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Esolen’s Ten Ways: The Wondrous, Terrible Memory

ten ways cover“A developed memory is a wondrous and terrible storehouse of things seen and heard and done. It can do what no mere search engine on the internet can do. It can call up apparently unrelated things at once, molding them into a whole impression, or a new thought. The poet T. S. Eliot understood this creative, associative, dynamic function of a strong memory. The developed imagination remembers a strain from Bach, and smells spinach cooking in the kitchen, and these impressions are not separate but part of a unified whole, and are the essence of creative play. Without the library of the memory—which the Renaissance poet Edmund Spenser compared to a dusty room full of wonders in the attic of the mind, where a wise old man pores over his books, and a little boy called Anamnesis, ‘Reminder,’ sometimes has to climb a ladder to go fetch them—the imagination simply does not have that much to think about, or to play with.”

~Anthony Esolen, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of a Child

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The 2 Great Commandments: 3 Laws We Keep at Once

Love your neighbor as yourself.

This is the 2nd Great Commandment of Jesus’ summary of the law (Matt 22), while it is Paul’s entire summary (Gal 5).

In the first place, Jesus said love God with all your body and being, and secondly, love your neighbor as yourself. The second being like unto the first. Perhaps the second is so like unto the first that Paul did not give a second thought to leaving the first commandment unmentioned when he wrote to the Galatian church.

God is love. The Father is both lover and beloved; the Son is both lover and beloved; the Spirit is both lover and beloved. Bearing His image, we are both lover and beloved—beloved by Him, by our fellow image-bearers, and no less, by ourselves.

We love to be loved. Do we love to love?

We are finite creatures bearing the image of our infinite God, yet in spite of that finitude no temporal qualifications accompany the two great commandments and the necessary corollary to the 2nd: to love ourselves. Every moment, every thought, every word, every deed, every impulse, every glance, every prayer, every purchase, every passing moment is a gift from God that we give back to God and  impart to our neighbor without ever ceasing to love ourselves. The second is like unto the first and the third is logically necessary to fulfill the second.

The commandments are gracious: the mind of God written down for men to read. What a gift!

The work of God in Christ is gracious: we’ve been freed in order to fulfill these laws in this flesh. What a gift!

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14 ESV)


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While It Is Still Called, “Today”

God is now calling all men everywhere to repent, which means he is not calling any men anywhere to wait until they’re certain they’ve been made alive before they repent. Seek Him while he may be found; call upon Him while He is near; drink from the living water He now offers, for He has not only secured life, He is life. Faith is the evidence of things unseen, and although you may not yet see evidence of new life, faith will repent, drink the living water, and trust that fruit will follow, that life will follow. When we see streams of living water flow from repentance, we know that it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, we know that the wind, the Spirit, has moved. Our heavenly Father always has a fatted calf ready to slaughter for the feast following repentance. The angels are ever itching for the party.

Our faith is not in our faith. Our hope is not in our fruit. Our sure and steadfast hope is that Jesus died to conquer death, and he ever lives to impart His own life to us, in us, and through us to the world.

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Happiness is Eating God

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis proposes the Fall of Adam and Eve occurred when they tried to “invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God, apart from God.” From this has flowed all the sinful acts and all their ill effects throughout the course of human history. Our history is “the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

However, as a motor designed to run on fuel cannot run without it, so the human being, designed to feed on God, cannot be happy without him. Lewis goes so far as to say, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Lewis wasn’t making this stuff up. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:53-55)

It is no small coincidence that the first temptation revolved around food, the consummation of all things happens around a meal, and in the interim we commune with God around His table. God is the source of all pleasure and all fulfillment, but not a source producing things which, once imparted, make us happy. He gives us himself. He is the fuel. He is the food. He, himself, is the fulfillment. “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

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C. S. Lewis Comments on SCOTUS Decision

“For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.”
–C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

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Evil, Lies, and Ugly: Thoughts on Privation

by Marc Hays

In The City of God, Augustine of Hippo wrestled with the problem of evil. Augustine summarized his thoughts with the now famous maxim: “Evil has no positive nature; but the loss of good has received the name ‘evil.’” Evil is not a thing; it is a privation—a lack of a thing, namely goodness.

The qualities of being have been aptly summarized in classical philosophy in the triad commonly referred to as the “transcendentals”—namely “goodness, truth, and beauty.”  Augustine has relegated the definition of evil to a privation of the good; the very existence of evil is ultimately contingent upon the existence of the good, for evil cannot describe any act except the one that does not attain unto goodness. Consider for a moment an extension of Augustine’s maxim to the other two of the three, ancient transcendentals: truth and beauty.

Truth is often considered under the realm of knowledge, and most of us hold to the notion the truth is “that which corresponds to reality.” We also know, however, that truth can be embodied, enfleshed, and incarnated for Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So truth is more than a logical correspondence with reality, but it is nothing less than that.

Continuing with Augustine’s idea of privation, a “lie,” would be a description of that which does not correspond with reality. There is no category for “lie” unless there is a “truth” to be misrepresented, twisted, corrupted. Borrowing Augustine’s axiom, a lie would be a privation of the truth. A lie stands between the knower and that which is to be known, casting a shadow.

Following this line of thought, the third of the transcendentals, “beauty,” ought to be considered within the same category of goodness and truth, while “ugliness” would fall into the category of evil and falsehood. Following Augustine again, that which is ugly is a description of that which does not attain unto the standard of beauty.

There is no apt description of ugly unless beauty is the canon, the standard, the rule. There is nothing easier than to believe with our culture that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We have replaced “beauty” with “preference” and we sleep easy at night believing that the transcendental triad is fine as a duo. We fight for objective goodness, and we fight for objective truth, all the while affirming with the spirit of our age that beauty is up for grabs. The longer the church affirms that there is no such thing as objective beauty, the more ugliness will be preferred, both within the church and without.

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Wendell Berry: Standing By Words

standing by words

“In order for a statement to be complete and comprehensible, three conditions are required:

1.) It must designate its object precisely.

2.) Its speaker must stand by it: must believe it, be accountable for it, be willing to act on it.

3.) This relation of speaker, word, and object must be conventional; the community must know what it is.

These are still the assumptions of private conversations…We assume, in short, that language is communal, and that its purpose is to tell the truth.”

–Wendell Berry, “Standing By Words”<>mobi onlineраскрутка а этапы

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