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Sticking to it.

So, it's more or less the end of January, and let's see how I've done with my resolutions.


1. This month, I have read three books. And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, The Great Divorce, and A Grief Observed.

The first, And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks was one of the most despondent books I've ever read. It was written by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, so you can imagine what it was like. Lots and lots of drinking, and cussing, and . . . eating glass. It was disturbing to read, but it was also surprising how quickly you could read it. The words just seemed to fly off the page, and next thing you know you just picked it up for a moment and you've already read fifty pages. All in all, worth reading only as a window into "The beat generation" life.

The second, The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis, was a remarkable book. Probably one of my favorites now. It makes me look forward to a new world, but also more closely examine how I live this one. One idea that kept striking me . . . was that what I see as really beautiful, might in fact be really ugly.

The third, A Grief Observed, also by Lewis, is more like a pamphlet than a book, but very good. Perhaps I can't fully appreciate it because I am not Lewis, and have never lost someone the way he has. But it made me both think and feel.

2. I didn't pick this month to read the whole bible in a month.
3. I ate a fair amount of chicken at Masters :P
4. This has been more or less a failure. I've eaten a lot more Tomato's this month, but I haven't really liked them. In fact, at one time, I almost threw up because it was so revolting. I still hate tomato's. I am going to try this one again while tomato's are in season, and I can get them from my uncles garden.

That's all I've got for now, next month is peanut butter. Books on the menu: Phantastes, A World Lost, and That Hideous Strength, and possibly some others.

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Two poems.

A candle's scent.

When the fire burns

Does the wax fly into the air,

And perhaps alight on my eye?

I ask it not as a question of science, but philosophy

As if the wax were not itself,

or its selfness extended beyond the physical world.

As if it were a question that could not be proven or falsified,

But only pondered,

Wondered about with a faint loveliness of belief

Unable to answer “yes” or no”,

But only a resolved, though somewhat despondent, “I don’t know”

With perhaps some certainty

But certainty that exists apart from proof or knowledge.


Letters

She writes with a poetry not her own

My day lends poetry to her words

And gives more meaning and flow than she has power to make

And yet I admire her for it

As if somehow she were to blame, or be praised for how my mind projected her.

Response in anything other than likeminded poetry would seem false to me

But such poetry written would be out of place to her

For I am not writing to her, but my idea of her

But the real her must endure what I say to some Other.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully made

I love people. Or . . . certain people. I don't think I'm the kind of person to like the idea of a "person" for itself, though perhaps I ought to. I love specific persons.


I know that in order to really love people, I have to love God first, and more. I can't have an idol of a human being, or human beings, in the way. Sometimes I really feel like I love God, but a lot of times I don't. Often I want to love God just so I can love people, or I did. Now that it comes to the point, what this post is about feels so simple and obvious that I may sound like a fool for being so excited about it, but I will write it anyway.

I've felt so much like I love people, and loving God has to come first . . . but that's a difficulty, an obstacle. But, I see now! I cannot say I love people just because, I love them for their personalities, and their interests, and their dedications and passions, and a myriad of other things, because all of these things are part of who the people are. I believe there is an essence to a person, but we cannot simply love that essence, and that essence is wrapped in all the details of a person, and perhaps even mingles in them. I cannot love someone for themselves, as in something other than what they do and say and think, because all of that is part of who they are. I love them for the things that I think are beautiful, good, and true about them.

But if anything is beautiful, good, or true about them it is because God put it there! Because he put into them a picture of himself, an expression of his mind.

"God created me -not out of nothing, as say the unwise -but out of his own endless glory." (Lilith, George MacDonald)
So if I love these people, it is because of how God made them, as beautiful, good, true people. How can I say that "loving God first" is hard? How can I put people before Him if he made them, and if I think they are wonderful, how much more wonderful is He? The best of them are at best a description of Him, dimly, how much more lovely is the "thing itself"? And my ability to love people comes from the fact that I am made by Him as well! Everything that makes me want to love people, and everything that makes me able to love them comes from Him!

I say "I love C. S. Lewis" when I have not met C. S. Lewis and never will, but I have read many of his books, and his books show me partly who he is, and what he thinks, feels, and believes. While some might say it is technically correct to say "I love C. S. Lewis' books" I would disagree. I see a reflection, a part of C. S. Lewis, and though (Like God) I cannot see him now, I can still love him, and appreciate who he is.

I think what has made it truly hard for me to love God more than I love people is that I have not seen God in the same way that I have seen people. The great irony is that people are the best reflection of God that we have, and what makes me want to love them so much is how God-like they may appear to us in their loveliness.

I don't know how to end this post now. that block quote thing is really spiffy. And I feel like that comment is too lighthearted for how seriously I feel about what I'm saying.

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Charlotte NC, 2010

Reading Kerouac on the floor
waiting
"The essential smile/in the essential sleep."
I'm through lying to myself.
I surrender to myself
in my surrender to God,
the God of feeling,
the God of love,
the God of Violent Peace
I'm through trying my best
I'm going to put my real shoulder to the wheel
and present myself as I am
I'm through waking up,
through with moments of feeling, of truth.
It's about time I lived like I felt
what if I acted all the time what I see some of the time?
I'm through with resolutions and moments of recommitment
I'm going to live Truly, and sometimes it will be a lie.

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Finish the sentence

Ian: Don't talk to

Me: Girls
Ian: They will
Me: break your heart.

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New Years resolutions.

I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions. For one thing, people infamously don't keep them and for another they assign arbitrary significance to the New Year (nothing changes except for how you sign things. The fiscal year doesn't even change on that date). However, this year I thought "why not?" and went ahead writing a couple of things down. This blog post is a way of me setting myself up for failure, forcing me to try harder to avoid embarrassment. At the beginning of each month (or perhaps the end, the date is of little significance other than to have a reasonable deadline) I'll tell you how I did on keeping these in the past month. Honestly. So let's get started.



1. Read at least two books every month.
These books must not be school related, at least in the strict sense of the word. So far I haven't finished any books in the month of January.



2. Read the bible in one month
I'm thinking June, or perhaps July. Basically any month that is far away from now. To some this may seem daunting, to some this may seem simple enough. I'm definitely in the group that says it's daunting.


3. Eat more chicken.


4. Every month, pick one food that I don't like and try to make myself like it. This month's goal: Tomatos. Perhaps next month it'll be peanut butter. But I'll miss the emotional connection I make with people who also don't like peanut butter. It's always nice to find another believer, you know?
So, there they are. Nothing really life changing, just some "personally challenges" if you will.

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