Unveiled Faces


I’m currently reading The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard’s sprawling, profound book on The Sermon on the Mount. I just came across these paragraphs:

Interestingly, “growing up” is largely a matter of learning to hide our spirit behind our face, eyes, and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear. By contrast, the child’s face is a constant epiphany because it doesn’t yet know how to do this. It cannot manage its face. This is also true of adults in moments of great feeling—which is one reason why feeling is both greatly treasured and greatly feared.
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Becoming Jane: Culture and Passion in Tension

One of the advantages to living in a situation where there are no culturally accepted rules for how to engage in the opposite sex is that, well, you get to do whatever you want to do with very little interference.

Of course, it hasn’t always been that way.

I watched Becoming Jane this weekend with my wife. Have you seen it? It’s the story of how Jane Austen became Jane Austen, the writer of some of the world’s greatest and most enduring romances.

As an aside, guys, if you really want to impress your girlfriends, read Pride and Prejudice and talk about how great Mr. Darcy is and how much you want to be like him. Seriously. It will go well for you.

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a pretty straightforward plot: Jane, whose family is very poor, has a chance to marry a very wealthy man for whom she has no affection.

The Blind Man and the Elephant

It seems that it is not as easy as it once was to speak about all religions as if they are the exact same thing just dressed in different clothing for different people groups at different times in history. With the continuing high profile of Islamic terror activities, stark contrasts are being presented between Islam and the other world religions. Islam is not the same as Buddhism, and Buddhism is not the same as Christianity, and so on. It is very unlikely that all of them are leading to heaven, God, or nirvana. This is much easier to grasp than it used to be.
I remember learning a very old and famous fable in grade school as the teacher tried to demonstrate that all the religions are really, underneath the surface, one and the same. You’ve probably heard it at one point or another and it goes like this.
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Hello Dali... and where do you belong?

I'm sitting in the airport, getting ready to board the flight to Great Falls so that I can teach I Corinthians this week in a Bible School there. Meanwhile, the Dali Lama will continue his teaching/preaching tour of Seattle, finding record turnouts everywhere he goes.

What I find intriguing is the response I've receive, via e-mail, from various members of the Christian community. To my right is an e-mail vilifying the Dali, warning me sand mandalas are thinly veiled disguises for labyrinths, which are thinly veiled disguises for eastern monism, which is a thinly veiled disguise for Satan himself. Ergo: sand art = Satan. To my left are friends praising the Dali Lama's teaching as "precisely the right word for our time." If you want to know what he said in Seattle yesterday, you can find that here.
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Dr. Cook: We Will Meet, But We Will Miss Him.

Dr. Cook was a gentleman.

Think how rare such a simple description must be.

He was as gracious to the person serving the table as he was to the honored guest. Once I saw him, when he could not know I was watching, grow quietly mournful when he heard a student was suffering. Biola is a big place and such compassion in a leader of a major educational institution is perhaps more talking about than seen.

I saw it in Dr. Cook.

He was willing, perhaps too willing, to give others the credit for the major initiatives of his presidency, but he was the steady hand that made any initiative possible. He was not a self-promoter, but a Christ-honoring man.

If Moses was the meekest man who ever lived, then Dr. Cook as I knew him was surely of his kind. Mercy without weakness is rare, but he had both.

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Poetry Friday: Billy Collins

Today's poet is Billy Collins, New York City native, U.S. Poet Laureate since 2001 (aren't you glad, in spite of our country's general disregard for the arts in general and poetry in particular, that we have a poet laureate?), and recipient of most of the prestigious fellowships and awards that you can earn as a living American poet. Collins' poetry is simultaneously accessible and profound.

He has a website called Action Poetry, a collection of short films of his poetry, which I highly recommend - especially if you don't "like" or "get" poetry. The poem below is included on the website.

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Abnormal

In the months immediately following my heart surgery, my every waking moment was consumed with wondering if I'd live to take another breath.  I know some people will think that this is an exaggeration.  It isn't.   I could feel my heart beating and I was literally waiting for it to stop. 

Now, a few years later, my thinking is not usually dominated by my own mortality, but rather by my life.  I am blessed to be healthy enough that I spend most of my time wondering when I'll get to picking up the dry cleaning or perform some other task that needs attention ASAP.  I don't always look at the monotonous tasks of a wife and mother as a luxury, but in reality, they are. 

However, once in a while, something will occur that gets my mind swirling back to the precarious line I walk between life and death.  This week, that something was my Annual Physical. 

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BANG A DRUM for THE VISITOR

People always ask me, "Why does Hollywood turn out so many loud, abrasive, empty-headed movies?"  Do movies have to insult our intelligence?   Can't we find something life-affirming instead of soul-draining?    The studios suggest that they simply supply what audiences want.  If we supported smaller, independent films loaded with heart, we'd get more of them.   Here comes another golden opportunity.

The most timely and relevant film at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival was THE VISITOR.  It is smart, subtle and filled with sneaky humor.  It puts a human face on the immigration issue and causes us to consider the cost of our post 9/11 policies. The timeless biblical question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" emerges from the movie.   The performances are spot on, brimming with nuance and intelligence. Basically, The Visitor is a brilliant independent film that will likely by overlooked until Oscar time. You can read my complete review here.
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Tags | Film

The (Non)Culture of Romance: You Make the Rules

One of the things that amuses me about the Christian romantic scene is that a lot of people are caught up in discussing the 'right' way to find a spouse.

This is particularly true of a group of people for whom such a conversation is least relevant: high schoolers. Perhaps it's something in the water, but a lot of Christian high schoolers have very strong opinions on what's right and wrong in romance--I know I did.

The debate the last decade has centered around two styles of finding a spouse, neither of which anyone really seems to understand--dating and courting.

It's not really a debate that I'm interested in having, though. In fact, when I think about what I'm going to say to that group of high schoolers I will be speaking to, I'll try to avoid the issue altogether. Why?

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The Risk of Following Jesus

Last weekend I took a motorcycle training course. Random I know. Before last weekend my only experiences on a bike were as a passanger on a friends bike all around the New England area, a few years back. But here I was, in Anaheim, CA, learning to ride a motorcyle. If you know me, you know this is random and yet, you are not surprised I would do something random.

 

Every year, I send out a Carrie Nye update email to friends and family. In this email, I list my learning’s from the previous year and list my goals for the coming year. This year was no exception. I emailed out my Carrie Nye update and in the email I listed getting my motorcycle license as one of my 2008 goals.

 

I love the feeling of freedom that comes with riding a bike. There is nothing like it. Because I am a person who needs purpose and meaning behind action, it was more than wanting the feeling of freedom that gave me the guts to go to motorcycle training school. It was the individual risk of riding that drew me in.

 
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Tags | Global
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