Just updated my Now Page (my home is my castle edition).
Sometimes, I think the world just isn’t as black and white as it’s portrayed in the movies. Then I remember the president and his gang of miscreants and cinema-worthy villains.
🎵 It’s hard to believe that the Mogwai that just put out the house music inspired Reverso EP are the same Slint disciples that recorded Young Team in 1997.
This week in worship, in place of a traditional sermon, our worship leaders engaged in the practice of havruta (learning in pairs). The text that was discussed was Ezekiel 37:1-14.
The LORD’s power overcame me, and while I was in the LORD’s spirit, he led me out and set me down in the middle of a certain valley. It was full of bones. He led me through them all around, and I saw that there were a great many of them on the valley floor, and they were very dry.
He asked me, “Human one, can these bones live again?”
I said, “LORD God, only you know.”
He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, Dry bones, hear the LORD’s word!” “The LORD God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again.” “I will put sinews on you, place flesh on you, and cover you with skin. When I put breath in you, and you come to life, you will know that I am the LORD.”Ezekiel 37:1-6, CEB
It was noted that our present situation, with all of its restrictions and constant reminders of illness and even death, feels a bit like being in the valley of the dry bones. We wonder, when will this pandemic end, life return to normal, and the dry bones again have the breath of life. It’s not lost on me that the concept of breath plays so prominently in this passage, as we read stories of people having the very breath constricted from their lungs. It’s also not lost that a passage in the book of a prophet seems, well, prophetic in context of world events.
As we hope for the breath of life to once again come to our world, it was noted that the breath of God that comes to fill us may well be different than what we were expecting. We may find ourselves facing a new reality, when all this is over.
I know I just blogged about it, but C.S. Lewis’ ‘Learning in War-time’ is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read about our current situation. Lots of highlights.
Philip Christman implores us, in Volume 99 of The Tourist, when we are tempted to write another “What is art in the face of ___________,” piece, to remember that C.S. Lewis already did it. Though a Christman uses slightly stronger language than I am willing to employ here, he makes his point. During the Second World War, Lewis wrote “Learning in War-time” as a sermon that he preached in 1939.
The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumable they have their reward. Men are different.They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffold, discuss, the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.
This is by no means an argument to toss out precautionary measures against a certain threat. While Lewis points out that 100% of people die, most of us would rather do it later than sooner. It is, however, a moment to recognize that the world is never truly “safe” and waiting until it has achieved that status is likely to keep you from, as Morrissey would say, “doing all the things in life you’d like to.” We can shelter in place and still remain committed to learning, creating and expressing.
I am happy that my church decided to hold virtual worship service this morning, complete with singing, responsive liturgy, sermon and passing of peace. I wasn’t thrilled that it was done through Facebook, a platform with which I have many reservations (to be charitable). Our church isn’t used to this kind of thing, though, so choosing a platform for broadcasting is just one more hurdle to be surmounted as quickly as possible.
Jonas Ellison writes in praise of churches that don’t do the virtual thing very well, and hopes they ultimately keep it that way.
I hope churches like mine don’t get too good at this. I hope that they can under-deliver just a little bit as this social distancing continues (here in Chicago, EVERYTHING is closed including bars and restaurants starting in a couple of days).
Just don’t get too good at the remote worshipping thing, church. Don’t let us get too comfortable watching from home. No matter what you do, it just isn’t the same. But thanks for doing what you can to keep us gathered during this time.
I’m grateful to be able to have time to worship God with others, even through the distance of a screen on a coffee table. I’ve never attended a worship service in my pajamas, with my cat, prior to this crisis. I hope it doesn’t stay that way for too long, though. I want to be in fellowship with the congregation, safely elbow bumping through our messages of peace to each other.
Richard Burr should be prosecuted for insider trading for his role in spreading information that would massively effect stock performance to his friends while deliberately and systematically withholding that information from the public.
Andy Nicolaides from The Dent has a post about continuing to care about things that may seem inconsequential during these times of isolation and illness. He emphasizes that it’s okay to look forward.
If any of you reading this have been thinking there’s no point in starting that new podcast you’ve had on your mind for a while, or writing a blog post about how much you like that one episode of Star Trek, or whatever, I ask you to reconsider. Create, joke, play, discuss, speculate, enjoy, love, write, record, laugh. You don’t know who’s day you may brighten with whatever it is you put out there. At the very least, you will enjoy it and that should always take priority.
For his part, Nicolaides will still continue to share his passion for new Apple gadgets at The Dent. I’m going to continue to post interesting things I find from around the interwebs, and they may or may not be related to a certain virus that shall not be named (certainly not by point of origin, as is the habit of some sinister villains).
Incidentally, if you are interested in starting a new podcast, Micro.blog is offering free microcast hosting with their standard hosting plan for the month of April.
Screenshot Daily has a post on games with themes around mental health. Strong recommendation for Celeste from my brother.