Thursday, December 31, 2009

December reading list

73. Elisha's Bones (pb), Dan Hoesel
74. The White Dragon (ua), by Anne McCaffrey
75. Novel Ideas (pb), by Barbara Shoup & Margaret Love Denman
76. A Brief History of Theology (pb), by Derek Johnston
77. Blood of the Fold (ua), by Terry Goodkind
78. Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight (hc), by Scott Beatty
79. Kiss of Life (hc), by Daniel Waters
80. Acacia (ua), by David Anthony Durham

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Life Verse (#2)

God calls us to know Him, but tells us he is unknowable. He calls us to walk with him, but he is wholly other. These tensions -- and the faith contains many tensions -- once frustrated me. Now they invigorate me.

I love what he says of himself in Isaiah 55:8 & 9. In the NIV, the verses read, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

This liberates me as I study and meditate on the Lord and his word. This liberates me from totally understanding the Trinity, or the dual natures of Christ, or free will and the chosen. I cling to those 2 verses in Isaiah when my mind gets stuck trying to unravel one theological paradox or another.

These verses have taught me how small I am in comparison to him. And they have taught me to be suspicious of any theology that seems too easy. If I could understand God, he wouldn't be much of a God, would he?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

He is coming

From a devotion by James H. Kurt:
Has he not said, 'my kindness is established forever?' and in Heaven confirmed his faithfulness? And should be not enter His house, enter His Heaven, and praise His holy name?

Here we stand, with His word, with His body and blood. Here we have His teaching and His food. What more need we?

And this day, the child who is the house of God approaches. Are we ready now for His coming?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Life Verse (#1)

The first Bible I owned had a list of memory verses in the back, and one of the very first I memorized was Jeremiah 33:3, which I immediately became a personal favorite. In the NIV version, this verse says "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

What I love about this verse are the multiple promises that it contains. First, if we call on the Lord, He will answer. That alone would satisfy my parched and lonely soul. But the verse does not end there. No, he will tell us things we do not know. He will bring clarity, He promises revelation. And not just ordinary things. No, he will tell us great and unsearchable things.

Early in my walk, it stunned me to realize the vastness of the God I was in new relationship with, and this verse crystallized that notion. Years later, I am still stunned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

From St. John of the Cross

Today is the feast day of this great Doctor of the Church.
We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures. However deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seems of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.

For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ, "In Him are hidden all the treasures of the widsom and knowledge of God." The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.

All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ. This is the highest wisdom attainable in this life. Would that men might come at last to see that is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and the wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul find there its consolation and desire.

The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first and in truth to enter the thicket of the cross. Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the heighth, and the depth, to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ so as to be filled with all the fullness of God.

The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross. Because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Book Review

A Life With Karol, by Stanislaw Dziwisz.

In this delightful little book, Dziwisz details his forty-year friendship with the man who became Pope John Paul II. Dziwisz started his career as the personal secretary to Father Wojtyla, then stayed by his side as he advanced through the Polish church as Bishop & Archbishop, then as Cardinal and eventually as Pope.

Dziwisz, now himself a Cardinal, tells the story of Wojtyla's career as an anti-communist in Poland, detailing many of the indignities he faced in the officially atheist regime. He tells a humorous story of the trouble then-Cardinal Wojtyla faced trying to to attend the second conclave of 1979. He received permission to leave Poland, but was told that he would have a difficult time returning to his country. Little did the minor communist functionary who gave Wojtyla his one-way visa know that he would not be returning to Poland for a year. And then he would be returning as leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.

I found stories of these early years, specifically the fight against totalitarian communism, to be fascinating reading. It is the level of detail and "insider" stories that makes a very worthwhile book to read.