Thursday, June 29, 2006

Important Dirt on Me

I have a dirt collection. It is an inexpensive hobby and virtually no attention is paid to it. It is known and others do my collecting for me. My dirt ( in eighth cup quantities) must be from important and mostly unexpected/quirky places that you should not expect to see above the door of a private library in Moscow, Idaho.
I have
1. a bit of Edinburgh
2. a bit of Ireland
3. a bit of the "grassy knoll"
4. a bit of the Garden of Eden
5. a bit of the Isle of the Lotus Eaters
6. a bit of the Acropolis
7. a bit of the top of the tumulus at Marathon

Those that are not of mine own collection have a blessing recorded on the bottle to the person responsible. For example the Isle of the Lotus Eaters is labeled, followed by"Bless Katie Botkin".
If you wish to have your name immortalized in Sharpie marker on the side of a single serving jam jar, send me your dirt with its particulars. Be warned that I am the final arbiter of its importance. Someone might wonder why I would be disinterested in dirt from Gettysburg and very interested in dirt from Glen Livet. These are mysteries of mine own mind and some of you understand. You can always check before you risk arrest in a second or third world country. Is your soul prepared to be enshrined? Let us hope so.

Taking Stock

As promised, the Oracle is back in Zion having visited, with good effects, the lesser tribes of Philistia. He speaks, pregnant with nicotine induced visions, of his successful retirement from the Board of the Society for Classical Learning. Had a good conference nonetheless and some schools spoke of asking the Oracle to their own towns for a visit. That, dear friends, is the point of this post. The SCL was pretty much my only foray into the greater world outside Moscow and was the only place the work we do at the Big Haus could be known more broadly. We still wish to build our ministry into something known enough to make it a destination for those who seek. Were I to offer myself on the mercenary altar of "guest lecturer", what have I said in the past that you would say is so beneficial that I should make some seminar package of it?

On which aspects of the Christian life has the Big Haus some authority?
I received a very excited response to the lecture on Gentlemen and Ladies. Couple that with the Mojo Oracles and the Tao of Eve and we might have something.
History lectures? Which parts would gain an interest (of which I have some knowledge, of course)?
How about materials that my graphics capabilities could produce?

If you have any suggestions, as someone who has heard a talk somewhere or just knows of a large need in this world, we would gladly accept those in the comment section.

If you think that the world would be a better place if I stayed in Moscow and kept my thoughts to myself, please also communicate. We would be kept from folly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Once and Future Blogger

I am going to be thinking a lot this week. Vast reaches of space and non-existent time shall compass my thinkings. I'll spout off in sundry places and, mayhap, I shall be applauded. Some will talk back, fervently hoping that what I say be false. It shan't be but it shan't be here that I do this dark thing. For one long week I, thinking and spouting, shall be elsewhere. North Carolina shall envelop me in its humid embrace. I shall speak of the nobility that rested in the person of The Black Prince, Edward, Prince of Wales. I shall foist my recently developed (on this blog) philosophies of the gentleman and the lady. I shall reprimand the Christian school movement with the correctives of C.S. Lewis' views on artificially produced culture. I shall visit old friends in their mountain home and shall there unload the remainder of my mind. Then I'll come back. Maybe I shall have lost all my readership, as they visit this place and finding nothing new day after day, consign my tardiness to the flame. The saints among them will feel the same temptation but will turn to their main squeeze and say, "He is gone awhile. Let us be patient." The squeeze will turn aside to hide the shed tear that steals down a rose mantled cheek and murmur the word "Avalon".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Having Happy Ideas

To be right, in the "correct" sense, is such a warm feeling. It is a happiness. Why is it that so many people who have a "correct" stance on something can't seem to be happy until they that disagree can be brought to agreement? These thought fascists can be watched plunging into greater and greater despair while they with whom they converse resist them. Being "right" doesn't make them happy.
In my mind this is evidential. I suggest that this need to convince is rooted in their lack of security about whether they are, in fact, right. They know that they will feel more "right" if more people get on board with the idea. I have been asked, on telling someone of one of my more bizarre views, if anyone else agrees with me. Truth, thankfully, is not democratic. Vox Populi is not Vox Dei. Contrary to Romans 14:1, the compulsive who welcomes what he conceives to be the weaker brother for nothing but disputes over opinions is running a political campaign trying to gain by acclaim what his ideas did not have by merit. If he doesn't get enough votes, he loses.

Imagine if numbers or a movement was the arbiter of where you should feel the most ideologically safe. The broad way, where many went in, would lead to life and the narrow way, which few found, would lead to destruction. No, we should measure our ideas on epistemological grounds that do not include assent of our hearers. In fact, one of the reasons your insecure viewpoints fail you in those moments is that you had not bothered to convince yourself with proofs and so you had no proofs to offer. Perhaps if your ideas had merit in that they brought you a good and a happiness in just being believed by you, the very meritorious existence would convince the Philistines as they came into your life. It suggests this principle for wives of non-believing husbands. They will be "won without a word when they see the behavior of their wives."

As it says later in Romans 14, (regarding why you don't impose your views on the brethren but conversely be ready to pull your views out of the way for love) "The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."

Remember Proverbs 9:12
"If you are wise, you are wise for yourself"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Believing He is Merciful

Prayer is not mere obedience. The very word "prayer" has to do with requests being made. When we take our anxieties before the Living God we are beseeching the ruler of all to make a change in what might beset us, (the actual, intended future of the various forces and wills involved) if we had not prayed. We are asking for His mercy.

Philippians 4:6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

The anxiety that the chaos of life contributes is given to God for His remedy and our faith is in His willingness to answer the prayers of the righteous.

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

The assumption in the James passage (and it argues that Elijah's prayer was powerful to effect the weather and that he was just like us) is that prayer effects, causes, prompts Our God, not merely participating in what He was already effectually doing. It is the prayer that has great power. By it, Moses turned God's wrath over the disobedient Israelites to mercy. By prayer, Hezekiah turned aside God's decree of his immediate death (by the word of Isaiah the prophet) to add fifteen more years of life.

II Kings 20:1-6 In those days Hezeki'ah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, `Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover.'" Then Hezeki'ah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight." And Hezeki'ah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: "Turn back, and say to Hezeki'ah the prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. And I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake."

And the prayers of the citizens of Nineveh turned God away from the promised destruction in forty days because Our God is "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repentest of evil. " Jonah 4:2

God will do what He wills but it is His will to respond to our prayer.

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. Peter quotes this as well (I Peter 3:12) to give us hope in difficult times.

An ignorance of God's responsive mercy sometimes keeps us from praying with faith. Even C.S. Lewis struggles with the question (without coming up with an answer) in his essay "The Problem of Petitionary Prayer". It is basically framed up in our minds as, "If God knows what I need before I ask Him, why then do I pray?" That which is accomplished by our prayers is granting God the knowledge, not of my needs, but of my faith in His willingness to respond. The "faith" in His mercy without this "work" is dead. There can be no response without the stimulus. There can be no answer from God without our question. He knows with certainty that we don't believe in His mercies when we don't petition Him. He can't respond without our cry because response had to hear something. The actuality of wanting Him to move comes into existence when our prayers bring before Him our wants and desires. He is happy to move heaven and earth for the prayer of faith. It is then that we have what the rest of the Philippians 4 passage promises; "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

And all God's children said "Amen!"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Does this sound like a Riddle to you?

How well you will.
How much you must.
The height you heed.
Till Death and dust.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


I will with wine toast the Muse and, gifted,
Wait to pass her past opaqued veil.
Another glass, with loud libation lifted,
Shall bend the ear to hear her whisp’red hail.
Two glasses, deep with drink, attunes the soul
For goddess speech and loosened man’s response.
A steady hand records her soft control
Of warmer blood with what that breath announce.

by Evan Wilson


For an update on what we are doing:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Gravity of Damocles

Forever hangs on mortal ears
And heard, suspends all hope and peace.
The threat that marks a moment drops
Mem'ries into the Past of Now.
This, hung on slender, fragile thread—
Time snapping with tomorrow's weight,
Piling tonnage of What Will, is
The falling flight from Life To Come.

by Evan Wilson

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I have not wept since 1969,

Old Coot

Last night I went downtown. My wife was singing backup to another musician for whose gifts it is well worth going downtown. I crossed the street, slightly delayed by an encounter with a foursome (2 of each and they were speaking of golf). We chatted. Breaking away before the stench of flirtation between them overcame me, I, as I said, crossed the street. More accurately, I "almost" crossed the street. I believe I had enough thrust and lift to clear it entire. I had even accelerated to avoid being run down by a truck and that should have accounted for any demands the opposite curb made in what should have been a purely Newtonian moment. But there before me, between me and whither I went, was a motorcycle. Hard tail, glide front end, Sportster tank, black engine, bicycle seat, wine red. If I had reached the curb I would have tripped over it.
Let us recap for the reader our writer, shall we?
I'm fifty-one.
I used to ride (Triumph 650).
It was in the mid-seventies.
I can't afford a mid-life crisis.
The old coot moment descended over mine eyes like a veil. What that means is that stories are recounted to bikers half your age, of bygone days with a tone that conveys that as surely as you covet theirs, they should covet yours.
They were polite but they could not shake the vision that stood before them in the street. A man's memory of himself coasting to a stop against the gracious but non negotiable curb in North Idaho. Something in the fuel line.

Monday, June 05, 2006

They That Visit

I notice a large sum of visitors coming from a site called Pooh's Think. They had been sent over to wonder if I was , in truth, a metaphor for a self obsessed culture. Welcome to you all. I am sure you are a fun bunch. Feel free to come again. I may need to clarify something however. I am described at the top of my blog as a number of things one of which is a "Pooh Bear Tory". If you visit from Pooh's Think you may take this description in the context of your own blog world experience. Disabuse yourself of that notion. I was named a "pooh bear tory" by Freddy "the beadle and prophet pro tem" Banks in recognition of my excessively tranquil and phlegmatic support of things that Tories support. God Save the Queen!
If you are a friend or enemy of Pooh over at Think, be aware I am his friend. He has eaten my salt. He may think I am a heretic but he is kind to me. I always like that. I will affirm that while he has the "thinky" part down, I am not sure that he has (and I speak as one with authority) the Pooh part sufficiently practiced.