Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Faith and Culture

While wanting to dig deeper into a movie I had just watched, I stumbled onto an interesting Christian website maintained by a place called Damascus Road that seems to be using culture to explore Christian themes and to engage society.

I haven't fully researched it yet, but I'm pretty intrigued. The subtitle on their site is "exploring culture, love, truth, life and God."

There are a number of movies for which they have posted discussion questions and discussion comments on-line. It seems to me these could make for good small group discussions, but I need to add the DISCLAIMER that though the discussion questions and comments are Christian, the films ARE secular, and not all films are appropriate for all audiences! You can find the discussion resources if you scroll down to Cinema and Spirit Resources at

Here is a quote from the comments on the film What Dreams May Come
There is a great quote from C.S. Lewis concerning the relation between our life now and the afterlife. He said, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heavenly creature or into a hellish creature -- either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.” This quote makes a lot of sense to me. What I do in this life shapes who I will be in the afterlife. If I have lived a life in harmony with God and chosen his way then I will be prepared to experience Heaven. If I have chosen to rebel against God and others, I am not prepared to exist in Heaven but rather Heaven itself may even be a Hell for me because I am so out of sync with reality there. Maybe Hell truly is the horror of a life gone wrong. Maybe it is the realization that life lived without a restored relationship with God and others is the worst Hell that could ever exist.

May you choose life and love and truth with God's help and become the Heavenly creature you were meant to be.

"Now, with God's help, I shall become myself."

- S├śren Kierkegaard

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To A Young Poet

Time cannot break the bird’s wing from the bird.
Bird and wing together
Go down, one feather.

No thing that ever flew,
Not the lark, not you,
Can die as others do.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Nostalgia - What Can Be Done?

My parents finally gave up on me ever going through the childhood boxes I had in their garage, and they came over and brought them to my entry way. I have guests coming over Sunday, so I'm finally going through them. This is a very hard task for a nostalgic person! Other than college notes and old birthday cards, here's some stuff I'm finding:An old box for special things. Yes, that's a self-portrait on the front. Can you tell what I'm supposed to be? My grandpa was fire-chief and lived in the firehouse, so I drew myself as a fire-fighter - note the fireman's hat "in" my overly large hand, the badge pinned on my chest, and the fire on the bottom right of the box. I remember drawing this and punching the holes in the box. After all a fire does burn through things right! I was clearly a stickler for realism. My shoes are tied with very precise bows!Here are some of the items from my special box - souvenirs - a train whistle, a pennant, and a spark gun that still shoots sparks because I used it carefully and conservatively as a child!Old Sunday School books. I still remember specific pictures inside! Anybody know a Mrs. Vander Veen who taught Sunday School at Immanuel CRC, Ripon, in about 1970? There's only a last name in my book. Oh, wait! I bet it was Tracy Vander Veen . . . When I got a bit older I was a Dungeons and Dragons wanna be! I didn't know anybody who played, so I just looked it up in books and drew maps and dungeons. It seems my drawing skills improved a bit since my box-lid days. I even bought the polyhedral dice - ones you had to paint to get the numbers to show up! Apparently I also went through a romance-novel stage. I have very little recollection of this, but the quantity of books speaks for itself. I notice some were 33 cents apiece at Raley's! Clearly I was very discerning!And there was also a comic-book phase . . . And here are the results from the career center testing at college. Hmm . . . I wonder if being an INTP on the Myers-Briggs explains the variety of phases I had? Romance novels, Dungeons and Dragons and Little Archie comics?!?!I started out as a computer science major and still have an old program I wrote to prove it. Anybody remember the old green and white paper with the holes on the sides? If so, don't admit it, you'll be giving away your age! How have we gone from those old dinosaurs to I-phones? AMAZING! Ah well, computers weren't for me, so I made my minor, which was math, my major.And there's certainly a reason I went into math rather than sociology. Here are my notes from the first day of class, September 13, 1983. I clearly and specifically remember the first thing the professor said, which is borne out by my notes above: "Why do people commit suicide?" Uh . . . and people dislike math?! Go figure!And then, of course, my own romance - as witnessed by a card I started making for David. Yeah, it's a self-portrait. Maybe I'd better stick with drawing dungeons for D&D!

OK, that all that is just a drop in the bucket. There are other notes and books and letters and cards and puzzles and snatches of poetry I began writing (one to my grandpa - one to my yet-unborn children, whom I apparently thought would be girls!) and old slides and my lucky horseshoe from Columbia with my name engraved on it and books whose pictures bring me back to specific times in childhood. Sorting this stuff and figuring out what to do with it is very hard for a nostalgic person! And, given our recent move, there is no room in our garage! I can't get rid of it, and I can't keep it - so I've been sitting on my entry-way floor sorting and reminiscing for 4 hours.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Seeing Invisible Worlds

To hear this phenomenally wonderful lecture on understanding the fourth dimension - and seeing invisible worlds in general - go to:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

This Kind of Fire

sometimes I think the gods
deliberately keep pushing me
into the fire
just to hear me
a few good

they just aren't going to
let me retire
silk scarf about neck
giving lectures at

the gods need me to
entertain them.

they must be terribly
bored with all
the others

and I am too.

and now my cigarette lighter
has gone dry.
I sit here
flicking it.

this kind of fire
they can't give
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)