Does it get any better?

(One highlight, in case your two year old friends have all grown up …)

[October 31, 6:30pm]
Door Bell rings, resident answers.
Mom & Dad (to child): “What do you say?”
Child: “Thank you.”
[Candy dispersed.]
Mom & Dad (to child): “What do you say?”
Child: “Trick or Treat”

Kind chuckles … next bell.

Gregory Wolfe on Flannery O’Connor (below) gives me language to describe my criteria & love for good art.

In one sense, O’Connor’s writing gave her the opportunity to learn and relearn the virtues of self-knowledge and humility: by seeing her own sinfulness in some of her characters she recognized her own need for mercy. But O’Connor did not believe that art is merely self-expression – another problematic legacy of the Romantic era. Rather, she saw herself as a “Christian realist,” and believed that art had to do justice to the world beyond the self. In one of her letters O’Connor writes: “Maritain says that to produce a work of art requires the ‘constant attention of the purified mind,’ and the business of purified mind in this case is to see that those elements of the personality that don’t bear on the subject at hand are excluded. Stories don’t lie when left to themselves. Everything has to be subordinated to a whole which is not you. Any story I reveal myself completely in will be a bad story.”

imagination & creativity

October 29, 2008

I’m teaching a session on God’s design — as it relates to imagination & creativity — this week.  My preparatory study has been exhilerating.  (More in a future post?)

I’ve stumbled upon a new on-line acquaintance (I hope to make friend): Gregory Wolfe.  (Have you met him already?)  Mr. Wolfe is saying some things I think Jesus’ followers need desperately to hear.

I was indicted by his article Art, Faith, & Stewardship of Culture with [his] reference to “unwitting disciples of Karl Marx” and delighted by his article In God’s Image: Do Good People Make Good Art and the correlative concept that creativity is a constant invitation to virtue.  (Of course, both of these bits need badly the thoughtful and nuanced context provided with their respective articles in full-length.)

It’s so encouraging that some fellow sojourners are using their creative gifts to engage with our wide-world … in many of its dimensions.

evening scripture

October 27, 2008

Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The LORD looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.

He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm worked salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

According to what they have done,
so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
and retribution to his foes;
he will repay the islands their due.

From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the LORD drives along.

“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the LORD.

As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 59

The whole creation will be set free from its bondage to decay, to share the liberty of the glory of the children of God. And are you and I not going to work for that in the present? We won’t build the Kingdom of God by our own efforts in the present; it remains God’s gift by his grace and by his power. But we can produce signs of the Kingdom in love and justice and beauty and healing and fresh community work of all sorts, internationally, locally, all over the place. And thereby celebrate the whole biblical story, the whole biblical story.

–N.T. Wright, The Christian Challenge in the Postmodern World

It’s a mecca for cheap tea, spices, & curry!  For just a moment or two, I felt like I was back in Chicago; it was blissful to feel a little different than the people around me – even if only for a few minutes.

I’m SO excited about the groceries I purchased; here’s a sneak peek at the fruit-dressing I made up for a luncheon I’m co-hosting tomorrow.  (The limes at “Oriental Super Market” were so fresh & cheap; I bought 14.)  Imagine this, drizzled over mangos, bananas, melons, strawberries, & grapes.)  Yummy …

Grated zest and juice of 6 limes (about 2/3 cups)
3 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

(Tell me it’s a joke.)