Thursday, April 29, 2010

Excerpt Of Literature

Part I

Meanwhile, Great-heart commanded the others to find crowbars and wedges. pulleys, and ropes wherewith to pull down the walls of Doubt. "There must not remain one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down," commanded he.
In the process of searching for tools, Honest and the two brothers found themselves amid the clutter and trash of the (dead) giant (Despair's) apartment (for 'tis oft the case that the servants of evil are quite messy. And the reason? Why, to drive away any angel visitants from the kingdom of light - for amidst confusion they cannot long abide).

Then Joseph shouted down from the apartment window, "Great-heart! You should see a these statues of naked people here in the witch's (the giants wife, Diffidence) apartment!"
"Remember your covenant, Joseph," he warned. "Look not upon them, lest you be defiled by them."
"What then?"
"Obey the Scriptures. Smash them!"
So Joseph kept his soul pure by keeping his eyes above the necks of the voluptuous statues. One by one thirteen idols where beheaded and smashed into heaps of dusty rubble.
Then James came forth from the library carrying several ancients books and reading them amusedly from one of them. Shouting from the window he said, "Great-heart!" The Giant even has a library of joke books. Why, here is one called 'Nations Geography' that speaks of millions of years to create one little worm! Can you imagine!"
" 'Tis science- falsely so-called. Those books are the very cornerstone of Doubt. Burn them. Burn them all!"
"What about these funny paintings of monkeys turning into men?"
"To the flames with them!" Commanded Great-heart. "Don't even look upon them. Let us return this castle (of Doubt) to the jungle."
So they fell hard to destroying the abominable statues, vile images, deceitful books, and all the instruments and appendages of demon worship. Then they set out to bring down the walls and towers of Doubting Castle (which was not so hard now that the cornerstones had been consigned to the flames.)

- (in the dungeon, Matthew and Samuel are releasing prisoners of the dead Despair, and Doubting Castle) -

"There was a loud creaking sound as Matthew forced back the rusty door, saying, "There you are, professor. Free as a bird."
"Thank you, lad. Thank you very much. You may address me as Dr. Liberal."
"Don't thank us, Doctor," responded Matthew. "Thank God."
"God! Hmmph," snorted the man as he gathered up some papers. "Don't you know yet? There is no such a thing as God!"
"What!" Exclaimed Matthew incredulously. "No God!"
"You heard me correctly, lad. God is a figment of man's imagination - word invented to describe undiscovered technology."
"But the religion of Christ..."
"Ah, yes. Religion - a powerful tool of the priestly caste used to control weak men's minds."
Just then came a thunderous crash as another pillar of Doubt crashed to the ground.
"We, say what you want, friend," answered Matthew nervously. "We have opened the door to freedom. You can either escape with us for find your own way out."
"Out! Ha! This dungeon is an intricate maze from which none have escaped. How do you propose to find a way out? He challenged belligerently.
"We'll pray at each point of decision," answered Matthew confidently.
"Pray! Mocked the man with an all-knowing chuckle that sent ripples cascading down his long, flowing academic robes. "Ha, ha, ha! Surely you can't be serious!"
"We also accompany our prayers with action," added Samuel.
"Action? What action?"
"Well," said Samuel as he picked up a loose cobblestone, every time we encounter a mirror of confusion (which was seemingly on every wall of the dungeon in order to bring confusion to the walkers of the dungeon halls) we make our way easier by smashing it."
"What! Hey! Wait, wait, wait!" He protested. "This maze of Doubt has taken years to construct! It is a word-famous work of art!"
"Built for the destruction of souls!" Declared Matthew.
"Souls! Bah!" Scoffed the man. "There are no souls. This life is all I have."
"Well then, all the more reason to follow us out lest all you have be lost," answered Matthew. "A stone strait ahead, Samuel."
And this Samuel did wish smashing success.
"Stop!" Cried the scholar.
"Another other to the right, Sammy."
"I said stop!" Shouted the earned professor amidst the sounds of shattering glass. "You are desecrating fine art!"
"We are saving our lives!" Shouted Matthew amid the thunderous sounds of another great battlement crashing down above them. "Our brothers don't know about this maze. They must think we're already out."
"Brothers! And just what are your barbaric brothers doing up there?" Demanded the professor.
"They are destroying Doubting Castle."
"What! and what about a the giant's (Despairs) exquisite statues?""Well, if I know master Great-heart, they are' no doubt reduced to a heap of dust by now," answered Matthew. "Come along now."
"And what about he paintings?"
"Probably gloating away in a cloud of smoke. Are you coming?"
"And the library?"
"The same. Come, everyone. Hurry! Lead the way, Samuel." So Samuel started out, towing Despondency and (his daughter) Much-afraid (whom they had found in the dungeon earlier) along by their hands. Matthew, loathe to lose the indignant scholar, tried once again to persuade him. "And you? Are you coming?"
"You destructive barbarians! Away with you!"
"Do you know the way out?"
"I don't need your ignorant help, if that's what you mean!"
"We have the only light." (the light was the life of men, and the light shined in the Darkness: John 1)
"Light? Light is only an impingement of photons on our retina causing complicated molecular changes that send electrical signals to the inner recesses of our brain."
"In plain English, light is only an illusion."
"That's funny. It works well enough for me. And what about darkness?"
"What is real? What is not? Who really knows?"
"I do. Follow me and see!"
"Matthew!" Cried Samuel from far up the tunnel. Then came another great crashing sound.
"Coming! Come on, friend. We can debate truth up top."
"Truth! What is truth? Can it even be debated?"
The renewed sounds of falling timbers and crashing stones added further urgency to Matthew's voice. "Later. Later!" he commanded. "You must hurry!"
A shower of dust and debris from above added weight to Marthe's command and even the professor saw that philosophical discussions could wait for another day. "Oh, very well," answered he petulantly. "Just let me get my Doctor's degree. Takes years to earn one you know. A fellow can't get a decent job without one."
Another collapsing wall shook the earth and sent a cloud of dust roiling down into the dungeon.
.... Turning back, (Matthew) was dismayed to see nothing by the Doctor's backside as he dug among all his many articles and dissertations (looking for his Doctor's degree).
"Be right with you. I seem to have misplaced my degree," muttered the scholar. In his frantic search he scattered reams of paper about in a virtual snowstorm. "I could have sworn I had it right here. I look at it every morning, you know. Perhaps I have hit it under the chamber pot."
"Forget it! There is not time"
"Time? Time is only another illusion. But my degree is my touchstone of reality. Now where on earth did I put it? Perhaps in my dissertation."
"... Well, I'm going, sir. Catch me if you can." And with that, Matthew turned to rejoin Samuel and his charges who were growing increasingly fearful of being buried alive.
"I'll be right there," muttered the over-intelligent Doctor of Philosophy as he continues his search in the rapidly darkening dungeon. "My! You would think that in such a small cell as this, one could certainly find a simple, gold-leafed degree, wouldn't you? Hmmm. Perhaps it is in the pocket of my gown..."
Meanwhile, Matthew had gotten himself caught up and was leading the ascent up the last, twisting stairway. And so they made their escape just moments before a tottering wall crashed down and buried the last exit from Despair's dungeon.... "

- Pilgrim's Progress, Part 2: Christiana. (An unabridged retelling of John Bunyan's immortal classic) -

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stepp'n Forward

"If you take that first step into the unknown;
He won't let you go;
So what are ya wait'n for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities are trying to hold onto you;
You were made for more...."

About three weeks ago I started working at an excellent job. You might as well know, the jobs is at Menards. I work in the wonderful-sounding "Wall Coverings Department."
Sound glamorous? Well, one doesn't realize that part of the wall coverings department is Pet-'N Grocery.

It's a good job, don't get me wrong! It's good money for good work! I'm learning stuff (like what a... uuhh.... what is it called??... stuff about Hardware that I didn't know before :-D).

There are a few people who I like hang'n out with (such a relative term when it revolves around body-building-type-work). Some really moral, decent, good, hard working people. People I can relate to, really, which is totally awesome!
In my department, however, there is the looming possibility that I'm the only Christian (committed or non)... a rather... intimidating type of possibility. I know for sure of two other guys in the store who are Christian.

I have also noticed in my jobs previous this one that, whether or not your in a Christian environment, one does not talk about their faith. Period. The end. Don't even think about discussing it, 'cause you'll just get a really odd looked, and probably marked a "prude."
So, I have fallen back to the strategy the other Christian's (who I have no doubt are there) have taken to. This strategy is brilliant! It should be patent! And oh so easy to! And the entire process takes four simple steps.
A) Silence.
B) Don't react (ever)
C) Continue your secluded, lonely, silence.
D) Don't overtly act like your a Christian.
Disclaimer: Don't worry. They'll figure it out any way (if you're walkin' your talk). Just try not to be too prudish.
Simple, huh?!
Thought it would be real great to just follow this procedure and get around the fact that we, as Christians, are called to "go and make fishers of men."
Thought I could totally get away with the whole Jonah idea, and hide from my calling (as a follower of Christ.) Thought it would be simple to fraternize with the "other side" of the world, without actually having to be, act our my faith in overt ways that those around me obviously see.
Ladies, and gentlemen, please don't try this at home, work, or anywhere else.
"The Truth" will most definitely "set you free." And "there is nothing hidden from the Lord."
God thoroughly laughed at me. In my face, rather hysterically, if I didn't know any better.

Listening to Britt Nicole's, "The Lost Get Found" before going to work on Friday, I was thinking it would be so incredibly easy to continue my hiding, and not come out and admit that, "yes, I'm basically enmeshed with the church. Grew up in it, worked in it, ministered with it, and committed to it! Yup! That's me!"
The irony of God's timing is brilliant. Really! He ought to be a comedian!

Friday evening, one of the guys who works in Hard Ware (which is next to my department) came over to talk for a couple minutes, during a "dead as a door-knob" time. The typical, "how's work? Ya enjoyin' it," type of stuff. Not rocket science or anything.
But then, oh to my amazement, I cringed. The next question, whose answer I wasn't ready to totally scream to the rest of the world, but a skeleton that I couldn't very well hide in the closet much longer, as it was beginning to become more of a nuisance than help.
"Where did you work before this?"
I cringed. And, I'm sure, my sudden halt in lifting the over-sized dog-crate box up the ladder was more than obvious to this acquaintance.
"Uuhh.... Welll.... I worked in child care." HA HA!
"Oh. Where?" *all smiles*
Darn. It didn't work.
"At a church."
Now, one must remember that talking on the job is something that is heartily looked down upon by the managers if you are a good worker.
By this time, the guy from Hard ware had begun to edge his way back to his department, so it was really hard to tell what exactly the "oh" that followed meant. Despite my utter confusion to this not-at-all-strong, rather-apathetic-reaction, I have found it's one that actually kind'a common here. Sort'a, and not really.
People either react with raised eye-brows, and a disapproving shake of their head, followed by retorts of, "Christians are boring," "you never do anything," "you're a prude," etc., etc. Or a non-reactive-reaction.
The latter is far less common, and terribly annoying.
Especially when there isn't even a hint of bias.

"Don't let your light go down; Don't let your fire burn out;
'Cause some where, somebody needs a reason to believe.
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out! That's how the lost get found! That's how the lost get found!
So if you get the chance, are you gonna take it?
There's a really big world at your finger tips,
and you know you've got the chance to change it."

~ Britt Nicole, 'Lost Get Found'

Britt Nicole's new CD has been my new favorite, and constant reminder for
who I am,
who God is,
and what He expects me to be.

a) Follower and obeyer of His commands and words
b) A Fisher of Men.

Which reminds me of my all-time favorite Sunday School Song,
"Go and be Fishers of men, fishers, of men, fishers of men... Will you follow me? Will you follow me? Will you follow me? God and be fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men.... And follow me..."
We used to sing that every Sunday when I was little, in the South West. My Sunday School teacher at that church was committed to the calling of going out into the world yet not being of the world and inviting people onto the The Way of the King, through our thoughts, words and actions.

In all my previous jobs, I was "a Christian" by default.

This time, I'm a Christian, on the job, with a mission, and a deep conviction, by choice.

Which means that all that I think, say and do must reflect that.

The whole concept of Prudishness is an absolute must to a committed Christian's decisions in life.
The call of evangelism demands a higher standard, a standard you hold yourself to.
A standard you don't ask of others.
I'm sorry, this sounds prideful, doesn't it? I'm just trying to process through some stuff!
But as followers of Yhwh, we have no choice! Christ never said, "uh, yeah, if you find that one thing really hard to believe, than don't worry about it!" He makes it very clear that "Believe me or not!" "If you are not for me, than you are against me..." And again, "there is no way to the Father except through Me!" Malachi states this way back in the old Testament,

"'They will be mine,' says the Lord of Hosts, 'on the day that I prepare My own possession,
and I will spare them as a man spares his own sons who serve him.
So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked,
between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him."
(Malachi 3:17-18)

I'm not saying anything about those who are on both sides of the fence (necessarily, but certainly not pointedly). I'm just stating, that one must decide one way or another. I happen to decide to be proactive in my faith, rather than it being a fall-back, or something I do when my mental and emotional states of being switch to auto-pilot (when things get stressful). Not to say I wasn't committed before, just another step in the grand scheme of things.

One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.

"You look around, it's staring back at you;
Another wave of doubt will pull you under;
You wonder: What if I'm overtaken,
what if I never make it,
what if no one's there?
Will you hear my prayer?
When you take that first step into the unknown;
He won't let you go!
What are you waiting for?"
Both the beginning and ending quotes are from Britt Nicole's "Walk on Water," from her "The Lost Get Found" album (2009).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Certain Women...

*sniff* *sniff* sniff*

Let me just go grab that box of tissues... hang on a second!

Okay, the book Certain Women, by Madeleine L'Engle, is an incredible, masterfully woven piece of art!

The story of David is one that most of the world is, at least relatively, familiar with. The Christian world is certainly familiar with Dave's tale. Chosen-ness by God, betrayal, attempted murder, romance, adultery, death, redemption, power-grabs.... True Drama. Perhaps even a tragedy. No, it is a tragedy. An unresolved ending in regards to David's family.
His spirituality - his relationship with God, perhaps more of a comedy: an unexpected ending!

L'Engle weaves together a tale for you paralleling that of King David's family life; romance, anguish, divorce, unfaithfulness, adultery, unforgiveness, but in the end... redemption!!

Ahh, sweet, sweet redemption!

'My strong habitation, where unto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandments to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.'
I do believe this hymn, 'Be Though My Strong Habitation!" more or less sums up this wonderful book.

A definite must read for L'Engle fans :)

God richly bless and keep you this week!
Miss Elisabeth!

"And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and our of the hand of Saul.
And he said, 'The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The God of my rock; in him will I trust; he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
He brought me forth also into a large place: He delivered me, because he delighted in me.'"
II Samuel 22:103,11,18,20.

Monday, April 5, 2010

So much to write... So little time... A listening ear?

What is the purpose of writing but to express ones' opinions, thoughts, deepest longings and dreams.
Too many times I have picked up a book, read a blog, or happened upon an essay or speech that was completely lacking in emotion, passion, and all over-personification.
The author had no personal connection to their subject, leaving the reader entirely wanting!
Beyond aggravating!

I suppose I can relate, however.... No, I know for a fact that I can more than relate. I understand to a T the angst a writer feels as they begin the process of bringing to public attention their innermost being. Or in my case, I understand the anxiety associated with slightly-burnt-orange "Publish Post" button on the lower left corner of my computer screen.
"What will the reader think? What if I offend them?"

When Anne Shirley tells Myrilla Cuthbert, "Oh Myrilla, if you only knew how much I wanted to say but don't... you'd give me some credit."
The sign of a true "authorette!"

There are so many things I personally have written about, I could easily make at least a few volume-novels out of them. Whether they would actually be read or not is completely beyond me, nor do I have any inkling of desire to find out.
"The world may know my words, but it has no such privileges with my heart..."
("Jane Austen..." by Beth Pattillo, page 233)

But, as a writer by nature (writing in odd places, about whatever comes to mind, rain, sleet, snow or hail), I've come to a rather intimidating cross-roads: publish to the world those things, those thoughts and ideas, which are most dear to my heart - my more personal opinions and thoughts - and risk scrutiny and offending others, or continue hiding them away, carefully picking through those thoughts which are "acceptable" for public consumption, and those which I desire not to share with the world, for fear of being looked upon unkindly.

(Book of the Week: Jane Austen Ruined My Life, by Beth Pattillo)

Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?