Business Card

charliebrown_writing

 

Live lean.

Altar ends.

Mercy burns.

Pleasantly surprising.

Afflictions eclipsed by glory.

Write until your fingers break.

Everything worth doing hurts like hell.

The individual will be thoroughly misunderstood.

Write as if you were dying … — that is, after all, the case.

Completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.

Every action you take and every signal you send must be in support of the story.

You have to realize, ‘If I don’t write this — no one will. If I die — this idea dies with me.’

 

 

Sources
Bruton
Chekov
Chesterton
Crowder
Dillard
Godin
Howden
Kierkegaard
McMillan
Me
Miranda
Morning
O’Connor

 

Whispers and Words

god-answers-job-wm-blake

 

My dad died in my sleep.

2:35 AM in an upstate New York hospice; 11:35 PM in a Southern California house.

A text saying to call and two voice mails I still haven’t listened to and speaking was as a sunrise.

New but not unexpected.

*

Who’s the dust in this scenario?

Remember, O Man, that thou art but
dust and to dust thou shalt return.

We’re the dust and frequently in a maelstrom.

The Latin for dust helped birth the English pulverize.

*

We’re in the whirlwind but God is not always there.

Elijah one moment had witnessed some innovative earth-wind-fire-water interactions and the next he’s on the run from a tinpot loser, Jezebel. He bemoans his lot and God puts the Man in the door of his cave and God shows the Man where God is not — which includes, “a great and strong wind [that] tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks.”

Elijah stands in the entrance again and bemoans his lot again and seems altogether unmoved.

But he is not unmoved. He is uncertain but he is ready for action.

God is in the whispers and the words.

*

We’re in the whirlwind and God is sometimes there.

Near the end of Job’s ordeal — that to his family and that from his friends — God “answered [him] out of the whirlwind” and commanded, “dress for action like a Man.”

1,900 words later he has suggested the Man rethink his thinking, which Job begins to do half-way through but God isn’t done. He has more words.

To an idea earlier in the tale — “Though he slay me yet will I trust him” there are added words as well — “yet I will plead my case with him.” ESV says, “yet I will argue my ways to his face” — and Job  vindicated before his friends (and of course humbled before God) in walking this path.

*

Job also worships after calamity (as does King David, even when he catalyzed the calamity by adultery). These are difficult ideas if we haven’t already wrestled a bit with the Angel, so no I can’t explain them to another. I can say them and I can live them — work ’em out, Christians say, in fear and trembling — but I can’t explain them.

*

He’s in the whispers and the whirlwinds and the words that are God-to-Man and vice-versa.

*

To be with my dad and speak.

To be without my dad and speak.

To be with others and Other and speak.

*

As far as I’ve gotten so far in whirlwind and whisper and word.

 

He nails up his 95 Theses or Propositions, attacking the Church's traffic in indulgences, on the door of All Saints' Church, Wittenberg. Date 31 October 1517.

Steps

Adore and obey, don’t fulminate and flee
Be a man not a guy
A producer not a consumer
Solution not problem
(or be quiet)
(which doesn’t mean don’t talk ever)
Measured not random
Good not bad
Lean not fat
Walking not sitting
Writing not watching
Reading not watching
Watching not sleeping
Pay attention!
People not things
Paper not screens
Trees not screens
Clean not dirty
Neat not cluttered
(mostly)
Typing not keyboard
Pen not typing
Letter not email
Call not letter
Think, think, think
Feel, feel, feel, feel
Don’t confuse them!
Movies over TV
(except for Katy’s)
Active not passive
Love God and others, especially M

sas-2

Is Not That Special?

From a review of a book on founding Britain’s Special Air Service in World War II, what was required of recruits —

Courage
Fitness
Determination
Discipline
Skill
Intelligence
Training

and another review noted, quoting the book —

“Recruits tended to be unusual to the point of eccentricity … people who did not fit easily into the ranks of the regular army, rogues and reprobates with … little time for convention.”

There are a couple ways to read these ideas.

Isn’t that special? in the mock-admiring tones of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady
Dropping the mocking we can aver officiously, Well … it’s not all that special

Either can make us feel better.

The holier-than-thou of the faith-based, or
Its above-it-all analog of ones who sleep in

Neither can make us different.

It is easy enough — I did it in about three minutes — to run the gamut of dismissive tendencies, the tendentious tripe-ing and carping of the non-professional (or professional, if you like) critics.

It’s easy enough to find the hypocrisy in the hortatory, the holes in the high-emperor’s Hanes.

Much harder to give it a go — to run the gauntlet instead of the gamut.

If more did that it wouldn’t be so special.

 

eucatastrophe

Not a Eulogy

(A Eucatastrophe)

*

Love the words, my friends.

Pay attention to the words, I say.

Christians don’t die

One reason we know this is Jesus said it.

In John’s account he told Michael:

“You shall never taste or see death”
(Indeed, as the Psalmist says, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”)

Another reason we know this is St. Paul said it.

In Colossians he told Michael:

“You are dead and your life is hid with God in Christ.”
(Indeed you have already died. You cannot die again.)

A third reason we know this is poetry said it.

In the sonnet John Donne tells Death:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called you mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.”
(Indeed Death, which has much to be humble about, is instead proud.)

Have you ever heard someone trash-talk on the Grim Reaper? Listen to this:

“Those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow / Die not, poor death.”
(Indeed “from rest and sleep which but they pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow.”)

No reason for pride and puffery, friend Death, for

“Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell.”
(Indeed Death, the quisling, does keep the worst company don’t he?)

Besides …

“poppy or charms can make us sleep as well, and better than they stroke—why swell’st thou then?”
(Indeed this death thing is not difficult. Whence cometh then all his smack-talk about it?)

Christians don’t die.

“Soonest our best men with thee do go, rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.”
(Indeed blessed rest. We could all use a little more sleep, eh?)

A short sleep (must it be short?) and … ba-da-bing! … we see and taste this from Corinthians—

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory, O grave, where is thy sting?”
(Indeed Christians don’t die. We win.)

And yet …

*

And yet.

We do.

John’s Gospel again—

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the earth and die it remains alone. But if it dies it bears much fruit.”

With some time-limited exceptions, on earth alone is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Unless we die we end up alone.

With no exception whatsoever, outside earth alone is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Unless we die we end up alone.

Forever.

If we die we bear much fruit.

I.e., not alone, also forever.

*

Michael died.

That was a long time ago.

This thing that happened just now?

For our purposes that’s called rearranging one’s affairs.

For his purposes I’m not sure it has a name. I’m not sure he noticed.

Not right off anyway. He fell asleep—Jesus’ words again—and then woke up.

We call that “rising” and that’s what happened that day and one day he will do it again.

He woke up, got up, and went up.

Looked around and about.

Could taste, see again.

That’s how it works.

It’s what it means.

What it is.

How it works and what it means and what it is for us, now, is to do this, today.

To think and feel and talk and remember—to taste and see as best as we can.

But that’s only for now.

Christians don’t die.

Already did that.

Now we live.

As he does.

As He does.