I was just going through some stuff here, doing the whole sorting thing, and I found a few things of note, some of which I recall planning on make noise about here on the blog . . .
1. A piece of paper that travelled in my pocket at work, with notes on some books:
Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get a Life by Larry Winget. This book had a chapter that began with the author discussing how he used to go to a church wherein they confessed their manifold sins and wickedness. He stopped going, because he didn’t especially feel that his sins and wickedness were manifold–it’s not like he was a murderer, basically. Except manifold has to do with quantity, not quality. It is not that he is a manifold sinner, but that a man who has committed manifold sins–many. Even if you do at least one little thing wrong each day, that’s 365 sins per year. Sounds pretty manifold to me, Larry. The part of what I wrote down that I can’t decipher is “Merton”. I must have been reading The Inner Life at the time and felt that something in it was pertinent.
Why You’re Dumb, Sick & Broke by Randy Gage. My comment: Evil Book. Manifestly EVIL. —That comment came from perusing the back where Gage declares that all of us ought to be rich and it’s our own fault for not trying. He also says that people who claim that “serving God” is the highest ideal — or is its own reward? — are deluded. If Gage is a Christian, the words “health and wealth” come to mind . . .
2. A bulletin from St. Alban’s, March 18, 2007. Presumably I kept it for this quotation:
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.
That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it.
(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p 13)
3. A bulletin from St. George’s from the week before. This I kept so I could check back on the Psalm for the day. I am now going to go public with this opinion, which I have harboured for years: The people who make the Revised Common Lectionary are politically correct wimps. I said it. The Psalm was 63:1-8. The Book of Alternative Services renders the missing verses (9-11) as follows:
May those who seek my life to destroy it / go down into the depths of the earth;
Let them fall upon the edge of the sword, / and let them be food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God; / all those who swear by him will be glad, / for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (p. 784)
I say that if it’s good enough for the Holy Spirit, it’s good enough for me . . .
3. Two Far Side cartoons. Roger screws up, and one wherein a poor child receives a cockroach farm as a present…
4. A page from St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Ephesians from when I was preparing for a talk I gave to OCF on Ephesians 6 (this is the last thing I’m noting). I noted two passages from it (the second is shorter, for those with little time/short attention spans).
i. And though he may not need it himself, still he ought to be so prepared as to stop the mouths of others. Thus the more distinguished he is in the present life, so much the more he stands in need of this [Christian] education. If he passes his life in courts, there are many Heathens, and philosophers, and persons puffed up with the glory of this life. It is like a place full of dropsical people. Such in some sort is the court. All are, as it were, puffed up, and in a state of inflammation. And they who are not so are studying to become so. Now then reflect how vast a benefit it is, that your son on entering there, should enter like an excellent physician, furnished with instruments which may allay every oneâ€™s peculiar inflammation, and should go up to every one, and converse with him, and restore the diseased body to health, applying the remedies derived from the Scriptures, and pouring forth discourses of the true philosophy. For with whom is the recluse to converse? with his wall and his ceiling? yea, or again with the wilderness and the woods? or with the birds and the trees? He therefore has not so great need of this sort of discipline. Still, however, he makes it his business to perfect this work, not so much with a view of disciplining others as himself. There is then every need of much discipline of this sort to those that are to mix in the present world, because such an one has a stronger temptation to sin than the other. And if you have a mind to understand it, he will further be a more useful person even in the world itself. For all will have a reverence for him from these words, when they see him in the fire without being burnt, and not desirous of power. But power he will then obtain, when he least desires it, and will be a still higher object of respect to the king; for it is not possible that such a character should be hid. Amongst a number of healthy persons, indeed, a healthy man will not be noticed; but when there is one healthy man amongst a number of sick, the report will quickly spread and reach the kingâ€™s ears, and he will make him ruler over many nations. Knowing then these things, â€œbring up your children in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.â€
ii. For if a set of Greeks, men worthless as they are, and dogs, by taking up that worthless philosophy of theirs, (for such the Grecian philosophy is,) or rather not itself but only its mere name, and wearing the threadbare cloak, and letting their hair grow, impress many; how much more will he who is a true philosopher? If a false appearance, if a mere shadow of philosophy at first sight so catches us, what if we should love the true and pure philosophy? Will not all court it, and entrust both houses, and wives, and children, with full confidence to such men? But there is not, no, there is not such a philosopher existing now.