Mostly stuff on Christianity by an Anglican priest who reads a lot of C. S. Lewis. Please note: all my posts about Lewis' book How To Pray are on the cslewis.org site, under Social Media/blog.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Your elders

Greetings. I just read a news article where someone locally made the statement that our highschool and college students can understand the injustices of our society, so why cannot the grownups?

Well, first of all - contrary to her accusation - there happen to be grownups who are aware of social injustices and actually have been addressing them for some time - this person and her young friends just don't have enough history in their background to realize that. Or perhaps they don't socialize with enough grownups to realize it.

However, the main response is simple: Grownups have more sense than to let their kids decide what is best for our society.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Not sure what to do?

II Kings 7:3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.

If I do nothing, nothing will happen. If I do something and it is not right, God will shut the door. If I act, and the door is open, then God's will is done. So, imitating these lepers, I get up to do XYZ that is at hand, and whatever other good I may do. I will watch God work. Why not?

The next steps will become evident as I act.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Letter to Sen. Blackburn


23 June, 2020

Dear Sen. Blackburn:

Greetings.  Thank you for taking the time to talk with Hugh Hewitt this morning.  Poor Hugh.  I love him, but he's such a radical Lincoln-loving Unionist that he fails to understand the sentiment of our country after that war.  When the war was over, there were many efforts made to reunite the country.  Each side was allowed to have their heroes, but in addition, these heroes were owned by the whole country.  Why?  For all those generals were Americans - especially if the Northern view of the politics of the war was correct.  America was proud to have been the homeland of several of the greatest military geniuses in history, who were praised around the world: Generals Lee, Jackson, and Forrest.  The American history textbooks written for our schools not only praised the Northern generals but the Southern as well - for we were all Americans.  Many of these Confederate officers had stirling records in the U.S. Army before the war.  Indeed, before Lincoln invaded Virginia, Gen. Lee was asked to be the head of the U.S. Army!  The U.S. Army did not forget that, nor did they forget the brilliance with which they - fellow Americans - fought, and they continued to honour these gentlemen - as they would honour them even on the battlefield - by naming U.S. Army institutions after them, along with Grant, Sherman, et. al.  

Hugh doesn't understand this.  His understanding of the war is overly simplistic ("They took up arms against our country!  They wanted to destroy this country!") and he doesn't know the pride with which America has owned all its past heroes, whether they fought for the North or for the South.

The present movement against the naming of our military institutions after Confederates is not really anti-Confederate.  It is anti-American.  This becomes increasingly obvious with the defacing and destruction of ALL historical monuments in our country, all the way back to Christopher Columbus.  We need leaders who will stand up against this tide of ignorance and hate.  Maybe those 3 years of deliberation [in a Senate committee] about our military tradition will help raise up such leaders.

Respectfully, your servant

Rev. David Beckmann

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Danger of Identity Politics in the Academy

From a preview of the book The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done, by John Ellis:

Monday, May 18, 2020

Peace in Christ: Sermon for Rogation Sunday, 2020


I begin my sermon around 27 minutes into the video; text is the last part of John 16:23f.  Of course, I start out with a goof up, saying Jesus wants us to pray in the Father's name.  Thankfully, I got on track. :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Response to Injustice

The best thing the Church can do in the face of any social injustice is to stay on mission.  Sin is the reason for injustice, and the only one with the power to deal with it is Jesus.  The wisdom of God is greater than the wisdom of man: "make disciples of every nation."  That's God's program for the peace of this world (remember the angels' message to the shepherds) and for the ultimate resolution of all things.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tolkien's "Discovery" Method


Having recently re-read Carpenter's biography of Tolkien, I keep thinking about how he often wrote or talked about discovering elements to his stories.  For example, he would come up with a name for character in a story, and then he would say he had to "discover" where this person came from and what they were like, and so forth.  He treated his stories as if there was a real history behind them, and he had to research and find out what that history told him.

My past reaction to this method of "discovery" was simply that this was a verbal construct on his work of imagining.  "I have to discover," meant "I'm going to go off and dream this stuff up."  However, I have also recently been learning how the act of writing can lead to thoughts coming to us which may not have come to us otherwise.  There is something about the connection between how our brains work and the act of putting pen to paper.  I'm now wondering if this is connected to Tolkien's method of story creation.

Was it the case that Tolkien experienced over and again how the act of writing fired his imagination and brought ideas to his mind about his stories?  If so, there is a sense in which a real discovering occurred.  The things discovered were out of his own imagination, but the experience of creation in the midst of writing was as if they just "came to him," as if they were already there - somewhere - and he was coming upon them, discovering them, for himself? 

If so, we ourselves can imagine how Tolkien would be anxious to get to his study and start writing in order to experience this discovery of things that he himself enjoyed creating.  He experienced discovery.  His saying that he had to "discover" this or that was not a way merely of talking about "dreaming something up."  It was, to him, a real experience of discovery, and what he discovered moved him deeply. 

We probably will never confirm this idea, but it is an interesting speculation about the psychology behind Tolkien's method of discovery.  What do you think about this?

[image source: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]