Archive for July, 2010

The call to discipleship – 2

Barth says things like:
one gives up the previous form of his existence
What do I do with that. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. How do i ever get to live and love well enough for that.
Bottom line – who do I think I am?
I know/believe that I am created/beloved of god. I know that my call is to follow him, to find my identity and meaning and satisfaction in him.
I suspect that in my heart/belief I do not mean that.
I am in deep pursuit of greatness. Not of career or money or anything so obviously (so it seems) facile.
I mean greatness in the sense Steinbeck meant. When he used the word timshel – thou mayest. As Samuel in East of Eden exhorts Adam to the meaning of greatness.
God placed us in the garden and commanded us to live together and order and work our surroundings. I think I get what this looks like, what our greatness should look like.
But this is where the nuance comes in. I think my pursuit of greatness in the sense I so poorly articulate here is really the right thing to do. I get into bother when I neglect the humility and awe that it takes to give up my previous form of existence as Barth put it.
It is not I who live but christ who lives in me.

Beauty dies young

Ugliest church building ever – North Uist

Perhaps occasionally used as a squash court

The call to discipleship – 1

I date all my books when I start reading partly to mark them as mine and partly to help me remember when I read them the first time round.
I read the call to discipleship back in dec 08, I’d read bonhoeffers cost of discipleship a few months before which makes sense.
Barth writes densely argued sentences, the kind where you need to take careful note of the last comma to know which part of the argument the current section refers to. This always baffles me. I was never good with my use of punctuation. And I do things like start sentences with ‘and’. Liz would he ashamed of me.
I skimmed it too quick. I do that a lot with a lot of books. Read quickly with the intent of getting the book done so I can start a new tantalisingly exiting book that’s calling me from the shelf. I’m too impatient to enjoy being present. I suspect that spills over into life too
Anyhow. Reading it again, slowly, a chapter a day, I begin to get a bit more of the depth of what he says.
in the call of Jesus one is met by the fulfilled promise of god as valid for him or her. In and with the command of Jesus, solid ground is placed under their feet when they are on the point of falling into the abyss. What the command requires if them is simply, but comprehensively, that in practice as well as in theory they should regard it as able to bear him, and stand on it, and no longer leave it.
We do not trust in “an idea of Christ, or a christology, or a christocentric system of thought…” The call to “follow me” is the call to accept and pursue and stand firm on an actuality.

A man without a country

This guy put me onto Vonnegut just after he dies. Vonnegut that is not Jason. I am eternally grateful for that.

The guy who made this give me this book:

So I figured I’d give you a bunch of quotes to chew over:

On Karl Marx

When Marx wrote those words we hadn’t even freed our slaves yet. Who do you imagine was more pleasing in the eyes of God back then, Karl Marx, or the USA?

On career choice

if you really want to hurt your parents and you haven’t the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts

On taking Pall Mall to court

i have never chain-smoked anything but unfiltered Pall-malls (since I was 12) and for many years they have promised to kill me. But I am now 82, thanks a lot you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon. [Vonnegut died from a head injury in the end]

On marriage and community

when a couple has an argument nowadays, they may think it’s about money or power or sex or how to raise the kids or whatever. But what they’re really saying to each other, though without realising it is this: “you are not enough people!”

On Jesus

how do humanists feel about jesus? I say of jesus, as all humanists do, “if what he said is good, and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?”

But if Christ hadn’t delivered the sermon on the mount with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn’t want to be a human being.

Most of the time I think we have more in common with the humanists than almost anyone else but the sermon on the mount falls flat for me without the divinity.

Anyhow, read more Vonnegut, it’ll do you good.

Kiss The Rain

One is immensely proud of oneself

[You have to say the title more as “Keesh Le Rain” to get the joke…]

Better Together

We got married.

It was kind of fun.

Most of you were there. Thanks for coming, we appreciate it.

Once me and Simy had got the bouncy castle sorted I finally had to let go of the reigns and let the party run itself. We’d spent so long organising the damn thing that it was hard to let go of being in control. I have issues with control I think.

But you ask people to do stuff for you and you give them their job and you let them run with it. And they nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. Everyone.

One would think I should have been nervous about getting married. But not a bit of it. I was more worried as to whether it would piss down and we’d arranged for 300 people to stand in a tend in a car park in the rain. I would have felt bad if that had happened.

As for getting married I was cool with that. It seemed like a great idea. And I still think it is so why would I worry? I trusted Wylie would turn up and she did.

I still get all teary thinking about the speeches. I missed my Da. I still do. I always will. I suppose that’s how it works.

Here’s to the Nylies. (Copyright Deb Byrne, all rights reserved)

A holiday at the sea

There may be other things to do in the outer hebrides on honeymoon but between world cup matches I did manage to get through a few books:

– The Idiot – Dostoyevsky – I like Dostoyevsky, I really do but I find all the Russian patronymics a litte bit bewildering to follow. Myshkin is a pretty cool character though, especially in the context of his peers

– Philapelphia here I come – Brian Friel – when I read screenplays I can’t help but picture myself watching a performance somewhere

– The Reason for God – Tim Keller – written with enough sense to realise that reason will only get us so far

– The Four Loves – CS Lewis – so good we got Zoomtard to read it at our wedding. Well a little bit of it anyhow.

– Gilead – Marilynne Robinson – I don’t think I got all the beauty and depths of theology the first time I read this. I read it too quick. This is a book to be savoured. Preferrably with a setting sun and a single malt

– Life Together – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – I think I’ve quoted enough from this for now…


July 2010