Friday, April 28, 2006

My Epitaph, My Joy

Well rested peace now rests in peace
With calm content. A sleeve of dirt
Remains the rest of flesh as feast
For worms far more alive, alert
To less than me. I do not sleep
But I do rest in arms above the Earth.

by Evan Wilson

Notes on Nobility

The Scriptures note that we should show honor to whom honor is due. It even makes some suggestions as to which entities that includes (Parents, Emperors, Governors, Husbands, Pastors, Masters). In our egalitarian culture this is a difficult task. The underlying fear of honoring these is that you might have to admit to yourself, heaven forefend, that they are your Betters. I will wait a moment until you get done spasming. (dum-de-dum-de-dum, hmmm, do-dee-do...) Have we finished the adolescent harrumphing? Good. Now, as a first lesson, try honoring God. Romans lets us know that those who fail on this first point of honor are given up to the futility of their own minds. We wouldn't want that. You believe you honor Him, I gather. Is He your better? Yes? Why do you honor Him? Because He made all things and governs all things. Why do you think you are asked to honor Parents, Emperors, Governors, Husbands, Pastors, and Masters? It is simple. These are all governors of areas of our life. Oh how shall we manage? Perhaps you have gone this way- since honor goes to whom it is due, we deny that these governors are due any honor for they are not our Betters (to one degree or another) and then that latent disrespect functions nicely toward denying their governance over us. Examine the list of Biblically expected honorees. Does God expect them to govern? Do you have attitudes in place that keep you, when you look on them, to keep you from any sensation that you are seeing your Betters? Try to realize that government goes a dizzying distance up and down, from the Uncreated God to Unformed Matter. Governing is on the higher side and the governed on the low. To see it Biblically you have to look up.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Let’s see....
The seven heads of the Sea Beast (Rev. 13:1-10) represented (Rev. 17:10) seven kings.
The Apostle John wrote his vison during the reign of the sixth king. (Rev. 17:10 “”five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come”)
The seven heads also represent 7 mountains.
The world in which the Apostle wrote was dominated by Rome which is built on 7 hills.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to go look for a list of Roman emperors.
Starting with the first: “five of whom have fallen”
1] Augustus
2] Tiberius
3] Gaius
4] Claudius
5] Nero

The year of the four emperors (68/69 A.D.). These 3 last only a few months each until Vespasian takes control of Rome.
You can count them, as does Suetonius, making
“One is”
6] Galba (the writing of Revelation?)
“the other has not yet come”
7] Otho

8] Vitellius

Or not count them, as with Ptolemy and Bede, making
“One is”
6] Vespasian (the writing of Revelation?)
“the other has not yet come”
7] Titus

8] Domitian

A question arises noticing I have made a list of 8.
The Earth Beast (Rev. 13:11-18) is identified as an eighth king (Rev. 17:11).
Either Vitellius or Domitian is this Earth Beast.
In Chapter 19 the beast is defeated and cast into the lake of fire.
In Chapter 20 Satan is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit for “1000 years”.
That number is either literal or symbolic.
If symbolic it is a very long time with no way of deciding when that time is up.
If literal, an event like that described on Satan’s release will have happened 1000 years after the end of the beast.
What is described is:
Satan deceives the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. They march across the earth and surround the “camp of the saints and the beloved city”.
Vitellius dies in 69 + 1000 = 1069
Domitian dies in 96 + 1000 =1096
Either one strike any chords of memory?
How about the First Crusade? 1096
Seems to fulfill some of the requirements of four corners of earth, marching armies, and, if Jerusalem is meant, the beloved city.
If the number is symbolic it is a mighty big coincidence that allows such a major historic event to occur in the year of its literal use.

All the blame or credit for this idea is hereby reposed on the Oracle.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Madame X

My Daughter on the Occasion of her Senior Recital

What a voice!
What a performance!
College was worth it.
So I, proud father that I am, took this picture.
Reminds you of something, doesn't it?

There is something about it that says Singer.

John Singer Sargent
and his painting
Madame X

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why Wouldn't a Centaur Read?

O.K. he is not reading precisely, he is looking something up.

Let Us See Who Salutes

Thirty points later, mind having been through the meat grinder of social philosophy made in defense of the indefensible, it is Monday morning. Monday, the day on which in mine own minority, my esteemed father would wake me with the shout, "Monday! Monday! Another week in which to excel!!" This Monday is where the spouse and self find the high school kids of Montrose Academy delivered into our charge that the truths of philosophically grounded nobility can be shoved into minds that only have plug-ins for entertainment and the requisite soundtrack. This is difficult for the man who sees the iPod as the equivalent of a hamster wheel.
We get an hour each day all week.
Wish us luck.
No.. pray for us.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Fifteen

A Lady is Modest.
She is not busy declaring herself.

In most people's lexicon the word "modesty" is a reference to the amount of coverage given to a female's more attractive aspects. Certainly a Lady is conscious of the moral statement and effect that laxity in her attire might engender. But a Lady is modest for a deeper cause of which mere coverage of body parts is an effect. When a woman wears an immodest choice in clothing she is not just being a temptation to the male members of a society. She is drawing attention to herself. A Lady may be attractive but as a Lady she does not have that quality as the subject of her communications. This is broader than physical beauty. Is she wealthy? Is she very intelligent? Whatever the "benefit" she perceives residing in herself, a Lady is not present to make everyone realize it. Modesty, as it is for the Gentleman, is to live by the merit you have, not by its advertisement. A Lady must be conscious of her gifts for it is by those that she serves but the service of her gifts will not be stated to have the first thought of the recipient be about the Lady. The first focus of a Lady's charge is to make others rejoice at the gift, not the giver. The effect of a Lady's presence in society is just as successful if no one knows who is the cause. A Lady is a servant to the peace of her society. Her recognition, her repute, her honor will naturally evolve. It is tawdry when her immodesty requires it immediately.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Fourteen

A Lady is Gracious.
She has a polite word for the impolite.

A Lady is an ad hoc governess of the social world she inhabits. The good she does is striving to bring a law that makes peace and pleasantness. There is very little in the way of a police action sort of discipline that a lady has at her disposal. The discipline she has is the vision others have of herself, her standards, and her efforts. That vision becomes acute and riveting when a rudeness is expressed by some participant. The person that, in her company, commits an impoliteness has done so in vivid comparison to the polite. The polite word in response to this rachets up the comparison in all who view it. Mercy often is a greater demonstration of the good than meeting the just punishments of the law would be. "A soft answer turns away wrath." A gracious response to someone who is undeserving is not just a handy and powerful choice for discipline. It is also revelatory of the Lady's heart. Have all her efforts been moved by doing loving things to others or having her world her way. Is it primarily her peace she governs for or her society's peace. Since mercy is as logically connected to error as is judgment wrath, the opportunity which a rude error provides is the view into the offended party's character. Good hearts default easily to mercy while self serving hearts cry out for punishment.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Thirteen

A Lady is Dignified.
Her expression is meet with her position.

Dignity is position in relation to any hierarchical measure. To be dignified (an oft maligned concept reeking of Englishmen with top hats) is to be self-referenced to your position. You speak from it. You live in a way so that it is recognizable. A Lady knows that her position limits her. She may not act wild and crazy. She must not speak with the vocabulary of a sailor or an adolescent. Her dependents hear in her voice the sound of authority with awareness that they are being served by a person of "standing". Dignity is the target of honor. Whether it receives honor or no, it ought not turn the Lady aside from wearing the award. False dignity is not allowed. A Lady would never declare or expect an honor without being just that honorable. Dignity is a true place not a pretend land where young women dress up as if Jane Austen were coming to tea. For many, the false is the quickest. In their minds, to wear the uniform of a Lady is just as good as being one. Your dignity is the realization of the honor due your capabilities which have called you to your position. Confidence is the stabilizing view you have of your abilities while dignity is the view those abilities give you of the social terrain. Low or high, a Lady understands how her tone is affected by the award bestowed on her by the hierarchy. Elizabeth II, Queen of England (God Save Her!) speaks with authority tinged with the majesty of England and centuries. You, as the hostess of your next affaire, will speak with authority tinged with the importance of being Mrs. So-and-So of x-years on this estate. The rest of society has a pretty good sense of how important you are. Too low or too high an expression is as uncomfortable as too hot or too cold. Only those at war with anything lifted up object to authority spoken with the voice of that authority.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Twelve

A Lady is Confident.
She does not doubt in what she is able.

In order to provide what a Lady provides a certain level of self appraisal is necessary. She gives herself and she needs to know that she can "afford" it. Ladies exist at all levels of capabilities and economy. A Lady of more limited skills must know that to give what she is able is more important than pretending or attempting to give more. The recipient of her gift ends up being denied the benefit when it is only pretence. On the positive side, what such Lady is able to give, when given, crafts a gift both solid and enjoyed, uncompromised by limited abilities and self-questioning. This rule is also directed at the incurable optimist who thinks she is able and is not. She might not go through a social event fearful of discovery but she may think she can wear "that dress" when, we all know, she can't. She may believe that the height of the social season is occurring at her function but more than the function is being upended. Her reputation suffers. She will be assessed as someone who has, at least, lied to herself. She does not understand. In other words, a number of the necessaries of any claimant to the role of Lady are lost by this one error. Merely being a bit more self-knowledgeable and pulling back to the realm of her competence will save her. This error, many times, comes from a combination of acknowledging the heights to which a society can rise but being unable to believe that ones own character and gifts fall short. Most people see very easily the others that cumber the social slopes below them. They don't see up and past themselves quite so readily. But knowing your place requires that you see below and you see above. The place you are in the hierarchy of society is replete with opportunities for you natural abilities. It is the only place where you can be confident without calamity.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Eleven

A Lady is Poised.
She stands as a memorial to the Civilized.

Our skeletons are an armature. A variety of soft tissue is hung on it and the sum of these parts are pulled toward the center of the earth by gravity. Some women stand as if gravity was the only force making any choices for their posture. They are only declaring in the symbol of their physical presence the same thing that a cow declares. All the decisions of the sculpture called "in the image of God" are made for them. Other women make added efforts to control how their physical selves are displayed. What is important to them, from efficiency to athleticism to wantonness are aptly spoken in this body language. The efficient (some mom with a lot to do) move and stand for stability with the tasks before them, not their dignity, filling their windshield. They walk like they are wading up stream, always conscious of their most secure footing. The athletes (all too often created by our schools) move and stand like men. Most sports have been defined by men and all that is wondrous about the female physique is denied and considered a hindrance. Why does it surprise us (perhaps it doesn't) that a large amount of lesbian recruitment happens in women's athletics? The wanton (of these three the most clearly female) moves like a high and rolling sea. Her stance declares the parts of her that she wants noticed for she is, to herself, just a collection of parts. She is an animal in heat and her only humanity is in economics for her products are for sale. These three illustrate (while perhaps many more could be recognized) that a woman's will applied to her physical frame declares the thing she venerates. A Lady, by being a Lady, has laid claim to civilization. She venerates the task of providing a social guide or government. The height of many good parts of our world can come to rest in such a Lady's poise. Beauty, grace, elegance, chastity, woman, dignity, restraint all should be part of a mental check list until they are habitual in her movement and in her rest. Functional, androgynous, fast (in both senses), competitive say something but it is not "Lady". In what sort a home would a Lady live? On what sort of grounds would it sit? Ratios would be correct and clean proportions would be evident. So let it be written, so let be done.

Work Pipe

After lunch, a pipe.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Ten

A Lady is Honest.
She abhors the false in word and deed.

Lying is a moral problem as much for a Lady as anyone else. A Lady is also concerned about falsity occurring in the social arena where society might not define the falsehood as a lie. In her own character a Lady is vigilant to have what she says and does be directly representative of the reality. False compliments are unbecoming as much as insults are impolite. A Lady must learn to be kind without resorting to lying. Her behavior must announce only what is true. A gathering she hosts obstensibly as a party must not be a device for subjecting the attendees to a sales pitch of some sort. This is true because everyone who hears or sees a communication from a Lady must be able to depend on the claims made. Actions or beliefs subsequent to a falsehood will produce error and error will release chaos that was unnecessary. Even a unexpected failure must not be covered up but ought to be met with direct admission of the demerit. It should not ever be "I decided that soup was a better choice for our gathering," if you burned the roast. It should be "I must apologize for I burned the roast. We will be having soup instead."

A Lady also becomes an audience that expects to be dealt with truthfully. The realms of good society are valued and it is not unlikely that aspirants to that value will be tempted to bend the truth in order to enjoy those goods. This is one of the small things in which a Lady ought to be adept. Knowing that others might have conveyed a falsehood she should discover what is true and adjust her ear and behavior to correct the lie's damage. This may be anything from not listening to gossip (rife as it is with untruth) to striking a certain person from future guest lists for damage they introduced by playing their inclusion dishonestly. Those who honestly enjoy an honest person's benefits find that the social moment is confidently at peace.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Nine

A Lady is Charitable.
By her means she benefits the needy.

A person may be charitable for many reasons. It may be religious law or it may be pity or it may have social expectations. When it is suggested that a Lady is charitable we are not saying she is or isn't moved by these other arena's motives. A Lady will be charitable as Lady because she is a servant of Peace in the society she serves. Initially she adjusts herself and the home that surrounds her to produce the greatest peace for its inhabitants. She fends off large and small assaults on her primary objectives. Still, as she becomes efficient in her service and older in life both her time and affluence find room in their budget for broader choices. A Lady is always aware that her efforts at peace are bordering lives that are far from it. While a Lady may devote aspects of her time and money to her own family's enjoyments her nature suggests that she remedy and raise the lives in chaos that surround her own. This is not the charity that fills out a check for the Sudan. That is a good for other reasons. A Lady's charity is toward her tenantry. She provides otherwise unavailable goods to those who, by some definition, exist under the umbrella of an informal statement of her effects. A Lady is trying to root out the calamity of all kinds, at all levels inside the mandate given her standing. A Lady of lower establishment may only be able, given a low budget and time, to favor the next door neighbor or the physical needs of her friends. A better established Lady may cast a wider net. She has both ability and range to fuel her charities. Her husband's employees for instance or community wide demands are the possible gift area for a woman with such status. The sum is this. A Lady will satisfy the demands for peace inside her obligations and then she will consider her ability to assist the gravest problems that lie closest at hand outside her obligations.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Eight

A Lady is of Good Repute.
She is honored by her company.

It says that "A good name is above rubies." It is certain that anyone enjoys a good name when they realize they have one. But we need to consider why it is essential in the recognition of being a Lady. C. S. Lewis describes a certain woman thusly, "She was the kind of woman that lived for others. You could tell the others by their hunted expression." There are many do-gooder, busy-body woman who will tell you themsleves the service they are to their society. Reputation is the reality. Reputation is the collection of a Lady's successes. A Lady's gift is to others and the memories of those gifts are there, in the others, reposed. If she has succeeded in maintaining the expectations presumed to be a Lady defined, society will thus define her. Certainly she should not be seeking to hear the flattery or fish for those compliments. While she might truly want to know how she is doing, an opposite message will be sent. A direct compliment fished for is doubtful at best. The encouragement of society's praise does, with time, seep back to the cause and if it is trustworthy, a Lady will be able to confidently pursue and perhaps adjust her efforts. While a Lady will hear, inadvertently, praise of her deeds, this quality of definition is largely for the rest of society. It helps identify those whose behavior, in light of this informal honor, should be elevated in more minds than those directly benefited by her. It also points a young lady seeking guidance in these skills to know whom to trust. Valuation by society is a training for a society. What is valued will be that to which other women wish to rise.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Seven

A Lady is an Adept in Small Things.
She ably repels the incidental futilities.

A Lady does not sweat the small things but she will not let them pass. The large picture is made up of small, and while she will not be consumed by such trivialities and be kept from importance, she will adjust, resolve, remove their slight importunities. This can be anything from an extra guest showing up for dinner to a kitchen appliance on the fritz to a tear in her or someone else's garments. She knows what she must do to dodge or remedy the damage and if she, herself, cannot she knows who can and brings them to the task. As a hostess she has prepared all the important goods and lives in her event with an eye for the small interruptions. She cannot and ought not try to micromanage beforehand as if those must be prevented. They are chance and accident. These will happen to a Lady who has prepared her capabilities with presence of mind and skills. If she is only a participant in a social circumstance she is ready to lend her aid to those who might need to call upon her. Trifling courtesies in society can be the greatest of gifts. People expect the reward of the larger offerings of the social moment and it is the trifles that end up being the "above and beyond the call of duty" sensation and report of that moment. How much more is the capable "fix" of the trifling disruption without which "fix" the moment can sometimes be apocalyptically ruined?

The Way of a Lady: Rule Six

A Lady has Understanding.
She knows that ignorance is mother to Chaos and the Common.

Sophia, the personification of Wisdom in the first nine chapters of Proverbs, makes it clear. A life, a house, a society, a universe were built on the patterns of her nature. All that works and all that is good finds much of its rest in understanding what Sophia has marked out. Since chaos and things common function in lives that know nothing or what they know is false, "If you get anything, get insight." The futility of this world is constantly tearing at the fabric and foundation of society and life. The energy we expend either assists the destruction or it counteracts it. A woman who knows that the peace of her society is the offspring of effort, knows that prior to effort expended she must learn the makeup of this world. A Lady will have spent and continues to spend time pursuing explanations. She wants the true explanations. Anything other is a waste of time. Having beliefs is no replacement for having true beliefs. All the participants that assist Futility in tearing apart all that is, have beliefs. Consequently it is incumbent on a Lady, at the level of her mental capabilities, to know first what makes things true and false, and how one can know certainly if the thing believed is true or not. She must be observant and able to trust her senses. The world she empirically predicts should come true. She must be rational, logical, and provide no fountain of nonsense. This means she understands that, since to pass believable knowledge to others she must package it in reason,she should herself only adopt a belief that is reasonable. She must recognize and bend the knee to her betters (those who possess knowledge). She should be intimately acquainted with apostles, prophets and sages. They may reveal something to her.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Five

A Lady Adorns her World.
She knows and practices at the Beautiful.

Being a Lady is an Art. An Art is the willful crafting to make more useful or beautiful. A Lady, on most fronts, is employed in arranging her words and actions to improve the use of society but her audience is manifestly susceptible to the improvement before their eyes and ears. "The eye sees but is never satisfied, the ear hears but is never filled." Visual and aural beauty are the advertisement for the underlying gifts of order. It is the wrapping paper without which the recipient would not know they received a gift. While there must be a gift inside the paper, a Lady seeks to announce what value a gift has by the attention to its adornment. The setting of a table should refer to the height of the meal. The dress she wears should claim the formality or informality of the moment. Her style, hair, makeup and perfume should align the senses of her company to receive her continuing graces. Her choice of music fills a room with information without which the company would be bereft of guidance. They would fill in the blank without her aid and then the Lady would have relinguished a strong ally in communicating the good she strives to do others. Because aesthetics are a mentally enjoyed sensuality (rather than a physically enjoyed) her efforts can be trained in the common patterns of humankind. Red and green are complements regardless of nation or era. Certain combinations of pitch please both the Orient and the Occident. It has always been thus and is consequently information that can be learned.

Ballpoint and Highlighter

This, I think, is from the Seventies. I was in college, sitting in the Student Union, getting nothing done... except this cup. The knowledge that I would have gained studying, would it have been filed away, to be brought out on private occasions, merely to enjoy something about it like I enjoy the fraud of two dimensional claims of three? Depends on the class I suppose. Some tidbit about Edward the Second that has never passed my way again, that would be a tragic loss. But I could have been wasting my "precious" time going over sociology notes. Such classes are for poofters. Keep your doodles, I say, for they are sturdier loot from your past than your educational factoid collection. That is unless you revisit those moments where you mentally drew a charming portrait of Edward the Second. Perhaps with his foul wife Isabel, so falsely portrayed in Braveheart. If the shorthand you use or the brushstrokes employed do artfully pull the real dimensions of history into a beautiful suggestion of that reality, than, I suppose, you can keep your education along with the yellow cup.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some Use for Old Drawings

Files of countless sketches provide for tired blog eyes. Rest for the weary. Souls beaten by oracular obtuseness finally clasp their pudgy hands together and cry, "Oh goody, a picture."

The Way of a Lady: Rule Four

A Lady is Quiet.
Her voice invites more Peace than less.

Squealing. Screeching. Howling. Screaming. Berating. None of these qualities describe a Lady. The society relies on its Gentlemen and Ladies as an anchor against the chaos that society has evolved to order. Each of the above terms of unwarranted volume is a chaotic response (hence unwarranted) to a communication or event. Too many Ladies think it is a sign of some refinement to show a skittishness and a pronounced sensitivity to the events that seem to ask for her response. To be refined is to be controlled and not explosive. In fact, a social set will find that, when an actually chaotic moment has come upon them, that a screaming woman becomes the immediately disliked replacement. It is an additional chaos, an addition of hysterics, and the desire to put a muzzle on the woman precedes the desire to truly resist the initial cause. It is perhaps, like the desire some feel to put copious explanation marks in their written descriptions. They wish to appear "alive" and they only inflate the currency of human expression. The excess is meaningless regarding the item so punctuated. But it does have a decidedly unLadylike meaning. Exceed the opportunity for laughter and it becomes squealing. Exceed the need for a firm correction and it becomes berating. All that exceeds the needs of the 1] joke or 2] error has been added not because the joke or error demanded it. The woman's pursuit of attention thinks that it has found in the joke or error a place to slip the rest of society a heady reminder that she exists and she, not the joke or error, has needs. She gets a splinter so she pulls the fire alarm. A Lady will know herself and her world with some degree of accuracy. A Lady will not allow herself to sound desperate for recognition and will labor to develop a sense of the ordinate value of a social event. The event will get from a Lady just what it deserves. If a Lady screams it had better be the Creature of the Black Lagoon and not a mouse.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Three

A Lady is Gentle.
The strength of her hands protects the frail.

A gentlewoman is not expected to be frail herself. A gentlewoman may be weak and she may be strong. If she is weak, her gentleness might not be a virtue (while, of course it might) if she hasn't the strength to harm a soul. If she is strong, her gentleness is alive to us all. The other things in her life which may be bruised, are not. She controls her strength (be it physical or emotional) to shield and benefit the those things easily damaged. All too often a strong woman feels it to be incumbant to demonstrate that strength by how much damage it can do. Has she a strong voice? She is loud. Has she a strong physique? She joins the rugby team. She spends her time jostling the world, disrupting the peace, and giving more civilized people something to solve rather than enjoy. A civilized world is at peace, and strength, in women or men, is the protection to the peace. Strength elevates a woman to a position of responsibility for those weaker. A woman can be a bully, even an unthinking bully, when her power breaks rather than mends.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Merciless

Many years ago I wrote a novel based on C. S. Lewis' analysis of courtly love in his Allegory of Love. The novel involved two tiers; one being an introductory (per chapter) conversation between Venetian nobles on the aspects of courtly love (a la Castiglione) and two, being the main story of the standard damsel in distress knightly endevour viewed through the actions of a courtly knight (Sir Georgius) and a pre-courtly knight, (Hardratta the Merciless). This is a picture of Hardratta. He ties locks of hair of those who he has killed around the rim of his shield.

The Way of a Lady: Rule Two

A Lady is Reverent.
She speaks with honor of those Higher than she.

How archaic and odd. But, of course, reading the rules of being a Lady evinces a certain desire missed by the modern. First off, this is not a rule regarding religious piety (though that is certainly an application of this rule). In our "enlightened" age nobody, regardless of the evidence of reality, nobody ought to be considered higher than anyone else. A Lady is, quite simply, not this kind of philosophical buffoon. A Lady, by definition, is a higher place for a woman to stand. If someone is not a "Lady" it is not that they are just different, they have less standing. And a Lady understands that one's place is owed honor because our distinctives are not only side to side but up and down. The phrase in the Bible of "honor to whom honor is due" is hard to make applicable when no one is "better". A woman who does not understand height, and award it its due, cannot expect the rewards of height to accrue to her. "Do as you would be done by" is the Golden Rule so a Lady ought not express rebelliousness in the presence of her social betters. But this awareness of self interest and a non-hypocritical expression is not the central case. There is a debt of reverence to those higher whether or not you are motivated to offer such to get such. The "curtsy" (metaphorically used) is accepting the blessing of the social heights and accepting their guidance and laws at your level of participation. All rule, including social rule, is the rule of the top over the bottom and we desire rule in our social arena that peace and good may be enjoyed by guidance from on high. The higher agents are the more responsible and capable agents and are given this realm to bring it into order. Reverence makes their task easier. Reverence expressed to our betters sets aside fear of calamity in the particular arena.

"Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you."

I Peter 3: 2-6

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Peace that is all too easy to Understand

The missus and I returned Monday night from a conference in Colorado. The task of said conference was to introduce the believers (college students) to the wealth in the Scriptures and the desires, methods and reasons to attain unto it. Some rejoiced. A number did not want any of it. It seems that a comfortable level of a "don't bother me" wistfulness (a resignation to "doubt" as a normative measure of the Christian's knowledge) had taken up occupancy in their frontal lobes. The call to know ("If you get anything, get insight.") was viewed as hippies usually viewed a draft notice in 1969. Hippies didn't want to think that something greater than themselves (and what they currently enjoyed) was calling for their attention.

Some of our audience had replaced the reward of a Christian's Peace with catapulting a full body slam into a rigorous and devout ordering of another realm of self to obtain a different peace. Like with all of us they sought a realm to conquer, to bring under their command, and live in its peace. What this audience plotted to control was the endorphin rich, soy eatin', downhill/upcliff realm of recreation. They recreate as if so much fun were the "chief end of man". We all know the desire for peace but the collateral desires fed by this "different peace" are more readily assertained. The delight of God's Peace is a narrower and less evident way and few are they that find it.

They have bravely gone out as conquerors but their conquest was the taking of a nation like Canada. Sure, we could take the friendly neighbors of the Great White North in a reasonably active afternoon but what would we actually gain? Not all realms are equal in value. These REI wunderkind have found a distinct, allowable, different peace but when the guide of God's Peace is doubted and fussed at, the unstinting devotion to recreation becomes a "replacement" peace. The Recreaites are not alone. Others find it in "family values". Some others replace the pursuit of God's Peace in more innocuous hobbies like fan clubs or model railroading. Some labor at ordering a liveable peace in just their jobs or, tragically, their church. There is no immorality in what each of these involve as these "actions" mentioned are goods. The problem is in replacement. Peace must be had somewhere, somehow or we will go mad. Do you want peace? Of course you do. Do you know which category of peace is of the greatest value? Does it receive the most time, intensity of effort, absorption in research, drivenness of devotion, and collection of its appropriate social choices? It is true that our bodies are our kingdoms but every aspect of all of us is within the Kingdom of God. Your body is but a "village" with mere village rules and traditions. The Kingdom of God wishes us to set aside some of what we give to our provincial duties and find the desires and peace that would bind us to Him. The lower realms we bring under our law and in which we find some peace must not supplant the greater realm of Heaven. When God asks for our minds we must not make excuse to craft a temporary, momentarily gratifying peace from our own village.

"Bodily training is of little value but spiritual training is of much value in every way."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Highway

I know I haven't posted as I should have. I have fourteen more rules for the ladies and I dawdle. At least for the next few days there is a reason for oracles not dropping from my fevered lips. The missus and I are speaking at a conference in Gunnison, Colorado, leaving Thursday and coming back Monday. Pray for safety and wisdom and benefit.