Easter

God did not abolish the fact of evil: He transformed it. He did not stop the crucifixion: He rose from the dead.

– Dorothy Sayers

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Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

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“With that manifest knowledge
which God gave to Adam,
whereby he gave names to Eve
and to the animals,
God did not reveal the discoveries
of things that were concealed;
but in the case
of the hidden knowledge
from the stars downward,
Adam was able to pursue
enquiry into all
that is within this universe.”

Hymns on Paradise 12.16

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Read in 2017

This was a year of re-reading old favorites, mitigating my commute with audio books, and meeting some new and excellent fantasy.

  • The Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner. I enjoyed it, though didn’t see new profundity in the stories. A little less PG than I expected.
  • On the dignity and vocation of women by John Paul II & commentary by Genevieve Kinke. Very good. Very different from most Christian women’ books. (Was reading this on election night 2016)
  • Infertility companion for Catholics by Angelique Ruhi-López, Carmen Santamaría. Extremely helpful.
  • Arabian Nights
  • We Believe by Oscar Lukefahr
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson. It was a long perseverance to finish the book! It’s a commentary on the psalms of ascent that Jews sang on the road to Jerusalem. Some of the chapters were meh for me, some were amazing.
  • The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald. On following when you don’t understand the way.
  • The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
  • Theology of the Body in Simple Language
  • The Two Towers by JRR Tolkein
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (audio)
  • Return of the King by JRR Tolkein. This time through I was struck by the opportunities for redemption. Characters who made a mistake did not have it held against them forever.
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (audio)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (audio)
  • The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkein
  • Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis. Recommended to me. I disagree with a lot (“big government can solve everything!”), but I learned a lot about the history of development and HIV treatment in Africa.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audio)
  • Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Devoured this in 5 days. Most impressive world-building I’ve seen, save Tolkein.
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (audio)
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Good, but I liked the Stormlight series better.
  • Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (audio)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (audio)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret (audio). Lots of whiny and angry children. Movie was better, I think.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (audio)
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. SO GOOD.
  • Signs of Life by Scott Hahn
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling (audio)
  • Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling. Mediocre HP fan fiction.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (audio)
  • Mary Poppins by PL Travers (audio). Definitely different from the movie. I didn’t warm up to Mary as much in the book.
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. I was impressively able to stretch out reading this over about a month. Very good, and I can hardly wait for four years for the next one!
  • Dead Man’s Mirror by Agatha Christie (audio)
  • Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkein. Beautiful, sweet, and a little sad. Highly recommended.

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Silence of God

It’s enough to drive a man crazy, it’ll break a man’s faith
It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s ever been sane
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the Heaven’s only answer is the silence of God

It’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they’ve got
When they tell you all their troubles
Have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
‘Cause we all get lost sometimes

There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He’s kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

– Silence of God by Andrew Peterson

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Suffering

He didn’t suffer so we wouldn’t have to; He suffered so we’d know HOW to.

– seen on Facebook somewhere

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Practicing for Death

“At least three times a day, deny yourself some tiny, legitimate pleasure, such as the extra cigarette, the second drink, or the extra lump of sugar, in order to discipline your spirit and keep mastery over yourself for the love of God.

These little “deaths” are so many rehearsals for the final death. Dying is a masterpiece, and to do it well, we must die daily: ‘If any man would come after me, let him…take up his cross daily’ (Luke 9:23).” – Fulton Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book, via HouseUnseen

I like the idea that we have to practice for death. I touched on it here after reading Pilgrim’s Progress.

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