It is with great excitement that I announce our new blog open. A Hill to Die On is now up and ready for reading. Please just click the link above to get there and thanks for coming by. We will keep this blog open for a while (largely to just direct traffic), and maybe some of our old posts will find a home over on the new blog as well. For the few who have been following us, we hope that you will continue to do so at the new blog.
Just over one year ago today, our moving truck pulled into Village Manor apartments (amazingly with our car still in tow) and we began our life in Louisville. In some ways it is hard to believe that a year has passed, and in other ways it seems like we have been here a lot longer.
God brought us to Louisville to learn to trust him more. A year ago, while I knew we were trusting in God when we came down here without a job, we still had so much to learn. God has used the past year to teach us a great deal about trusting him. One of the biggest lessons that I needed to learn was that this lesson is one that never goes away. Trusting God is meant to be a continual occupation of the Christian. This is something that really struck me as I studied for the lesson that I taught last Wednesday night at church. We are going through the Psalms and last week we were on Psalm 62. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not very good at remembering dates. Believe it or not, the truth is that John is usually the one who keeps track of all of our extended family’s birthdays and anniversarys. Perhaps it’s his love of history that has naturally brought this about. I’m more the fiction and poetry person of our twosome. My head tends to be in a cloud, while he is solidly and practically on the ground! So he reminded me the other day that it was Lewis’ birthday(November 29th). I couldn’t believe I had forgotten. It seriously is an important day to me, and I have enjoyed writing posts about Lewis in years past on his birthday. No one has had as profound or deep an influence on me as Lewis. I have read and reread most of the forty something books he wrote. In fact, I am always in the midst of rereading Lewis. Right now I am enjoying Mere Christianity for the umpteenth time. I love the straightforward and logical, yet beautiful way he presents orthodox Christianity. As in all of his books, Lewis appeals to my head and my heart, my mind and my imagination; truth wrapped in beauty. Recently, I finished An Experiment in Criticism. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to Lewis to share a quotation from it:
“What is the good of reading what anyone writes is very like the question what is the good of listening to what anyone says? Unless you contain in yourself sources that can supply all the information, entertainment, advice, rebuke, and merriment you want, the answer is obvious. And if it is worth while listening or reading at all, it is often worth doing so attentively…A work of literary art can be considered in two lights. It both means and is. It is both Logos(something said) and Poiema(something made). As logos it tells a story, or expresses an emotion, or exhorts or pleads, or describes, or rebukes, or excites laughter. As Poiema by its aural beauties and also by the contrast and the unified multiplicity of its sucessive parts it is objet d’ art, a thing shaped so as to give great satisfaction.”
Happy belated birthday, Lewis! You are worth reading and reading attentively. And when I read you, you not only tell me many things, but you tell them in the most satisfying way. Thank you.
Recently, John bought the Lord of the Rings movies, the twelve hour extended version, and we have enjoyed watching it together with Andrew, little by little. It drew me back to the books, which I have been rereading. I’ve spent a lot of time during this reading thinking about how whereas the Chronicles of Narnia have one Christ-figure, Aslan, the Lord of the Rings has three; no one character fully embodies Christ . There is Frodo, the priest, Gandalf, the prophet, and Aragorn, the King. According to Peter Kreeft, in a lecture on LOR that he gave, Tolkien apparently confirmed this idea in a letter to a clergyman who asked him about it. All three of the offices of Christ are depicted beautifully in the story, but Aragorn the king is perhaps my favorite. Aragorn the king is the one who courageously and tirelessly fights seemingly endless battles to save the people of Middle-Earth, he defies death itself as he is the only one who can pass through the door to the paths of the dead, and he brings healing(“for the hands of the king are hands of healing”) and peace and order to Middle-Earth. One of the most poignant moments is when Aragorn enters Minas Tirith and is crowned king. The Shadow has finally passed. The Days of the King have come.
I think this character in the story moves me so deeply because I long for the real Day of the King to come. I long for the Day when Christ the King will once again bring final healing and restore peace and order to the New Heavens and Earth. The Shadow sometimes seems to hang so heavily on all the world and in my own heart too, but I know it is but a ” passing thing,” as Sam Gamgee once realized in what has to be one of the most beautiful paragraphs of LOR: “There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
The King of Kings has already come to His people, He has brought light and healing and hope, and He has passed through the door of death in triumph and victory. The Shadow has been pierced, and the rent that was torn can never be repaired. A Day will come, the King has promised, when the Shadow will be forever ripped asunder, never to return. And it is only those who have lived under the Shadow, yet who have fought against the darkness for the King, that will be able to enjoy and experience the light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.
So be glad! Rejoice! For the King has come and will come again! The Light of the World has pierced the Shadow, and it is but a passing thing.
I recently had the opportunity to teach through Romans 8 in our adult Sunday school class at church, and I may have mentioned listening to Jason Gray’s new CD on more than one occasion. I have been thinking a lot about the middle portion of that awesome passage of scripture lately.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23 ESV) Read the rest of this entry »
While it is still a month and a half away and while I have not yet read these books there are a couple of Christmas books coming out that look really, really good. They look like they would be great for families to read together as they focus on the beautiful story of redemption in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sally Lloyd-Jones writes the first one called, Song of the Stars, a Christmas book that focuses on the celebration of all creation at the birth of Jesus. Sally is the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, a book that we loved reading through with our son more than once. The other book is called Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative by Russ Ramsey. While I have never read anything by Russ Ramsey, I have been profoundly affected by Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” CD which in part serves as the inspiration for this book. I say in part as it has the same title as Peterson’s CD and because Peterson writes the forward to the book, but it should be obvious to all that the real inspiration is the gloriously beautiful story of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Read the rest of this entry »
In keeping up with my long term goal of reading a biography on every president (you can read a previous post which contains a list on the books I have read so far by clicking here), I recently finished reading this book on our sixth president, John Quincy Adams. In reading the book, I have gained quite a bit of respect for our little known 6th president.
John Quincy Adams grew up the oldest son of John and Abigail Adams. Growing up in the tumultuous revolutionary years of our country, seeing the way in which his father labored for the country and was so maligned despite the sacrifices he made to help establish America, it is a wonder that he pursued a life of a politician. He was a man very much beholden to duty; a characteristic instilled from a very young age. Sent on his first diplomatic mission at the age of 14-15 as the aid to the US minister to Russia, he demonstrated a capacity for languages and for diplomacy. However, upon returning to America, John Quincy tried to follow his own path as much as his father would let him. He graduated from Harvard and began to pursue a career as a lawyer. It was a pursuit that would be interrupted by the call of duty, the call to serve his country. The call to serve was made harder to turn down as it came from the first president and revolutionary war hero, George Washington. Washington tapped the younger Adams (27 at the time) as minister to the Netherlands in 1794. It was in this diplomatic post that John Quincy would flourish in many ways. I wonder if being out from his father’s shadow had anything to do with the growth of John Quincy. I do know that the distance across the pond encouraged some boldness in finding a wife on the part of Adams. Having his plans dashed earlier in life by his meddling parents, Adams moved quickly in securing the hand of his wife Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of Joshua Johnson, the US Consul to Britain. To give credence to Adams’ short courtship, one must understand the meddling of his parents. John and Abigail had very strong opinions on the shape the future should take for their children, and when Abigail found out about her son’s intentions she wrote him, “Time will trim the luster of the eye, and wither the bloom of the face.” Abigail further encouraged John Quincy to “seek a more lasting union of friendship.” With the Atlantic separating them, John Quincy boldly replied back to his mother’s annoying meddling by writing that if he waited to find a woman that would suit her, “I would be doomed to perpetual celibacy.” Read the rest of this entry »