Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Helicopter Seeds

I’m having a week where I’m feeling the pressure of not knowing what I want to do with my life (which I think is a feeling that may never really go away… it just keeps manifesting itself in different ways throughout life, so I’m getting used to it – “the journey is the destination,” blah, blah, blah…). As a result, I’ve also been stressing about silly decisions like what to write for this week’s blog. During yesterday’s prayer meeting, Jasie read from Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, in which he suggests the discipline of silence is useful in soul-searching/goal-setting. Valerie mentioned giving it a whirl briefly at dinner tonight and that got me thinking about it too.

Another blog dilemma I’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks is that the things I’m thinking about here are often so mentally taxing (which is good and I’m enjoying it) that I don’t have the energy to write, and I feel disappointed about that. But tonight, I’m taking the pressure off of myself to write a profound, thought-provoking blog and instead I want to write about one of my little delights here at L’Abri: helicopter seeds.

I have always had a special affinity for helicopter seeds. I still pick them up when I see them on the road just to watch them spin gracefully to the ground. I found one today as I was reading outside the Chapel, which is a special treat because I got to watch it spin down all the way from the second-story balcony. As I leaned over the rail and let the seed fall, I noticed that these helicopter seeds (I’m sure they have a real name…) always freefall first before the helicopter motion kicks in, which, as long as the blade is sound, it always does. It always does because that’s the way it is designed.

Thanks for journeying with me on this blogging saga. Tune in next Tuesday for more L’Abri fun so you all can live vicariously through me as I tromp through the fall leaves and play with helicopter seeds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ode To Death Hill

There is a very steep climb up the mountain behind where we live which we all affectionately call Death Hill. On Sunday evenings we often have an activity after dinner, and recently we had a talent show at which I gave this poem in loving dedication to the hill we hate.

"Ode To Death Hill"

Jill and Jack set out in black
Death Hill for to conquer.
Jill looked round, espied the mound
and felt her poor heart falter.

Yet sublime they both did climb
and set their minds and faces
up the hill for death to kill
and wine to buy in cases!

Through the shade their path was laid;
the scene was bleak and dreary.
Rocks and roots beneath their boots
made Jill and Jack quite weary.


Before the top they both did stop,
to catch their breath and ponder;
to try to cope and not lose hope,
to keep the path, not wander.


To 'yond bend their hopes they pinned
that round it might come relief.
But steeper still rose the hill
and mocked their hearts belief.


Alas the light, clear and bright
their weak eyes and hearts received.
Jill and Jack threw off their black
and in life through death believed!

For sublime they both did climb
and set their minds and faces
up the hill for death to kill
and wine to buy in cases!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Lest anyone think I’ve taken a permanent break from thinking (because rereading last week’s blog, I realize how absolute my statement sounded), let it be known that I’ve been reading my “entertaining books” on sex and The Simpsons along side of, that is to say, at the same time as a few commentaries on I Peter and Lewis’s Letters to Malcom. And, you’ll also be relieved to know, both of my “break books” are rather thought provoking; there just isn’t as much mind stretching involved, not as many new thoughts. I just finished Real Sex by Lauren Winner and I recommend it to marrieds and singles alike. Winner is engaging and realistic. She does an excellent job of confronting the lies about sex that bombard us both from our Christian subculture and our western culture at large, as well as developing some constructive ways of viewing and practicing chastity within the biblical contexts of Scripture and Church. Some of her most fun thoughts are about working against our cultural bent of extreme individualism where “my sex is none of your business” arguing that “sex is communal rather than private, personal rather than public.” Chew on that for a bit!

Every week Jasie asks, “So, have you thought any more about prayer?” And I reach back into the corners of my mind and reply vaguely with generalities like, “Yeah, it’s been going well…” or with specific happenings such as, “Well, yesterday this and this and this happened.” which is all fine, but not quite the response I want to give. So this past week, I’ve been making a list and today I was able to answer the question before she even asked. Currently number one on my list of thoughts about prayer is: I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray when I would normally read or listen to music or hang out and I want to be obedient. (Actually, I want to read or listen to music or hang out; I want to ask the Lord for a rain check. This is why prayer is a discipline. And I really do want the relational fruits of discipline.) Number two: I’m working out a broader perspective on what prayer is. Sometimes I study I Peter in prayer and sometimes I don’t. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean that when I remember to pray, “Holy Spirit, illuminate Thy Word” before opening my Bible that I am studying in prayer and when I forget I’m not. To be sure, that kind of prayer is important and good, but it certainly isn’t prescriptive. It isn’t a guarantee that my study will be productive, effective, or prayerful. So what do I mean? Well, I’m not entirely sure. At some level I think I mean simply acknowledging God; he is there and it is wrong to ignore him. There is nothing “spiritual” in doing this, not the way we sometimes think of spirituality at any rate. It doesn’t make doing dishes didactic; doing dishes can be didactic, as can anything, but that’s not what makes the act spiritual or worshipful. So when I get the inkling to read, listen to music, hang out, and the Sanctifying Spirit prompts me to pray, I need to put down my book, turn off my music, excuse myself from the room. But other times when I get an itch for the things I love, I should do them with the knowledge that God designed me specifically with those desires and he loves to see me enjoy myself; he loves to be with me as I enjoy myself; he loves providing opportunities for me to do the things I enjoy. I do the same for those I love. Sometimes I don’t receive recognition for it, but I’m not being ignored either… I’m in relationship.