Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fair Play

. . . for whatever reason God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself.

from The Greatest Drama Ever Staged by Dorothy Sayers (1938)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tribute to Martin Gardner

When David and I were first married and were barely making ends meet on our Christian school teaching salaries, I had one "vice" - one thing on which I could not resist spending the little money I could scrape together from time to time. This vice cost $12.95 each time I indulged in it, a small fortune for us at that time, but so well worth it in my eyes. What did I buy? Books of mathematical recreations by Martin Gardner. How could I resist given such titles as Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments and Wheels, Life, and Other Mathematical Amusements?

I enjoyed these books then, and they have continued giving enjoyment for more than 20 years! When I first began teaching I could teach math alright, but I didn't have the passion for it that I have now. That passion developed, in part, through the work of Martin Gardner. Martin Gardner was more than a writer of mathematical recreations. He was a deep thinker, a magician, a philosopher, a literary commentator, and so much more. In recent years I have purchased collections of his philosophical essays.

Over the weekend the world lost this great man. Thankfully he lived to the ripe old age of 95 and contributed to us all throughout his life, having published as recently as 2009.

Yesterday there was a tribute to him on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, which you can find at:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where and When

Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'll Walk

Often rebuked, yet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things that cannot be:

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions rising, legion after legion,
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.

Stanzas by Emily Bronte 1818-1848

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sing We All to Thee

Calvin, Calvin, sing we all to thee!
Dear alma mater, we pledge fidelity.
Forever faithful to maroon and gold;
Thy name and honor we ever shall uphold!

A former room-mate just sent me the link to this video of our old alma mater - lookin' a bit different than it did 2 decades ago! We missed out on these cool new facilities, but Anthony will be there in a few months enjoying them. Though, knowing him he'll be like his dad - outside running instead of inside a gym - in what few moments he takes away from his studies, that is!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rocks and Roots and Stuff

I am finally making good use of my summer freedom! These photos were all taken today at Pinecrest. I went with my friend and colleague Stacey - good times!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Or Every Man Be Blind

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just News - Plain and Simple

-- As of tonight, it is official, Anthony will be attending Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan in the fall - mine and David's alma mater.

-- Tomorrow is Anthony's last track meet of his high school career - sectionals. He'll be running the mile and the 2-mile.

-- Jacob is excitedly looking forward to a computer graphics program he purchased that should be arriving tomorrow.

-- Tonight Caleb had a band concert - did a really good job, especially with his keyboard part in The Pink Panther.

--On Monday, Caleb went to the elder's meeting to profess his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior! His public profession is tentatively set for May 30.

-- We all did some gaming with a friend yesterday - Magic and Tales of the Arabian Nights (Hi Ross! :-)

-- David's recent echocardiogram shows that the closure device in his heart is still in the place it should be and doing what it should be - YEA!

-- Strange as this sounds I'm still sort of adjusting to summer - what's to adjust to, you might ask - I don't know - maybe it's harder than I thought to go from 100 mph to 0 overnight but also to have 100,000 things I'd been wanting to do all school year, now having the time but not knowing where to start - knowing I have more that I want to do than I can actually do in one summer, needing to take a break to refresh first, but not remembering how to take a break anymore, and also not wanting to "waste" time given so many things I want to accomplish - gotta just sort this all out.

-- I've spent a few days recently up until well after 1am doing work on one of the books I'm writing - can't stop while the ideas are coming, so my sleep situation has totally done a 180 over a short period of time too - getting back to normal for me, but also not as easy an adjustment as I thought it would be! (Maybe it has to do with getting older!)

-- I might be going to the mountains for a day or two coming up soon here to do some sorting!

Friday, May 07, 2010

St. Augustine on Time

In research for a book I'm writing I'm digging into works of St. Augustine. I had no idea he had so much to say about the nature of time:
"You, my Father, are eternal. But I am divided between time gone by and time to come, and its course is a mystery to me. My thoughts, the intimate life of my soul, are torn this way and that in the havoc of change." (Confessions XI:29)

"I shall no longer suffer the questions of men who . . . ask 'What was God doing before he made heaven and earth?' or 'How did it occur to God to create something, when he had never created anything before?' Grant them, O Lord, to think well what they say and to recognize that 'never' has no meaning when there is no time. If a man is said never to have made anything, it can only mean that he made nothing at any time. Let them see, then, that there cannot possibly be time without creation. . . . Let them understand that before all time began you are the eternal creator of all time . . ." (Confessions VI:30)

" . . . it is vain to conceive of the past times of God's rest, since there is not time before the world." (City of God XI:5)

"What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled." (Confessions XI:14)
I have also learned that this father of the church did not hold to what we would call a literal interpretaion of Genesis - but rather believed that everything in the universe was created simultaneously by God - arguing that the six days written of represent a logical framework instead of a literal passage of time and that this has a spiritual meaning that is no less literal.

I gotta read me some more Augustine. This is one interesting guy!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

All My Tomorrows

Check out this music video which premiered April 30 at Azusa Pacific's Cinematic Arts Premiere Night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. The band is that of sons of my friends Jim and Leslie. They're really good, and I know someday I'll be saying, "I knew them when!!" As Leslie puts it the band members are: "Clark at the piano, Devin on the bass, Spencer on drums, and Cory (the honorary sibling) on guitar. Students/actors did an awesome job too."

Monday, May 03, 2010

Every Day in a Life

. . . how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back -- if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?
from Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Nor Ever Jump

My dear, I wonder if before the end
You ever thought about a children’s game—
I’m sure you must have played it too—in which
You ran along a narrow garden wall
Pretending it to be a mountain ledge
So steep a snowy darkness fell away
On either side to deeps invisible;
And when you felt your balance being lost
You jumped because you feared to fall, and thought
For only an instant: That was when I died.

That was a life ago. And now you’ve gone,
Who would no longer play the grown-ups’ game
Where, balanced on the ledge above the dark,
You go on running and you don’t look down,
Nor ever jump because you fear to fall.
To D- , Dead by Her Own Hand by Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)