Monday, November 28, 2005

An assorted Tolkien article

St. Clair seems to mentions something about how LOTR should be understood as a saga. For those of you in Novel, this will tantalize, because she doesn't talk about why it's not a novel--except that she has a constitutional preoccupation with all things Old Norse!

I don't think this article properly understands the role of fate and Providence. St. Clair sees the God in LOTR as quite Deistic in the "uninvolved" sense. She puts rather too much emphasis on the Norse influences and not enough on the Christian.

Yet it is interesting. :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Such kindness, undeserved but so appreciated

30 little bright pink roses

28 medium red roses

20 big pink and white and coral and yellow roses

17 humongous white and pink roses

2 charming pink zinnias with baby's breath

A red wall-scroll with a blessing from Numbers 6, in Chinese characters

A bookmark, likewise with a verse in Chinese characters and also a painted flower

I can assure you I don't deserve all these, but oh, they are beautiful. Thank you, Casey and Marianne and Sarah L. and Tobin and Ben F., and whomever else they are from. I'm sitting here, basking in your kindness, much like a cat blinking in the sunbeam. Grace, pure grace. I thank you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Soli Deo Gloria

To God alone be the glory. The play is going brightly, delightfully, comprehensibly to the audience and happily for the cast and crew. Give Him much praise for this was assuredly not Maggie's and my doing. And schedules call. Heaps to say, but no time to say it now. :-)

“The life of an actress: you’re a lawyer in the morning, a spy in the afternoon, and Lady Macbeth in the evening.” Mrs. Thomson 11-19-05

Ah, but the labor we delight in physics pain!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The normal good

A thought has occurred to me. Good is not very extreme. I guess there's a sense in which it is--"go all out for Jesus"--but there's an entire other sense in which good is not radical. Good is the everyday, normal side of things. Good doesn't want to come along and sweep everything away; it would really like to plod along, worship God, create gorgeous things, enjoy the dance of the seasons and the turns of the sky, and be happy, only this horrible twisted stuff comes along and causes problems and has to be dealt with.

I was talking to Kirsten about this tonight. It would be easier if good were always flashy and heroic, but it tends to be subdued and rather icky. Pip wanted to be a knight in shining armor to come rescue Estella, and he did so--through forgiving Estella and Miss Havisham, through cleaning the foul wedding cake from the table and putting out Miss Havisham when she caught on fire. Dr. Rieux and the guys talk about heroism, and would rather like it, but in the meantime they have to keep lancing plague victims and carting away the bodies for weeks and months on end.

Good is normal. The world is fallen, but it was not created so, and it will not always be so. Good is having a King in Gondor and hobbits in the Shire; the ring-quest is an aberration.

Query: if you follow this line of reasoning, does that mean there will be no adventure in heaven? I'm pretty sure there won't be any in Hell, but does adventure equal evil? God is the proper end for whom we are made, and He's far from boring. If anything, He's more exciting than we mortals are comfortable near. I guess I don't quite understand this mystery. Anyone able to clarify?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Rehearsal quotes

“Arr!” Bales
“Wait a minute, you’re not a pirate!” Rachel Patterson 10-28-05

“My kidney!” Emily Holmes
“You’ve got two.” Bales 10-28-05

“Tobin? How’d you like to see these two flick each other to death with their swords?” Emily Holmes 10-28-05

“As easy may’st thou the intrenchant air with thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. Are you happy?” Bales 10-28-05

“I want both of them hurt, but him [Nathan Curby] most of all. Until the end, of course.” Maggie 10-28-05

“I really don’t mind having my hands hacked off. They look awesome afterward.” Bales
“You really like those wounds.” Emily Holmes
“They aren’t really wounds.” Bales
“Yes, but they sound more like wounds every time you mention them, that little bit of almost-skinned knuckles.” Emily 10-28-05

“Okay, I am not going to be spilling my innards onstage.” Philip Cole
“You don’t have to be spilling them on stage, just in your shirt.” Caleb Jones 11-2-05

“You’re his lackeys.” Christy
“SON.” Guthrie
Younger son.” Maggie 11-2-05

We’re short on dead bodies, but, um: “I can fall down dead as soon as I say my lines.” Kanary 11-2-05

“Why are you laughing, woman? I’m in the throes of agony.” Emily Thomson
“Sorry.” Rachel Patterson 11-2-05

“I can’t seem to help it! I’m dangerous! I’m sorry!” Bales 11-3-05

“You need to look over here and compliment your wife.” Megan K
“Oh, ah. You look very, um, terrifying.” Bales
::Emily pretends to smite him:: 11-3-05

A plastic soup spoon being used as a dagger: “It’s not as though it’s an invincible killing machine.” Bales 11-3-05

::Stage-kicks Curby:: “Oh, are you okay?” Bales 11-3-05

The abridged version: “Even though Birnam wood, before my body my warlike shield, thwap, come at me Macduff.” Bales 11-3-05

“Is there some reason we paused our deep and bloody engagement and you’re whistling? Quite demoralizing.” Bales to Curby 11-3-05

“I don’t have a magic sword, but I’ve got a spoon!” Emily Holmes
To Bales: “You better start monologuing.” Maggie 11-3-05

As Macduff makes “the sign of the M” with his sword: “We have the same initials!” Bales
“No: M-D. I can be McDonald’s, medical doctor, diagnosis murder…” Curby
“Mad cow disease…” Emily Holmes 11-3-05

“We’re getting ourselves into the mood for violent action.” Curby
“Right. I’m preparing to stab you with a spoon.” Bales
“Can you stop calling it that??” Curby
“No.” Bales
“It’s a dagger.” Curby 11-3-05

“That’s why guys had long hair: to make it easier for their enemies to carry their heads around.” Emily Holmes
“Here I stand, with the usurper’s cursed scalp upon my belt. Hey! Let’s just make it an Indian play!” Curby ::begins singing and dancing a war dance::
“Where are we going to get tomahawks?” Bales 11-3-05

“Wait, that’s my sword.” Curby
“You have personalized swords?” Emily Rose
“The one with his blood on it is mine.” Curby 11-3-05

To Bales: “You sent Banquo and [Macduff’s] wife off campaigning together.” Emily Holmes
Also to Bales: “And you thought you were in trouble after her murder! …No, wait, I told you not to write down anything I said tonight!” Curby 11-3-05

“From the top, with brutality, please.” Emily Homes 11-3-05

“I got one of these Dove chocolate things the other day and the wrapper said, ‘Decorate your life.’ I figured out what it means: I need to put Macbeth’s head on the wall. Or maybe on the mantel.” Nathan Curby 11-3-05

“Never fear, Macduff is here!” Curby
“Ewwww!” Emily Rose 11-3-05

“You can fix anything from tractors to coffee pots with duct tape and baling twine.” Curby 11-3-05

“But they’re meeting at Acheron in the morning.” Maggie
“There is no morning in Hell.” Caleb Jones 11-4-05

To Ben A: “Well, if you’re not drunk, you’re at least a lout.” Emily Holmes 11-4-05

“The castle of Macduff I will surprise.” ::to Curby:: “Get over it.” Bales 11-4-05

“Bales, you’re completely scizo in this scene.” Maggie
“Yes! We are completely scizo. It’s even worse: we’re out to get me.” Bales 11-4-05

“You, my friend, are incompetent.” Bales
“They told me to be incompetent! I’m good at it!” Isley 11-4-05

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The apt quote

"We were not professionals, and so we did not know what could not be done."

Don't know where that quote came from, but it describes...quite a lot of my life, actually. Homeschooling is the epitome of not knowing what can't be done. So are amateur theatricals. Everyone keeps commenting how brave we are to do Macbeth. Not really. I didn't know enough to be worried. After all, my mother once put on Hamlet. It doesn't matter, really, if you know what you're doing if God calls you to do it; you can only do your best, and He will prosper it or not as He sees fit. Doing things well is, of course, better; but still, I find it an encouraging thought.

I dearly love the adventures Aslan sends. :-)

Still smiling

I love having a worldview resilient enough for sunbeams. I can acknowledge evil and all its utter horribleness--and still smile. It's all about creation, fall, and redemption.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


It all started in church Sunday: the sermon was on the difference between friendship and Christian fellowship. As Pastor Holman described it, friendship is basically tit-for-tat, and you hang out with the person because you enjoy the process. Fellowship is cross-centered: if there were no Jesus, you would assuredly not hang out with these people. You keep having Christian fellowship even when your life stage changes. "This is how you can tell whether you have friendship or fellowship: just let your friend disappoint you." You have friends for a season, and then you have the church for eternity. And fellowship is a deep joy, an actual happy thing.

Today in chapel, Dr. Smith talked about friendship. According to “a certain pagan philosopher,” friendship requires locality and equality. There’s a fair amount of Scriptural support for that, including a bit in Psalm 55 I’d never noticed before. That’s on a human level. As Dr. Smith rightly pointed out, God is not our equal. So how on earth do you get weird statements from Jesus like, “You all are not my slaves any more, but my friends”? The relationship is generally expressed in terms of unlike: Creator and creation, Shepherd and sheep, master and servant. Dr. Smith seemed to say there were two types of friendship, one in which the equals giving equally, and the other in which only one can actually give and the other only receive. This second kind arises from God’s great condescension: the great Coming Down to Be With Us. It strikes me that this is only possible with the Incarnation, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. God became man—equal—and dwelt with us—hung out in our place. He lives with us. Aristotle was all about true friends living with each other.

I don’t think Pastor Holman paid friendship its proper due: in fact, I think he was talking about what Aristotle called a “friendship of utility,” which is a debased form of friendship. The pastor's distinction, though, is helpful, even if his terminology was a bit muddying. Friendship in the sense Dr. Smith was using it—in the David-and-Jonathan sense—is all about love interested in the good of the other. There’s also the verse in Ecclesiastes about friendship and a cord of three strands, how you, me, and God make a true friendship.