.well then you've missed out on a wonderful treat and need to start doing some homework.

The New York C.S. Lewis Society is having a weekend symposium All Things Considered from August 7th to August 9th 2009 at The Immaculate Conception Conference Center, Douglaston, Queens, NY. Check it out at their WEB SITE

Monday, June 22, 2009

Using and Losing: Phoney Marriage in America

Too bad really. It looks like all sorts of excuses for failing to rise to the challenge of family have torpedoed Jon and Kate. I think they both are being selfish and kids will pay the price. They both look like they are not focusing on what would help but only themselves and their own hurts. That is not sacrificial love. It isn't love at all. "Love is a Decision" was another of those Marriage Encounter mantras. It's a decision when you rise above your own hurt feelings and your own personal sense of outrage and decide to reach out and be healing in the presence of your own hurts... "I have to do what's best for me and for my kids" said Jon. They're both using the kids as an excuse not to reach out to each other. Sad, predictable and not at all heroic, and not love. Too bad. Now for a season of hypocrisy pictured as heroic endurance. Save me from such television and such a culture.

God Doesn't Make Junk

Jessica and I went on a Marriage Encounter long ago. At that weekend marriage enrichment experience one of the sloganized summaries was "God doesn't make junk." It was really focused on improving self-image. We live in a society that turns everything into a commodity to be bought and sold, including self-worth and human goodness. This video which my sister had put up on her blog is inspiring for its simple directness. We value the wrong things in this world and that is the problem. What people think of as success is an illusion.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thought for the Day

Psalm 37:7-8 (New International Version)

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happiness Isn't About "Me"

"Playing, Working, Loving ... Happiness is Life." Worth a look and some thought, especially the next time that you see the bumper sticker, "The one who dies with the most toys wins!"

Happiness is being who you were meant to be, and loving all the way.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quality ... the name of the game

I was at a Japanese Steak House yesterday. I love good Teppanyaki. That's what they call the style of cooking and serving with the chef cooking your meal on a grill along with various performance elements like the smiley face in oil that is set on fire, or the flaming onion volcano. It is all great fun. It creates a convivial, highly social, and entertaining dining experience. In short: Quality.

Christopher Alexander discusses in his inspiring work "A Pattern Language" the idea of QWAN (the Quality Without a Name). This can be thought of, to some degree, as the Greek idea of arete which means excellence. But QWAN means more, at least to me, since it embraces the whole person and the idea of rightness and comfort zone and tranquility. When something has QWAN you know it because it is really and totally there and you're at peace with it all.

In conversation I do a schtick about the cocktail party that is going on at the gates of heaven. It's a reception where the new souls are welcomed and it is a very joyful party. You can only serve the best of the best at that party and I ask people what is being served? Whatever it is, it possesses for them QWAN.

I have a couple of candidates: 1) Horton's Raspberry Wine (don't worry, you don't have to agree. You may have your own choices.), and 2) Takara Plum Wine.

In whatever you do, you should seek always to achieve the QWAN.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Classics ... Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Today's Delancey Place points to a video/audio clip of Sister Rosetta Tharpe playing "Up Above My Head."
"Sister Rosetta Tharpe, viewed by some as the first rock and roll guitarist. Tharpe first gained widespread attention performing in Barney Josephson's Café Society, a New York City nightclub, in the late 1930s and early 1940s."

excerpt from
Barney Josephson with Terry Trilling-Josephson, Café Society, University of Illinois Press, Copyright 2009 by Terry Trilling-Josephson, pp. 113-114.

Check out Delancey Place for interesting daily excerpts from emerging books and other tidbits.

Monday, June 1, 2009

BASE Jumping ... Proof there are crazy people

The English translation of St. Jerome's translation of the bible called the Vulgate has an interesting rendering of Ecclesiastes 1:15 that finishes "... the number of fools is infinite." Since that is so, there are plenty of idiots available to occupy the various activities that require them like base jumping.

Susan Boyle's Finale Performance