Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 2016

In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rossetti (1830- 1894)

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Great perspective on life

My friend Maggie tipped me to this wonderful short film by Louie Schwartzberg on Gratitude:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Truth on that page

From the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, a meditation that grabbed me in an especially powerful way this past Saturday morning.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Leonard Cohen, R.I.P.

Songwriter Leonard Cohen has gone on to his reward, it seems. He was far more than a one-hit wonder (If you haven't heard the Emmylou Harris cover of Cohen's "Ballad of a Runaway Horse," you owe it to yourself to look that up and listen to it). Thanks for sharing your talents and observations with the rest of us, Leonard. Rest in Peace.

UPDATE: Neo-Neocon has more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In tribute to Steven Den Beste

I see via InstapunditNational Review, and Ace of Spades that pioneering blogger Steven Den Beste has gone to his eternal reward. I never met the man, but I remember reading his essays and being inspired by his thought. That's saying something, because he came to wide notice in the blogosphere after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks but stopped essay-form blogging somewhere around 2004.

"Energy Scaling Problems" was certainly not his best essay, but I like this quote from it because even in two sentences, it shows how careful and how fair he was as a writer. The man had a knack for analysis:

"The biggest drawback of wind/solar is that they generate power when conditions permit them to do so, not when demand requires them to do so. And there's no practical way to store electric energy in adequate quantities to deal with this without unacceptable losses or unreasonable capital and/or operating expense."

Rest in peace, Mr. Den Beste.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Brotherly harmony or "Pet Sounds"?

Joe Spagnardi (on rhythm guitar) jams with his brother Billy, the mandolin player. That right there is two fifths of The Gravy Boys, who put on another fine show -- this time for North Carolina's "Wide Open Bluegrass" festival.

Unusually thoughtful analysis

This essay by Julia Shaw on why Joshua Harris was wrong to "kiss dating goodbye" has far more thoughtful rigor in it than its headline might suggest.

I vaguely remember that Mr. Harris was arguing for virtue in relationships a few years back, but other people had taken up the same cause, and so Harris never exercised any particular influence on me. What I don't know about the big names in evangelical Christian publishing circles could fill a book. That said, Julia Shaw's answer to Joshua Harris was and is well worth reading.

Dating leads to broken hearts, Harris contends. In response to that, Shaw notes  -- in effect -- that the problem there lies not with dating per se, but with love itself.

Where Harris still thinks of dating as a sort of sanitized hookup, Shaw reminds him (and her readers) that many advocates of his preferred alternative -- old-fashioned, family-controlled courtship -- make the same wrongheaded assumptions about pleasure being an end in itself as the people immersed in "hookup culture" do. That looks counter-intuitive in the sentence I just used to summarize Shaw's point, but she develops her thesis carefully while defending dating from the libel under which Harris blithely tried to bury it. One significant problem, she argues, is that "Rather than exploring our emotions and thoughts, Harris recommends fleeing them." It's no surprise, then, that Shaw finds Harris guilty of "influence without analysis" that has the unintended consequence of treating God like a "helicopter parent." I'm persuaded that Shaw is right. Three cheers for her, and for editors at The Federalist who recognized the merit of her critique.