Grab the tissue.
Archive for November, 2009
On call 24 hours a day for the past five years, a group of senior citizens has made history by greeting over 900,000 American troops at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. The Way We Get By is an intimate look at three of these greeters as they confront the universal losses that come with aging and rediscover their reason for living. Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Joan Gaudet find the strength to overcome their personal battles and transform their lives through service. This inspirational and surprising story shatters the stereotypes of today’s senior citizens as the greeters redefine the meaning of community.
Here is the trailer:
This documentary is currently posted for full viewing on the PBS website until December 12.
Broadcast Schedule (on PBS)
[I have not viewed the entire documentary, yet.]
When a portrait of his friend Henry Martyn, missionary to India, arrived in Cambridge and was being unpacked, Charles Simeon responded:
“I could not bear to look upon it but turned away, covering my face and, in spite of every effort to the contrary, crying aloud with anguish. . . . Shall I attempt to describe to you the veneration and the love with which I look at it? . . . In seeing how much he is worn, I am constrained to call to my relief the thought in Whose service he has worn himself out so much; and this reconciles me to the idea of weakness, of sickness, or even, if God were so to appoint, of death itself. . . . I behold in it all the mind of my beloved brother.”
The portrait was hung over the fireplace in Simeon’s dining room. Often, with friends there for dinner, he would look at the likeness and say, “There, see that blessed man! What an expression of countenance! No one looks at me as he does; he never takes his eyes off me and seems always to be saying, ‘Be serious. Be in earnest. Don’t trifle. Don’t trifle.’” Then, smiling at the portrait and gently bowing, Simeon would add, “And I won’t trifle. I won’t trifle.”
Cf. H. C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon (London, 1956), page 108.
HT: Ray Ortlund
Bookselling is the most ticklish and unsafe and hazardous of all professions scarcely with the exception of horse jockeyship.
– Walter Scott (1800s)
The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.
They have very gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally abortion. But they have not seen this as a totality — each thing being a part, a symptom, of a much larger problem. They have failed to see that all of this has come about due to a shift in world view — that is, through a fundamental change in the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole.
– Francis Schaeffer (1979)
Here are two videos I just saw for the first time in the last couple of days:
And this one was just recently completed. It was posted on 11/8 and in two weeks has more than 1 million views. It took more than 5 years to make and was done almost single-handedly.
His death was overshadowed by JFK’s death on the same day in 1963.
I am the product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.
Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully recognize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself is in a prison. My own eyes are not good enough for me. I will see through those of others.
The Pistons and Pacers brawled five years ago today. We had almost left a few minutes earlier when we had figured the Pistons were going to lose. In the final minute, things went really bad. Watching the video brings back the emotions of disgust.
Thirty minutes later on the drive home, there were still police cars racing to the Palace.
Here’s what I said a few years ago.
I’ve never heard of this guy before. Good stuff. Can Christians use these principles in Kingdom work?
Be introduced to our favorite Christmas CD, though it’s not literally Christmas music and we listen year-round without apology. We’ve had the CD for a year, and iTunes says we have played this on our desktop 140 times in the past. It’s a great work to have internalized in your heart, and I love that it falls so easily of our boys’ tongues.
Andrew Peterson wrote the music. Here is the backstory, the retelling of how this came to pass.
Need an introduction? You can listen to the story here for free. Then go buy it.
Tonight in a fast-food restaurant…
Had to Chrissy, referring to the large painting behind him: “Is that an abstract?”
Me: “No, it’s not.”
Kar: “Well, I know it’s not a still life.”
Some of you have never heard of Tim Challies. He is a one of a small handful of the Christian uber-bloggers (and of them, he’s the only one I read with any sort of regularity). He does his work here (Challies). He inspires me to read more, to consider more, to encourage more with my gifts as he does his. For a living he designs websites, reviews books, blogs, and more. In 2010, he has challenged himself to read ALL of the NY Times non-fiction, hardcover bestsellers. He is chronicling the feat at 10 Million Words. He has posted daily since October 1, 2003.
Besides the crowds who actually go to his website every day, over 6,000 people are subscribed to receive his feed through Google Reader alone (which is how I see his posts). He posts one article and one very short best-of-the-web type of post per day (called A-La-Carte). I’m glad to introduce you if you haven’t met.
Challies is a gift to the church-at-large. He is cogent, concise and is careful with his readers time. He just finished a gem of a series for men and young men (Sexual Detox). His wife entered the writing realm to craft a follow-up message for wives (False Messages). I strongly recommend that ALL of my readers take time to read ALL these messages (at least the ones directed to your gender) that affect us all deeply.
While it will take a little time to get through all the messages, they are immensely important and well-written summaries of the truths of Scripture related to the topics of pornography and sex. These topics are far too easily shunned in public because of the obvious discomfort that it takes to discuss these things out of private. Praise God for Tim and Aileen’s courage; they are spot-on. Thank God for His wonderful gifts.
False Messages I: What He Really Wants
Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
For God hath made them so:
Let bears and lions growl and fight,
For ’tis their nature, too.
But, children, you should never let
Such angry passions rise:
Your little hands were never made
To tear each other’s eyes.
Let love through all your actions run,
And all your words be mild:
Live like the blessed Virgin’s Son,
That sweet and lovely child.
His soul was gentle as a lamb;
And as his stature grew,
He grew in favor both with man,
And God his Father too.
Now, Lord of all, he reigns above;
And from his heavenly throne
He sees what children dwell in love,
And marks them for his own.
– Isaac Watts
One thing I’ve learned is that a child should not be given this rope to hang himself if he does not have a mentor to guide him through it.
Short sentences should only be used for emphasis, especially in a philosophical text. That is Flesch’s fatal mistake. Because everybody seems to write this way, our minds are being reduced to simplistic thoughts, thoughts that cannot be extended beyond the immediate subject and predicate, thoughts that don’t demand that we recall the main idea for more than eight or nine words. The person who needs those sentences should not be studying philosophy. He should be studying grammar and learning how to read, two vital foundations for philosophy.
Please note that my primary concern here is not with philosophy but with writing. I’m arguing for the long sentence, contending that we have made ourselves stupid by refusing to express a thought that cannot be reduced to a single clause, by putting periods between every clause and sometimes phrase, by eliminating the semi-colon from the realm of comprehension, by compelling students, even in college, to think about matters for which the reading materials they have encountered have disabled them, by developing an attitude of resentment toward any writer that challenges their intellects beyond a single conjunction.
Have you tried to read Paradise Lost? The challenge is not the length of the sentence, though they are frequently immeasurable; the challenge is remembering the subject of the sentence. But if he had not written it that way, he would not have written the same poem, and the reader would have suffered for it.
We can write very well for business and advertising. Sometimes we get by on scientific writing. But to write about things that matter greatly: metaphysics, theology, ethics, politics, the arts, I say, to write about these matters demands that we be able to control more than a single clause at a time. We cannot think beyond the capacity of our syntax.
– Andrew Kern
Too many think they are wonderful with people because they talk well. They don’t realize that being wonderful with people means listening well.
But you have to make time for it first. A busy body makes for a noisy soul. Time must be carved out to be refreshed by solace.
Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep-blue sky and the clustering stars above seems to impart a quiet to the mind.