Category Archives: Uncategorized

Owen Barfield’s Poetry

At the end of June, I had the honour of co-organizing, attending, and presenting at this year’s Centre of Theology and Philosophy conference on The Soul. We had an amazing list of keynote presenters (including Marilynne Robinson) amongst a large number of extremely high-quality papers by other academics, both from students and professionals. Of the many highlights of the event, the grandson of Inkling Owen Barfield, Owen A. Barfield,Jr. was able to attend for one of the conference days. He brought a large number of his grandfather’s works, selling them at a heavily discounted price. It was a treat to be able to meet a person who could share a part of this literary, philosophy, and theological history.

I recently received an e-mail from the official Owen Barfield Literary Estate regarding the release of some previously unpublished poems of Barfield. “Air Castles” is particularly fun, but this one entitled “An Autumn Bicycle-Ride” caught my eye as particularly seasonally appropriate:

The leaves, grown rusty overhead,
Dropped on the road and made it red.
The air that coldly wrapped me round,
Stained by the glowing of the ground,
Had bathed the world in the cosy gloom
Of a great, red-carpeted, firelit room;
It filled my lungs, as I rode along,
Till they overflowed in a flood of song,
And joy grew truculent in my throat,
Uttering a pompous trombone-note;
For this elegant modern soul of mine
Was warm with old Autumn’s rich red wine.

More can be found here.

I was able to snap a picture of Owen A. Barfield (on the right) along with my great friend and colleague, Michael DiFuccia, who recently submitted his PhD thesis on the work of Owen Barfield (the Inkling).

IMG_6190_cropped

It was an honour to meet him and exciting to see him promoting the continued publication of his grandfather’s work.

Mr. C.

Here is an article my mom sent me about my highschool band and jazz instructor, Mr. Christensen.  We all called him “Mr. C.” though.  He was finally given the Merced County Teacher of the Year award this past year.  He was by far among my top high school teachers, and definitely the one I got to know the best, having been in marching, concert, and jazz band for all four years of high school.

Mr. C. was totally an inspiration to me.  He worked us hard in the band room and on the streets and field as well–the first two years of high school we also did field show performances with him and that was probably the hardest I ever had to work in a band, both physically, mentally, and endurance-wise (due to his own time commitments we only did street marching the last couple years of high school, ’96-7, ’97-8).  We all took Mr. C. seriously because he was no joke, especially when it came to jazz.  He still practiced his trumpet every day, and was an accomplished professional jazz musician himself.  So when he told us that we needed to practice every day, we knew he wasn’t full of it.

Something I fondly remember is that Mr. C. made jazz mix tapes for us. Everybody had CD players then in the mid-’90’s, but CD burners didn’t exist yet, and so everybody still had tape players as well.  He made mix tapes of different jazz artists and we would sign up for different ones and check them out for a week and then pass them around to the others in the jazz band until we had exhausted his supply.

Most people know that I was a computer science major in my undergrad, but I actually started out as a music major for my first year of college, mainly under Mr. C.’s influence and inspiration.  I even skipped two semester of music theory because of passing an AP Music Theory test, which Mr. C. had clearly helped prepare me for by never ceasing to teach us scales and chord progressions in jazz band.  [I went through some weird stuff at the end of highschool and I became increasingly reserved, finally discovering that the ‘perform’ part of my music performance degree became nerve-racking and uninteresting, sadly, perhaps.  Hence the change to computer science.]

If I were still in San Diego, I would definitely go up to the Pasadena Rose Parade to see Mr. C.’s Cardinal Regime band play in it on New Year’s day (I hope my sister goes!).  My dad performed in the Rose Parade when he was in high school, so it would definitely be fun for all of us to go, if that were possible.

I’ve gone back to see Mr. C. a few times when my younger brother and sister have been in his band as well, and I’ve consistently been impressed with how he is both able to attract and refine talent in his bands to produce an amazing blend of sound.  Mr. C. clearly deserves his award, and I hope he teaches and continues to inspire for many years to come.

When engulfed in PhD studies

On the same day that we find out that Russell Crowe will be playing both Robin Hood and the Sheriff in Ridley Scott’s Nottingham, I officially begin my PhD studies in the town of the same name.

This morning at 3:45am, Tiana left the house for Rome for a week with our friend Ester who has somewhat extensive ties with the Focolare movement.  So, this week I’ll be missing her while I dive into my studies.

This afternoon I sat in on the first session of Philip Goodchild’s “Continental Philosophy of Religion” module.  Much of this class will be review for me, but a good handful is new and will be really helpful, especially the Nietzsche and Deleuze stuff.  So far (just one day), the module is already bursting at the seams with attendance.  I’m hoping that another module I hope to sit in will also be eagerly attended by taught MA and research students alike.  That module is called “Aesthetics, Philosophy and Religion: From Idealism to Romanticism,” taught by Michael Mack.  That module will cover Spinoza, Herder, Hamman, and Novalis, among others.

Meanwhile, it looks like the $700 billion bailout did not happen and the Dow crashed pretty bad.  No idea what this is really going to mean both in the short and long terms.  My still-living grandmother lived through the great depression, but she told me once that she didn’t really notice as much because she was 9 years old and lived on a farm that was able to sustain itself.  Because I can’t offer anything approaching coherence on the present economic crisis, John Médaille offers some informed thoughts here.

Sam and the Christian Peacemakers

Listen to an interview on KBPS (local San Diego NPR station) with my friend Sam Nichols who recently went to the Palestinian West Bank with the Christian Peacemakers team.

Google Books: Canon Press books made free

Canon Press’ books, which includes Peter Leithart’s Against Christianity, are now free in full text on Google Books.

(via)

Prayer for Chiara Lubich

This is from Zenit:

Pope Encourages Hospitalized Focolare Founder
Chiara Lubich Admitted for Breathing Difficulties

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent a message of encouragement to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare movement, who has been hospitalized in the Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic.

According to a press statement released today by the Focolare movement, Lubich, 88, arrived to the hospital in February for a scheduled checkup, but stayed due to breathing difficulties.

According to professor Salvatore Valente, chair of the Division of Respiratory Physiology at the clinic, the founder’s breathing is insufficient and she has been put on an artificial respirator. “For the moment,” he said, “a tendency to recuperate breathing on her own has not appeared.”

Benedict XVI sent “a special blessing” in his letter to Lubich, said the press release.

The Pope said, “I am keeping informed of the trials you are going through and I hope to assure you in this difficult moment that I am remembering you in my prayers so that the Lord gives you physical relief, spiritual consolation, and shows you signs of his benevolence, allowing you to experience the redemptive value of the suffering lived in profound communion with him.”

The communiqué reported that Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople visited Lubich, living with her a moment “rich in spirituality and of profound communion.”

The patriarch was in Rome last week to visit Benedict XVI and to mark to mark the 90th anniversary of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

The patriarch said after visiting Lubich: “I wanted to come to deliver my personal greeting, and that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, to the beloved Chiara Lubich, who has given and continues to give to the whole Church. I also imparted to her my blessing. I am happy that I was able to visit her.”

Lubich was also visited by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Catholic lay Community of Sant’Egidio.

A good friend of ours informs us that the worldwide Focolare community is in prayer for her. I would encourage the same.

Request

From my friend Anthony:

A good friend of mine here in Nottingham just had his laptop, with all the work for his PhD dissertation, stolen along with his wife’s laptop. Basically some asshole broke their living room window and found the two things of value in the house. He and his wife have suffered a very hard year; losing a parent to cancer with all the financial burdens of traveling from England to the US to be with them on top of that. This has just made everything that much harder for no good reason at all. The cops have told them they won’t really be able to find the computers, even though they know likely did it. I’m wondering if anyone in The Weblog community would help raise whatever funds we can to help them get back on their feet. If you could give anywhere from £5 ($10) up we could really help them out.

Please click here for the rest of the instructions.  I can vouch for Anthony and the request he is making for his friend, whom I met last September at the ‘Belief and Metaphysics’ conference.  This is such a sucky blow to a great guy.

Read this dude, and this dude too

I don’t know why more people don’t link to this guy, but you should probably be reading the great posts over at Religiocity.

And of utmost importance is that my good friend Nate just started up his own blog/podcast dealie called MicandCamera.com. He’s been takin’ audio samples for years and years now, so this is a really unique way to catch a few glimpses of some usual and not-so-usual sounds. I imagine he has enough material already stored up to keep that podcast going for a few years!

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has passed away.

Indexed, who, in the spirit of Lisa Simpson doing-T’ai-Chi-while-drinking-chai-tea and-drawing-Venn-diagrams, has this to say:

Making of Dr. Who Theme

Quite an amazing video. Note how many times he refers to how what he is doing is the more ‘modern’ version of the Dr. Who theme. It sounds kind of funny in retrospect, especially considering so much of what he is doing is now affordably replicated in software synths.

(Found via the Computer Music Blog)

David Overholt: Still ‘Streaming’!

David Overholt - Self Portrait

One of my best friends–David Overholt–is okay. But, we had quite a scare a couple mornings ago. Around 7:30-ish in the morning, I found Dave-O having some ‘tonic-clonic’ seizures (a common name for them is ‘grand mal’ seizures). At the time, I didn’t know that that was what was going on, so I called 911 after realizing he wasn’t responsive at all to my questioning and the paramedics arrived within minutes to whisk him away to Scripps Mercy Hospital. Under heavy sedation from hospital-administered drugs and with a breathing tube making him breathe, he remained in this state for a little over 24 hours.

As of around 1pm-ish yesterday, Dave-O has since woken up, and is as hilarious as ever! Thank God. He’s been pretty drugged up, but quite responsive, and able to answer all the questions that the doctors were asking. His throat is a bit sore, but that’s probably the least of his worries at the moment.

Dave-O’s Mom flew in from Oklahoma City last night and was able to visit him. A group of us made him some really silly cards out of placemats and crayons from Pizza Nova, delivering them to him after his mom exited the ICU. We also smuggled in some barbecue chicken pizza for him — his favourite.

The neurologist that I spoke to yesterday in the late afternoon seemed to be pretty sure of the types of seizures that David was having, so we are very thankful that the road to diagnosis is not so unsure any longer. Now the challenge is just figuring out which kind of medication he will have to take, but many people have this kind of thing in their life and are able to function quite normally.

Truth is, if the hospital had a workable WiFi connection, David would already be blogging about his medical adventures, as his laptop and other technological affects are at his bedside.

We are very thankful that David is still kickin’ –albeit groggily for now– and in usual Dave-O fashion.

As a last-minute update, I’ve just received word from my friend Danielle that he is doing so much better than even yesterday. She said that he’s responding as quickly to things as he usually does, so it seems like all those sedatives have finally worn off. Again, we are all very thankful for our friend David.

My new blog

Welcome to my new blog. Update your links to:

http://www.ericaustinlee.com

And your RSS feed to the following:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/LifesParadox

I have moved away from LiveJournal. I still love LJ, but I’ve been meaning to move my writing over to my own site for a while now. I’ve imported all my old posts from LJ as well, sans comments.

I had been taking some time — far too long– because I had deluded myself into thinking that I would have time to actually come up with my own design. Well, I don’t have the time I would like, so as odd as this may sound to everybody outside of myself, I learned it’s okay to just use somebody else’s spiffy design.

We’ll see if I actually start writing in these new digs!

Sunrise of the 80’s

Absolutely gorgeous 3D artwork:

Sunrise of the 80’s– After the end of the year 2006, I had more free time to spend thanusual so I started to work on my new personal project. I call it“Sunrise of the 80’s”. It took me about 3 weeks of work, mainly duringthe nights and creative moments of the short winter days. In thebeginning it was planned as night street scene but during one week ofplaying with lighting and testing I reached sunrise once again …

More here. Check out, especially, ‘Street of Memories‘ and ‘Heritage‘.

“Shake and Bake”

Too early. Well, 8am now, but I got up a couple hours ago to do homework.

Today not looking too bright. Very tired. Very over all this reading and schoolwork. Very over Ezekiel 16Open Link in New Window & 23. Sounding like Rorschach from Watchmen. Leaving out verbs.

Looking forward to restful evening. Bazarab going well. Work finally paying off. Horsies.

Telling God’s Story

Check out Jamie Smith’s very kind words about my pastor’s upcoming book called Telling God’s Story, which is coming out in May. Also, check out the other blurbs by Ray Anderson, Stanley Hauerwas, Marva Dawn, Brent Laytham, and Ron Benefiel.

This book on preaching is slated for May 2007.

I had the opportunity to see Eugene Peterson today during PLNU’s annual Writers Symposium by the sea. Peterson is most well-known for his translations of the Bible called ‘The Message,’ although he’s more properly known in pastor circles as somebody who publishes much more on the topic of pastoring. I don’t have the time to recount all the wonderful and funny things that Peterson talked about today, but he focused a lot on narrative and story for pastoring. Great connections between what these two gifted people are doing in witness to Christ through story-telling. When it is posted, I’ll try and remember to post a link to the video to today’s and yesterday’s event (Anne Lamott was here yesterday) on the UCSD TV website.

The appeasement of ‘the public square’

Well, I hesitate to blog about this, because it touches on some extremely heated discussions over the past few years up until the present, but here goes.

First, exhibit A:

John Edwards creates consensus!, posted by Carl Olson, author and blogger at the Ignatius Press’ blog called “Insight Scoop.” If you’re bored and are not familiar with the debate thus far, there are plenty of links offered by Carl to catch up.

Second, exhibit B:

Donohue and the Jews, a blog post by Dave Neiwert at the blog Orcinus, a blog that tirelessly reports on hate crimes, pseudo-fascism, and eliminationalist rhetoric in America.

Now, let’s see if I can be very careful about this. I love both of these blogs. Concerning Ignatius Insight, Roman Catholicism, etc.: while I am what might be described as a “Eucharist- and Christ-centred Nazarene,” I am not, as a protestant, anti-Catholic. Those who know me know that I have great Roman Catholic friends and have blogged over the past couple years about my involvement with friendships with Catholics and ecumenical talks — especially recently. Also, to get some “stances” out of the way, I am completely pro-life in the “whole fabric of life” sense of the term: for having children (thus, against abortion), and for harmonious, active peace in the world (thus, a non-passive pacifist against war: see Hauerwas, Yoder, et. al. on this). All life is a precious gift from God, and it is not ours to decide what we want to do with it. And, concerning Carl Olson, I believe strongly that his apologetic efforts in his books Will Catholics Be Left Behind? and The Da Vinci Hoax are invaluable services to the church catholic.

Concerning Dave Neiwert and the work he does on his blog and in his books, I think he also offers a wonderful service to those concerned about eliminationalistic rhetoric on the airwaves. He tirelessly documents the continuing sins of things that should “never happen again”: the Japanese internment during WWII and those that continue to want to get rid of the current ‘undesireables’ of today in similar situations (e.g. Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et. al.); hate crimes continued in parts of the country enacted through the preservation of some arbitrary barrier whether it be race, borders (thus, immigrants), anti-Muslim hate crimes; etc. His series on Newspeak, Pseudo-Fascism, and Eliminationalism are carefully documented historical looks of where America has been, what it’s doing now, and how pervasive elements within society continue to reactively spread hate, lies, and violence. His work is not to be missed because most people just do not report about it or even care.

But, I am disappointed in two of my favourite bloggers tonight.

All this reactive nonsense dealing in ‘the public square’ really clouds people’s vision, I think. Yes, I think the comments the Jonathan Edward’s hired assistants were execrable. Yes, Mel Gibson, his father, and their schismatic form of Catholicism (and I mean this quite seriously that he is a schismatic) have continued to prove that sadly, he and they are vehemently anti-semitic.

But what is this all about? Why are people so up in arms about this stuff? Why do people care? There are a lot more anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic fish in the sea. Everybody is a bigot. Bill Donohue is a bigot. Mel Gibson is a bigot. John Edward’s assistants are bigots. Rush Limbaugh is a bigot. Da Vinci code is bigoted. Pat Robertson is a bigot. This is all true, and seriously so. But that word has lost all meaning at this point, don’t you think?

Aren’t we all sinners?

“Oh but wait a second, Eric, you can’t bring ‘sin talk’ into this! We’re talking about The Passion of the Christ and a Presidential campaign here. These are important issues about a very popular movie and about a potential presidency. That rhetoric of sin misses the point.”

Oh, does it now? (i.e. ORLY?) What point?

“The point is that first, you can’t chaulk this stuff up to ‘sin’ in the public sphere, and second, you sound an awful lot like you’re just trying to gloss over the issue and give everybody a pass! Which side are you on in this? Either you’re a liberal defending Edwards and the likes of Dave Neiwert or your a theo-con defending the Roman Catholic church, Mel Gibson, and Rush Limbaugh!”

Oh, am I? I’m not saying we should keep sinning: by no means! What I’m talking about here is this primacy of ‘the public sphere’ and how it distracts us away from what is really important: loving God with all our being and loving our neighbor (including our enemy) as ourself.

“Oh, you can’t just simplify it down to that!”

Why can’t I? I’m trying to change the question here. My question goes something like this: How can we most faithfully love and worship the Triune God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourself, which includes loving our enemy? I’m not asking “how can we best” do these things, because God does not play favorites, but meets us each where we are in our varying times and contexts. In engaging in the works of mercy by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the shelter-less, being with the sick, and visiting the prisoner, I don’t see what a presidential hopeful and some bigoted assistants have much to do with this being faithful.

“But presidents make decisions on the federal level that affect all of this so you can’t say that he has nothing to do with this.”

Sure I can. Even if, heaven forbid, the president declared that we couldn’t feed the poor, etc., we’d still find a way to be faithful. We only serve one master, and it isn’t Caesar. Even the local ‘Republican’ leadership in San Diego has done much to hinder our efforts to feed the poor and clothe the naked in the downtown area, yet the church I am a member of barely knows how to give out all the food donations we know receive. We do our best to submit to authority, but that is not equal to obedience. A Christians faithfulness is never determined by his or her worldly liberty. I am in no way advocating for mass incarceration, but we easily forget that so much of the New Testament was written from prison! One’s true liberty is always found in their faithfulness to the Father by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Instead, the question that dominates the airwaves and the blogosphere goes something like this: because these public things like the office of the presidency, Hollywood movies* have such an [top-down] ‘impact’ on life in America, how can we do our best to rally around or against these hotly-debated topics so that we can control the conversation? Admittedly, this is only implicitly asked, but I’m convinced it is there — why else would people get up in arms about stupid movies, lite-bright marketing tactics in Boston, or even whether or not we demand that some presidential hopeful aid’s get fired? Get rid of them! Get rid of Mel Gibson! [Dave Neiwert never says this, but I’m not sure what he’d offer to help the Gibsons.] Put those ‘hoax’ device planters who aren’t taking their actions ‘seriously’ in prison and make the Cartoon Network pay! Glad the President of the Cartoon Network resigned — good riddance! Fire those bigotted aids of Edwards’! Don’t try to offer them the transformative love of Christ!

Mix that in with varying degrees of blogger snark, malice, the anonymity that the internet often provides, and everybody just ends up pissed at each other.

“So you just want everybody to hold hands and sing ‘Koom-bai-yah’?!”

Don’t put words in my mouth. And no. Heck no. No, instead, I might begin by offering the analysis of William Cavanaugh up on this. His essay called “The City: Beyond Secular Parodies” offers a great analysis of what happens when people start putting ‘liberty’ before love, or as John Milbank has put it elsewhere, the contract before the gift. The gift does not anull the contract, nor does love anull liberty (as critics seem to repeatedly [mis]argue), but when these things are rightly ordered, the contract and liberty are radically transformed in light of Christ. So, as Cavanaugh puts it, instead of being a Church-facing people, we Christians have instead become a stateward-facing people.

Thus, we don’t resolve things in light of our baptism in Christ or in reconciliation as we partake of the Eucharist, but instead we look to the ‘public sphere’ to hash these things out: sue your neighbor, or get sued and don’t reconcile and end up in prison “until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:23-26Open Link in New Window)**; hash it out on 24-hour cable networks over a movie about Christ, or about celebrities and their anti-Semitism, or about any number of controversies about the state, or the federal government, or whatever is the hot-button issue. No wonder people are pissed that the news networks wouldn’t stop covering the death of Anna Nicole Smith — they wanted to (rightly) switch back to the “things that matter” which are, you know, all the presidential hopefuls announcing their candidacy.

Not that any of these things aren’t important. Of course they are important. But, so many Christians–Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Othodox alike–place so much primacy on this stuff that they forget to be Christian. Is Christianity really something that is enacted through laws, movies, executive fiat, and even dare I say, Christian flags?*** Or, is Christianity something that, regardless of where one finds oneself, a faith in Christ to love the “least of these”, the downtrodden, and the poor? As my friend Charlie just reminded us, and as my friend Dan continues to remind us, we Christians bear witness to a kingdom of God where the last shall be first and the first shall be last, and where we are to journey alongside the exiles of our society in mercy and love, bearing each other’s burdens and forgiving one another along the way.

“But Eric, in making this post, aren’t you, in turn, reacting to the events in the ‘public sphere’ and thus letting it dictate you, albeit negatively?”

Well, yes, to a degree, and that’s why I hardly post about this stuff anymore. But sometimes people think my silence is consent or think I don’t care, or think I’m not “being responsible” or am giving into the “sectarian temptation,” all of which are false. All responsibility is a responsibility toward something or someone, and I’m trying to remind Christians (including myself!) that we need to change the question about responsibility– or better yet, allegiance and faithfulness first to God and to God’s church is the question that should order our lives.

I think a Karl Barth quotation would round out what I am trying to say rather well. Karl Barth once said to

take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” Newspapers, he says, are so important that “I always pray for the sick, the poor, journalists, authorities of the state and the church–in that order. Journalists form public opinion. They hold terribly important positions. Nevertheless, a theologian should never be formed by theworld around him–either East or West. He should make it his vocation to show both East and West that they can live without a clash. Where the peace of God is proclaimed, there peace on earth is implicit. Have we forgotten the Christmas message?


* How ironic is that it is often that those constantly bashing Hollywood and how ‘secular’ it is get extemely defensive about the supposedly ‘Christian’ stuff that does come out of Hollywood from time to time? Could it be that we are more committed to celebrity worship than we are to Christ worship? See Charlie Pardue’s fantastic post on this here: Celebrity-Christians.

** It is interesting here that Christ assumes that the people he is talking to are not the ones doing the accusing (or suing).

*** Why do Christians even need Christian flags? They’re already inspired by the American flag as it is, and even then, 99 times out of 100 they’re flown lower than the American flag. And even considering all that, why would a Christian need a flag anyway? Seems more of a Constantinian impulse anyway, does it not? Are we not known for our love? (or at least we should be, even though we have continually messed this up)

Some Movies I Saw

  • The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, directed by Michael Bay. This movie was recommended by my brother Andrew, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of all Michael Bay films — *cough* pearl harbor, armageddon *cough* — but this one was quite enjoyable. Sure, it had some extended chase scenes that didn’t particularly move the story along, but even those were done pretty well. It was amazing to see the lengths to which the wealthy will go to protect their mortality here on earth. What I loved about this one was that it was a modern-day retelling of Plato’s allegory of the cave. I hope that’s not giving away too much, but there are certain scenes in the movie that confirmed this for me (THX 1138 is like this as well). But this time, instead of shadows and forms, it’s a tale of the horrors of cloning. Great Sci-Fi / Action.
  • Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Wow, what a striking, amazing film. Yes, don’t take your children to this movie (or even children who don’t belong to you), for it is a very dark fantasy tale. My only regret is that I wish I knew more of the history about the Spanish Civil War going into the film, but it is clear that that is not required to witness the violence of the real world in this movie. The main character Ofelia is a girl with a hyper-active imagination, yet the fantasy world that she encounters is not just a product of her mind. It seems like the fantasy world of faun’s, pale men, and faeries is much more real than the monsters of reality. I love Guillermo del Toro’s work, but this is nothing like Hellboy. It’s a much more mature and horrific look at the evils of humanity, and how an imaginative narrative can help lead us away from those horrors. Although, it didn’t seem like Ofelia was ‘fleeing’ from reality, as much of what she was doing in the fantasy world was to help the ‘real’ world (i.e. her pregnant mother).I can’t help but engage in some meta-review, here. Three things. First, I was stoked to see that one of my favourite animators of all time, Krishnamurti Costa, animated some of the main creatures in the movie. It reminded me a bit of the joy I felt when I found out that Neil Blevins began working for Pixar. Second, it just so happened that while I was waiting for the movie to start while reading Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism” in the dimly-lit theatre, my philosophy professor (who assigned the Heidegger) and her husband sat right in front of me — perhaps some of the most insightful people to talk about such a movie, which I only did briefly with my professor yesterday. And lastly, I’ve got to link to Christianity Today‘s review of this movie. It’s a rather surprising review, perhaps because in contrast to Landoverbaptist’s wonderful parodies of typical “Christian movie reviews,” CT provides a rather mature and careful look at this disturbing and beautiful movie.
  • Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Clive Owen. This came also as a highly recommended, and I saw this with Tiana. This was an excellent movie about England in the year 2027 when about 18 years earlier, the entire world went infertile. In the opening scenes, we see the news that the youngest person on earth has just died, and many of the people are giving up hope. This is a war-torn world and in this distopia, England fashions itself much like the U.S. is these days as the last bastion of peace and freedom, but we soon see that this is hardly the case. There is still much violence, and like the U.S., mass hatred of ‘immigrants’ who are never treated first as human beings, but always as ‘illegals’. People are in cages everywhere and there are vigilante groups vying for power. Yet, as the main character soon finds out, there is one person found to be pregant, but even being near this person is a deadly existence, as everybody wants her for some sort of politcal gain. Like my friend Rusty (minor spoilers in link), my favorite scene was not the final one, but one near the end.From a cinematography standpoint, this movie was amazing. I loved that all the future technology depicted in the film was very subtly embedded within the shots and didn’t try to over-do it. There were also some shots that were very long (without cuts) that made the scenes feel more real — not something you see very often these days, either. From the director of Harry Potter 3 and Y Tu Mama Tambien, no less — brilliant!

Ezekiel 4:12 Bread!

I’m getting a kick out of this. Has anybody seen that Ezekiel 4:9Open Link in New Window bread? I have the ‘Low Sodium’ loaf sitting next to me. I actually think it’s good stuff. However, the former fundamentalist in me remembers that God did not give Ezekiel a ‘Low Sodium’ recipe. Ehem.

Also, it appears that there is a ‘Sesame’ version as well:

But, this guy takes issue with that. Not only was sesame not part of the original extra tasty cripsy recipe, he suggests they show the full context of the verse and create the following:

At least this crap is organic.

Voltaire tries not to vomit on Ezekiel

Cited in Margaret S. Odell, Ezekiel: Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary, p. 73:

Here, my brethren, is one of those lovely and striking prophecies: the great rophet Ezekiel saw the northern gale, and four animals, and wheels of chrysolite all full of eyes, and the Eternal said to him: “Arise, eat a book, and then go off.”

The Eternal orders him to sleep for three hundred and ninety days on his left side, and then forty on the right side. The Eternal ties him up withe ropes; certainly this prophet was a man who should have been tied up–but we are not yet finished. Can I repeat without vomiting what God commands Ezekiel to do? I must do it. God commands him to eat barley bread cooked with shit. Is it credible that the filthiest scoundrel of our time could imagine such excremental rubbish? Yes, my brethren, the prophet eats his barley bread with his own execrement: he complains that this breakfast disgusts him a little and God, as a conciliatory gesture, permits him to mix his bread with cow dung instead. Here then is a prototype, a prefiguration of the church of Jesus Christ.

Voltaire, “Sermon of the Fifty,” trans. Peter Gay, in Deism: An Anthology (ed. Peter Gay; Princeton, Van Nostrand, 1968), 152-3.

My prof opened up the semester reading this quote. That pretty much sums up just some of the nuttiness in this book. And this, also on Ezekiel:

“There is much in this book which is very mysterious, especially in the beginning and latter end of it.”

-John Wesley (Explanatory Notes, 2281)

ORLY?

Lindbeck After Wittgenstein?

Over at the Church and Postmodern Culture blog, I’ve posted an excerpt from a paper I wrote last semester that attempted to tease out some of the things I mentioned in my previous post on Lindbeck, Burrell, and Hauerwas. Namely, that Lindbeck’s The Nature of Doctrine and his subsequent use of Wittgenstein cannot be rightly conceived apart from his life’s work on Christian unity. It was fun to hear at the conference that Lindbeck affirmed that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification as well as much of his other work is very much in the form of Thomas’ quaestionis in his Summa. While I don’t dig into this in a tit-for-tat manner concerning that form, I think even cursory looks at his work exemplify this, and this is where I, taking pastor John Wright’s lead, would emphasis the ‘Thomist’ in Lindbeck’s self-described “Wittgensteinian-Thomism.”

But heck, what do I know apart from my community, so if you feel so inclined, go over to C&P and drop me a comment with criticisms, suggestions, comments, or any insights y’all think I might be missing. It’s a bit long (for casual blog reading), and it’s also only an excerpt of three major sections from the paper (thus even longer), so if you’re interested and don’t mind the fuller treatment, I’ve also posted the full thing over there. Danke Schön.