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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Formation’ Category

This is an excellent article by Jake at Mere-O. As he says, “The lesson: If you would destroy our world’s versions of Sauron and Saruman, then you must love strawberries and cream.” Read it an get the good stuff for today!

Hobbits

via Tolkien’s Holy Fools | Mere Orthodoxy.

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Funeral

Always Go to the Funeral : NPR.

Growing up in the South and attending a small country church, I went to my fair share of receiving friends and attending funerals. They typically had the same format, with singing, preaching, a march (occasional drive) to the graveyard for a graveside service, and then that’s it. I’ve never experience any big fight at a funeral between families, though I have seen my share of people overcome by their grief. It;s sorta awkward, but you ignore it. Their hurting. In pain. It’s human. You stand silently in respect as they finish. You honor them.

And yet you understand that in some small way, you are fulfilling a duty. A duty to honor those who have lost someone, and to in some way honor the one who is gone. But it’s more. You honor your community by showing that in the greatest need of a few, the majority comes through. Death brings us all on the same playing field. No one is exempt. And as such, it makes going to the funeral that much more important. It solidifies what may have been unspoken all along: I know you, I care for you, and I’m sorry that you have went through this loss.

Going to the funeral is not so much about you fulfilling your duty as much as it is about you representing the community to the ones who need it most.

As Sullivan notes in the article,

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex’s uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”

It’s a good word and makes sense of something which people feel, even if they’re not the ones exceptionally close to the family.

Go to the funeral. Show honor to the community. Support the family. Be involved in the body of humanity.

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 Ignored

Feel Ignored? Rejected?

This song by Linkin Park is one that I have listened to historically, but not by purpose. It seems to come on the radio or my playlist when I most need it. Someone once said that Linkin Park writes songs for the express purpose of fostering ambiguity in order to allow the listener to insert their own meaning. While I see that there is a lot of merit in arguing for exclusivity in everything, I think it’s good to ponder the ambiguity in relation to this song and discover what it means to me, how it makes me feel, and why I find it soothing and encouraging at certain times in my life. If for any other reason, it just makes me feel good right now.

Case in point: A number of relationships in my life right now are difficult, both personally and professionally, and I find myself caught in the midst of them, trying to do my best and yet struggling against ignorance and stubbornness, idiocy, narcissism, immaturity, and flat out falsity. I don’t deny that I commit the same sins daily, but this time the deck seems stacked against me. It seems that in every attempt to do right, I am hushed, ignored, shunned, debased. And I scream “NO MORE!” Yet I must endure daily the struggle against myself, as well as others. But in that rare moment when I am right, when what I say does matter, when what I have to contribute and demand is just, that is when I need to be heard, if not for the sake of change then at least for the sake of compassion and acceptance from those others in my life who should respect me the way in which I respect them.

Hence, I find this song by Linkin Park uplifting and encouraging for my life at this moment because it gives me hope that I will not be ignored.

Watch the video and enjoy. It is heavy, but the words reveal so much. Below are the lyrics, highlighted in bold with the part/s of the song I find most beneficial.

“Faint”

I am a little bit of loneliness a little bit of disregard
Handful of complaints but I can’t help the fact that everyone can see these scars
I am what I want you to want what I want you to feel
But it’s like no matter what I do, I can’t convince you, to just believe this is real
So I let go, watching you, turn your back like you always do
Face away and pretend that I’m not
But I’ll be here ’cause you’re all that I got

[Chorus]
I can’t feel the way I did before
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored
Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored

I am a little bit insecure a little unconfident
‘Cause you don’t understand I do what I can but sometimes I don’t make sense
I am what you never wanna say but I’ve never had a doubt
It’s like no matter what I do I can’t convince you for once just to hear me out
So I let go watching you turn your back like you always do
Face away and pretend that I’m not
But I’ll be here ’cause you’re all that I’ve got

[Chorus]
I can’t feel the way I did before
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored
Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored

Now
Hear me out now
You’re gonna listen to me, like it or not
Right now
Hear me out now
You’re gonna listen to me, like it or not
Right now

I can’t feel the way I did before
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored

[Chorus]
I can’t feel the way I did before
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored
Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored

I can’t feel
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored
Time won’t heal
Don’t turn your back on me
I won’t be ignored

Lyrics to “Faint” by Linkin Park

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Castle of Glass

I heard this song on the radio maybe a week ago and it blew me away. It starts slow but the rhythm, the feel, the way it touches the deep places of your soul is incredible.

From what I understand of Linkin Park, the meaning of their songs are very open to various interpretation/s, so there is some room for relativism, though I am of the persuasion that everything is exclusive, so there is some central message they are wanting to portray. From the video, it looks to be some form of commentary on War, specifically: the Iraq War. But, I may be off base on that. That’s what my research on the song suggested.

What I find captivating about the song is the sound: nostalgic, realistic, almost dour at times but then simultaneously content, though not without sorrow and pain. Many people could resonate with that: living life to be content with the daily pain they endure, whether mental, physical, or spiritual.

So, give the song I listen. I would encourage you to first listen to it without watching the video to get the raw feel and then to watch the video to see how they applied it. And then think about how it applies to you.

I hope you like it. I found it, and find it, well: simply amazing!

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Scary stories

What Happens When You Deprive Children of Scary Stories – Justin Taylor.

This is an excellent post. It seems today that there is a tendency to either let children take in all that culture has to offer or to minimize and cut off all access to the outside world. Yet I think this has been the struggle of parents throughout history, though living in 21st century, modernized America with its politically correct atmosphere does engender stranger attitudes.

Children are more apt to be sheltered from death and talk of religion and the supernatural, because they frankly might never have to face it. However, in life even into the early 1900’s, life was a precarious issue and walking out your door, as Bilbo once put it, was a very dangerous business.

But this link offers more than just a commentary on cultural issues, for it seems that scary stories are good for your soul. Just think of The Brother’s Grimm and what those stories have done for a veritable cultural renaissance (pretty sure almost all Disney fairy-tale’s take their cue from here). And what about Harry Potter for the last generation. Lord Voldemort, errr, he-who-must-not-be-named, was capturing the minds of children around the world as they were subconsciously dealing with learning to be a hero as they identified with the three protagonists and felt every bit of pain and struggle as they read and watched the story unfold.

So, are scary stories a way to build the imagination and moral formation of the next upcoming generation? Read the story and tell me what you think!?

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Are Moral Beliefs Properly Basic? – YouTube.

Dr. Craig doing what he does best. Properly basic beliefs, moral theory, and brains in a vat, oh yes!!!

Texas A & M students getting some quality philosophical thinking from a great philosophical mind. This is a short video, about 4:30, so if you have 5 minutes in your day, check it out. It’s well worth it 🙂

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Some encouragement for those of you today who might need it.

This is a great song in a beautiful rendition. Be blessed!

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