Words

Life

there is a choice

by Andrea Elizabeth

As far as I can tell, David B. Hart is saying that when all delusions are stripped away, everyone will eventually will to be united to God who is good. People who don’t choose him now do not see him as good and pursue other things they think are good. Goodness is the telos of everything. Maybe hell is being stripped of your delusions and still not wanting God, maybe because of the surrender involved.

If I remember right, Napoleon in Lewis’ Great Divorce was self-satisfied and kept moving away from God. Is this because God allowed him to keep his delusion? Was his happiness even a delusion?

I prefer either of these possibilities of hell to DBH’s inevitable universalism, because it still seems forced despite his rationalizations.

I also don’t relate to his desire for everyone to get along. It feels almost like communism to me where people are not allowed to think differently and find it important. He levels everything too violently and there seems some deep unhappiness at the root of it.

Can brains save you?

by Andrea Elizabeth

“[Cabin fever] is a slang term for the claustrophobic reaction that can occur when people are shut in together over long periods of time. The feeling of claustrophobia is externalized as dislike for the people you happen to be shut in with. In extreme cases it can result in hallucinations and violence—murder has been done over such minor things as a burned meal or an argument about whose turn it is to do the dishes.
[…]“He killed them, Mr. Torrance, and then committed suicide. He murdered the little girls with a hatchet, his wife with a shotgun, and himself the same way. His leg was broken. Undoubtedly so drunk he fell downstairs.”
“Was he a high school graduate?”
“As a matter of fact, he wasn’t,” Ullman said a little stiffly. “I thought a, shall we say, less imaginative individual would be less susceptible to the rigors, the loneliness—”
“That was your mistake,” Jack said. “A stupid man is more prone to cabin fever just as he’s more prone to shoot someone over a card game or commit a spur-of-the-moment robbery. He gets bored. When the snow comes, there’s nothing to do but watch TV or play solitaire and cheat when he can’t get all the aces out. Nothing to do but bitch at his wife and nag at the kids and drink. It gets hard to sleep because there’s nothing to hear. So he drinks himself to sleep and wakes up with a hangover. He gets edgy. And maybe the telephone goes out and the TV aerial blows down and there’s nothing to do but think and cheat at solitaire and get edgier and edgier. Finally … boom, boom, boom.”
“Whereas a more educated man, such as yourself?”
“My wife and I both like to read. I have a play to work on, as Al Shockley probably told you. Danny has his puzzles, his coloring books, and his crystal radio. I plan to teach him to read, and I also want to teach him to snowshoe. Wendy would like to learn how, too. Oh yes, I think we can keep busy and out of each other’s hair if the TV goes on the fritz.” He paused. “And Al was telling the truth when he told you I no longer drink. I did once, and it got to be serious. But I haven’t had so much as a glass of beer in the last fourteen months. I don’t intend to bring any alcohol up here, and I don’t think there will be an opportunity to get any after the snow flies.” (Excerpt From: King, Stephen. “The Shining.” Anchor Books, 2013-08-27. iBooks.)

We’ll see.

The tale told at Big Bend

by Andrea Elizabeth

In the time of the great rising, the dinosaurs moved across the face of the earth. It was the age of giant things. The small were jostled like Tolkein’s, or was it Jackson’s, hobbits in the midst of a rock giant’s war. 

Sometimes things start small, but sometimes they become so by being broken off larger things. Then they tumble from the heights, falling, breaking smaller, and sliding until they are stopped by a protrusion, or they reach rock bottom and become part of a leveling. Here they become lost in commonness. One of the many small fallen things. Lost together in a large basin to hold other things. 
But tales of their former glory are still told in the heights. Their absence leaves cracks, nooks, crannies, and sharper peaks. These are the remnant stronger or just more fortunately placed rocks. The weaker ones become footstools for other weaker, humbler things.

couldn’t find the Facebook post to like so I googled and copied it here.

by Andrea Elizabeth

“He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time, which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity or with the Present–either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” C.S. Lewis

with nature

by Andrea Elizabeth

My original post is lost but I will try to remember it.

Before recent times, people had a common way of thinking and relating. Nowadays things are more complicated. Gone are the days when Paul could say to a new group of people, this commonly known unknown God is revealed in Christ, and they believed. Now we have the gospel of nice where asking people to reject former views is seen as a hate crime.

While I can fundamentally accept that the heavens declare the glory of God, day utters speech and night knowledge (Psalm 19) and that the power of the godhead is clearly seen in the things that are made (Romans 1), modern atheists don’t, even though they may appreciate the beauty and peace of national parks. They see it as a pleasant byproduct of automatic forces at work. I have even had dark times where I see majestic mountains as rubble from cataclysmic destruction, lush vegetation as opportunistic clutter, and animal diversity as adaptive survival mechanisms.

But thankfully the darkness doesn’t prevail and God’s presence wins out. There is something innately holy about nature that our deepest selves respond to. The skies are a tabernacle for the sun, as the Psalm also says. I bet Rich Mullins liked Mountain Cathedrals.

John Denver famously wrote of this otherness in Rocky Mountain High. Here’s another good line, “The Earth is our mother just turning around, with her trees in the forest and roots underground. Our father above us whose sigh is the wind, paint us a rainbow without any end.” – John Denver, The Flower That Shattered The Stone

I hope he knows the Father better now. I do not completely blame those who love nature but reject Christians like the Indians. Modern Christians are too affiliated with big business which is opposed to nature. This is why lawmakers wont get rid of Daylight Savings Time where noon is close to 2pm.

happy hunting grounds

by Andrea Elizabeth

I think everyone who wants to serve people should watch Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. He’s on CW (dfw ch 33) every Saturday morning. He’s a dog psychologist, rehabilitator, and their person trainer. With most dogs it’s a simple fix of controlling their dominance behaviors by exhibiting calm assertiveness to redirect their energy. Timid dogs are more difficult. Today there was a real stumper. A doberman had been on the kill list 3 times and given reprieves for sweetness at the shelter before a cat rescuer lady adopted her. She was too nervous to even eat unless the lady coaxed her for about an hour every day. With firm direction she would leave the house and get in a car, but she was not enjoying it. Cesar took her to his concrete dog facility – before he acquired his rural ranch – and she perked up a little with the pack of dogs, but still didn’t want to eat. He helped her attitude with physical activity – a treadmill and swimming, but she was still not enjoying life. Until he took her to his newly acquired, undeveloped property, where she came out, leaping and bounding over the hills with the pack.

My theory is that dogs know when their friends’ lives are ended abruptly, and she had prepared herself three times for the same fate. Maybe she even was given a glimpse of her awaiting happy hunting ground. People with whims kept that from happening, and a lady took her away. So if she was going to live, the lady had to work at it, and it was draining her. Once you’ve seen the other side it’s hard to come back. I’ve heard astronauts experience the same thing upon re-entry. I’ve seen it in the eyes of people who’ve had terrible almost fatal accidents and their families will them back to life. To live on someone else’s will is very hard. But there are people motivated to keep you motivated. And there are heavenly places you can go where it’s not so hard.

The Paper Chase

by Andrea Elizabeth

If The Paper Chase, about a Harvard Law student’s obsession with his professor (see synopsis here and here), is really about a person’s desire for an authoritative, all-knowing, guiding, caring God, then why don’t we seek the original? Because we can’t really separate God from people. We are like God and are to become more so for others. Deified people will know your name and what you’ve done and what you need to do. People on the road to truth and beauty will know general directions, but not your specifics, which will leave you disappointed. There comes a time when you have to tell the people you thought should know you that they are SOB’s, and turn their unread evaluation into a paper airplane. Their response should be to tell you that’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day. But how would they know that if they don’t know what else you’ve said?

And then there’s the part making fun of contracts as silly pieces of paper that we’re so foolishly governed by. The Orthodox wedding ceremony doesn’t have an oath. Orthodox don’t talk about covenants so much either. They talk about ever free fixes. Except birth, you’re pretty much stuck with that.

nevermind

by Andrea Elizabeth

If I were to seduce you I’d do it with bread, wine, oil, water, candles, incense, music, heartfelt compunction, deified humans in color, and nature. But it’s not enough for most. They’d rather feel sorry for themselves and self-medicate.

How the west was won

by Andrea Elizabeth

I caught a little of the re-airing of Ken Burns’s Roosevelts and decided to read at least a little of Theodore Roosevelt’s The Winning of the West. The documentary prepared me for Teddy’s belief in Darwin’s survival of the fittest and how war proved it. The Forward  bears this out,

“In the year 1898 the United States finished the work begun over a century before by the backwoodsman, and drove the Spaniard outright from the western world. During the march of our people from the crests of the Alleghanies to the Pacific, the Spaniard was for a long period our chief white opponent; and after an interval his place among our antagonists was taken by his Spanish-American heir. Although during the Revolution the Spaniard at one time became America’s friend in the sense that he was England’s foe, he almost from the outset hated and dreaded his new ally more than his old enemy. In the peace negotiations at the close of the contest he was jealously eager to restrict our boundaries to the line of the Alleghanies; while even during the concluding years of the war the Spanish soldiers on the upper Mississippi were regarded by the Americans in Illinois as a menace no less serious than the British troops at Detroit.

In the opening years of our national life the Western backwoodsman found the Spanish ownership of the mouth of the Mississippi even more hurtful and irksome than the retention by the British king of the posts on the Great Lakes.”
Excerpt From: Roosevelt, Theodore. “The Winning of the West, Volume 1.” iBooks. 

Later he talks about how the proponents of expansion always won out over the opposition, which he characterized merely as doomsayers who were proved wrong. Whether America was providentially inspired or not is beyond my kin, but I’m not as bully confident as he was. Is anyone?

daredevil

by Andrea Elizabeth

I could seduce you, but that would be wrong. Instead, I’ll scare you. How? Grizzly murder, ghosts, hostile aliens? No, by not telling you. By letting the unknown lurk right behind your head, dodging your gaze every time you turn around. You know it’s there, you can feel it’s eyes warming your occipital scalp. I don’t have to do a thing but confirm to you that what you know is true. What are its intentions? Your paranoid side says the thing is justifying the torture. Your idealistic side says it’s got your back. Delusions, both. Your pessimistic side denies it’s even there, but you can’t get rid of it and your honest self knows it. Angels are for children, demons for fundies and flakes.

I will tell you what it is, and it’s even scarier than any of the above. It’s love. You hate it because you can’t outrun it, you can’t stop it, and worse, your success at denying it is nothing more than ostrich tactics. You will periodically come up for air and there it is, right behind your head. The sand was a delusion because nothing can separate you from it, even though you beg for it to go away. To placate you it will periodically send a spectre of hatred and destruction. You need this in order to breathe and function. It gives you confidence and makes you feel powerful like a winner. You’d rather conquer with hate than be conquered by love. Why? Because if you stop and let it be, it will drown you. You will be too fast immersed into the lowest depths where your blood will boil and your skin blister till all your flesh and even your bones are torn apart. But not one of your bones will break. This is not mercy because you will want it to end. This is why even Christians want to be cremated. Obliteration is the only escape. The idea of cremation is a spectre provided to give you a mental break from being in love. How we long instead for nothing! Go ahead, scream.

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