Wednesday, January 28, 2015

days to dry
the body, preserve
it in death. It takes thirty more
to dry living tears, pack provisions for the journey.
Joseph must carry his father
out of Egypt, through
deserts, lay
him in

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

not slow
as we count
evenings and mornings,
the agonizing rotations
through formlessness and void. The spirit broods, wings outstretched.
land rises up from the waters
suspended in light.
All will be

Saturday, January 17, 2015

with your beads.
Roll the words inside
your mouth until the flame descends,
opening your lips to silent mysteries. Blessed
are you who bear the word in joy,
light, sorrow, glory.
Pray for us,
now and

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Give me faith enough to love, to let
the earth's embrace swallow me whole, and hope
to receive the swelling waters, let them burst
beyond myself; yes, teach me how to love.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bigger than the Bible

I was glad to see this article about Anglicanism at the Gospel Coalition. I love my Anglo-Catholic friends, I love all my other Reformed friends, and it's good to see them celebrating what they share in common. 

It's also good to get a bit more clarity on the ways in which I disagree with both of them.

"In Anglicanism, Scripture alone is supreme as the saving Word of God."

I love the Bible, and the more I read it, the more I find in it to love. But like all faithful messengers, the Bible does not point to itself. It points to Jesus.

Jesus alone is supreme as the saving Word of God.  


Not Moses, not Elijah, not John the Baptist, not the angel Gabriel or the Virgin Mary. Not even the Bible.

Just Jesus.

Scripture is God-breathed, and useful for instruction and training in righteousness. But Jesus is the living and active Word of God who sees every inward thought, understands our weakness, and stands before the Father as our great high priest.

I've often heard Hebrews 4:12 quoted as though it referred to the Bible, but that is an impossible reading of the text. 

The writer of Hebrews does not praise this Word for its power to teach us, but for his power to see, understand, and judge us. "No creature is hidden from his sight" is a very odd thing to say about the words that became our book, but it is most emphatically true of the Word made flesh.

Moreover, this reference to the "Word of God" appears within an argument for the supremacy of Christ over every other form of divine revelation, including (indeed, starting with!) the Bible. 

At various times, God has revealed himself to us through various prophets. Some of their words have been preserved for us and bound into books. This is a very great blessing.

But Jesus is greater.

The Bible is an important messenger,  and we should listen to it well. But if we listen to it faithfully, we will obey it's call to worship no mere book, but the living Christ, the Wisdom through which the Father created the world, revealed in human flesh.

We search the Scriptures, because we believe that in them we have eternal life. And indeed we do.

But only if we are willing to look beyond them, to the Word to which they point.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Such a great cloud

I wrote a nice long essay about the Virgin Mary, and it was almost ready post. I wrote about how she's the biggest obstacle in our journey toward Catholicism, but also maybe part of what's drawing us in. I also talked about the rosary, and learning styles, parenting, and my lifelong obsession with epistemology. All that remained was to tie it all together, which, come to think of it, may or may not have been possible. But now I'll never know, because I forgot to save the file.

I've been doing that a lot, lately. It makes me very glad that Jesus is the one responsible for saving my soul, and that his memory is better than mine.

Anyway, having thoroughly demonstrated my inability to save my files, let alone my self, I'm back to my old method of writing my first draft directly into blogger. Automatic cloud storage ftw!

Of course, this approach has risks of its own... so if I say something stupid, just assume that the baby was messing with my phone, okay?

I am actually pretty paranoid that Amos will grab my phone and do something ridiculous, which is one reason why we held off for so long before jumping on the smart phone bandwagon.

But the cost of traditional phone service went up, the cost of cellular went down, so here we are, and on the whole, I'm glad. It's quite possible to be well organized without a cell phone, but I've never actually managed to do it, and I'm glad that we live in a time and place with so many useful tools. We stand on the shoulders of lots and lots of mostly ordinary people, all learning from one another and building on each other's work, together doing things that none of them could have done alone. Technology is a great blessing, both flowing out of and facilitating the greater blessing of human community.

Homescooling is much easier now that I can fit dozens of books in my pocket. I spend more time reading with the kids, and less time looking for books, which is good, and less time getting upset with the kids over lost books, which is even better. My electronic to-do list is the real game-changer, though, because it provides enough structure to let me flexibly respond to the kids' ever-changing needs.

I like these new rhythms. It's been a good back-to-school week, made all the better because I've been meditating on John Neumann, who dedicated his life to helping kids learn, founded about a kabillion schools, and wrote amazing prayers of repentance drenched in grace.

His feast day was on Monday, and even though I can't keep track of such things, the editors of the Magnifcat do. They've laid out a daily banquet of prayers, hymns, and Scripture readings, along with beautiful reflections by and about all sorts of saints. There are so many different ways of becoming like Jesus, and each one shows me a different aspect of holiness to aspire toward, a different beauty to pray to see in others. I don't know how time and consciousness operate in glory, but I do know that we're all in this together, around the world and across the ages, and I am glad.

On my own, I'm pretty bad at remembering all the things I need to know if I'm going to run this race well. I'm grateful to be surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.