MamaT: August 2004 Archives

I've decided that Crime and Punishment is going back on the shelf for the time being. I've not got the stamina to make myself push through the next 10 million words. Maybe later, when it is not so humid and warm. I can imagine myself reading it when it is cold enough to bundle up under an afghan with a hot cup of tea.....

So, I've restacked the books and my stack now looks like this:

The Chornicles of Chrestomanci: Volume I by Diana Wynne Jones
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Same Place, Same Things by Tim Gatreaux
The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
The Red and the Black by Stendahl

I'm halfway through with The Chronicles.... and I am enjoying it more than I expected. I'll let you know more when I finish.

Oh, and I also put aside Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence for a bit. Over the last two Fridays I have read and meditated on The Way of the Cross by Caryll Houselander. I recommend it highly, and hope to write a bit more about it tomorrow or Tuesday....

29th Book of 2004 finished...


Castleview by Gene Wolfe.

This was a very fast read--the writing is good, and you are drawn along with the story. But I'd have to say that in the end it did not make as much sense to me as I had hoped it would.

Interesting concept, that the "fairy world" is indeed real--and documented by hundreds of sightings a year that are blown off as the fanciful dreamings of uneducated folk--but I didn't think that in the end it was successful. It seemed like a giant in-joke for Arthurian legend freaks. And since I am not one, I didn't understand enough of the allusions, etc. to truly enjoy the book.

The funniest part? The cat (almost a "Puss in Boots" type) named G. Gordon Kitty.

One thing I will say in favor of the book, though? It was good enough to make me want to read other things by Mr. Wolfe.

Kelly Clark does it again!


Visit The Lady in the Pew and read for yourself.

Literary either/or

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From the Thinklings:

Hardback or Paperback
Highlight or Underline
Lewis or Tolkien
E.B. White or A.A. Milne
T.S. Eliot or e.e. cummings
Stephen King or Dean Koontz
Barnes & Noble or Borders
Waldenbooks or B. Dalton
Fantasy or Science Fiction
Horror or Suspense
Bookmark or Dogear
Large Print or Fine Print
Hemingway or Faulkner
Fitzgerald or Steinbeck
Homer or Plato
Geoffrey Chaucer or Edmund Spenser
Pen or Pencil
Looseleaf or Notepad
Alphabetize: By Author or By Title
Shelve: By Genre/Subject or All Books Together
Dustjacket: Leave it On or Take it Off
Novella or Epic
John Grisham or Scott Turrow
J.K. Rowling or Lemony Snicket
John Irving or John Updike
Salman Rushdie or Don Delillo
Fiction or Non-fiction
Historical Biography or Historical Romance
Reading Pace: A Few Pages per Sitting or Finish at Least a Chapter
Short Story or Creative Non-fiction Essay
Blah Blah Blah or Yada Yada Yada
“It was a dark and stormy night…” or “Once upon a time…”
Books: Buy or Borrow
Book Reviews or Word of Mouth

My answers in extended entry------------>

Today's thought from Mother Teresa

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We need each other. Our lives would be empty without each other. How can we love God and his poor if we do not love each other with whom we live?

How indeed.

Another Margaret W. Tarrant picture



And a song to go with it:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Sophie update from SpecialK


Sophie is still having the seizures. Even when she is not having a full blown episode, she is in a constant state of seizure, and is unsteady, wobbly etc.. She did however, have a few better days last week. The family has tried two new medications, one did not work and the other did, but Sophie was allegeric to it.

Today is a deadline day for the family. Today they are to decide whether or not to try a new drug that supposedly kills one in a thousand. Sally, the mother, is obviously distraught over this. Please continue to pray for Sophie, especially for the intercession of Mary and Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers and support.

A Novena for Terri Schiavo

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Suggested by Fr. Rob Johanson at Thrown Back (link to the right). Fr Rob writes:

I urge all of you to commit yourselves to making a Novena to Our Lady, Health of the Sick, as patroness of Terri and all those who are afflicted with disease or debility, and suffer the further indignity of neglect or maltreatment. The Feast of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, falls on the Saturday before the last Sunday in August. Thus it will fall this coming Saturday, August 28.

I would suggest the following intentions:

That the Florida Supreme Court would rule in favor of protecting the weak, innocent, and disabled from those who seek to end their lives.

That Jan Govan would prevail over Judge Greer in the upcoming election.

That Terri herself would be granted some degree of healing and recovery, and that she know of the love and support of all those praying for her.

That Judge Greer, George Felos, and Michael Schiavo would have their hearts softened, and that they embrace true mercy and compassion for Terri and all like her.

That our nation would turn from its infatuation with death as a solution to human problems.

Today's thought:


Are You Dead?
Flannery O'Connor

When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.

Quote courtesy of the Bruderhof Daily Dig

Book #28 of 2004 finished

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I swore I'd never do it. Buy an Oprah's Book Club book, that is. But someone recommended Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance to me. When I found it at Half Price Books, I almost put it back on the shelf, because it had that dratted giant "O" on the front. But I decided to take a chance on it, and I'm so glad I did.

Let's be upfront about it. The book is, in many ways, absolutely heartbreaking. The story takes place in India in the early 70's--in the midst of revolution. Mrs. Gandhi (never named by name in the whole book) has suspended normal law and procedures during the "National Emergency."

The story revolves around 4 characters--Dina Dalal, a widow; Maneck, a student who rents a room from Dina during a school year; Om and Ishvar, tailors who have come, escaping caste violence in their rural town, to make their way in the big city. The book begins by telling the backstory on all four characters, then blending them together during the year they spend together.

The story is about poverty, about family, about politics. About hopes, dreams, and aspirations. About independence and love, and the cost of both.

Mistry doesn't sugarcoat ANYTHING. The description of life for the poor, the homeless, and the beggars is almost more than I could bear to read. One reviewer I read said that Mistry is realism with a capital "R." I agree.

The writing itself is lovely, and sad beyond words. A small snippet of a minor character, thinking about his wife who died about a year before:

"It's a strange thing. When my Mumtaz was alive, I would sit alone all day, sewing or reading. And she would be by herself in the back, busy cooking and cleaning and praying. But there was no loneliness, the days passed easily. Just knowing she was there was enough. And now I miss her so much. What an unreliable thing is time--when I want it to fly, the hours stick to me like glue. And what a changeable thing, too. Time is the twine to tie our lives into parcels of years and months. Or a rubber band stretched to suit our fancy. Time can be the pretty ribbon in a little girl's hair. Or the lines in your face, stealing your youthful colour and your hair." He sighed and smiled sadly. "But in the end, time is a noose around the neck, strangling slowly."

A Fine Balance is not an easy book to read. There are times in my life where it would have been exactly the WRONG thing to read. But it is good. Very, very, VERY good.

Grownups' night out!

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For our 25th anniversary, PapaC and I splurged and bought tickets (nosebleed section, but tickets!) to the Casa Manana summer musicals at the Bass.

The first production was Les Miserables. That was the only show that Zteen had wanted to see, so PapaC gave up his ticket to Zteen. It was wonderful.

The second production was Annie, the least interesting of the choices, to our minds. We'd seen the movie, of course, and various amateur productions of the play. Good thing we thought that. PapaC's surgery was scheduled the day of our tickets! So, we missed that one. Boo.

Tonight is Beauty and the Beast, and I'm looking forward to it. It seems a bit odd to leave the "kids" at home--Zteen is babysitting for McBaby, who is staying with us this week. But she's too little to sit for so long, and Zteen wouldn't be caught dead at B&B. So it's date night for us! Yeehaw!

3-M Corporation is sponsoring:


Breast Cancer Awareness | World's Largest Pink Ribbon

You can get your name put on one of the pink sticky notes they are using to make the giant ribbon by giving them your name at the website above. 3-M will donate $1 to breast cancer research for each of the first 75,000 people that sign up.

Sad story about Canadian Boy Scouting....


....over at David Morrison's blog Sed Contra. Check it out here. Scroll down to the entry for August 17th, entitled Good Bye, Good Boys.

Urgent prayer request

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SpecialK would like to ask the following:

Please pray for one year-old, Sophie *****, a little neighbor of ours who has been having seizures and now is so weakened she can no longer lift her head. From what I have heard the doctors are stumped and have said there is nothing they can do. Please pray for protection for the family, wisdom for the parents and people in charge of the little girls care, and that the right people help them. Also, of course, for a touch from the Lord to restore her and transform her health.

Our Lady of Lourdes, please place your mantle of protection over Sophie and her family.

Please, please join the Summa Mamas in praying for this tiny girl in so much distress.

When My Son Was Arrested for Murder - Christianity Today Magazine

The paragraph that struck me?

When we fully understand that we are in a spiritual battle, that the world is not our home, just a "stopping off" place, we can begin to get excited about having a short time to engage in the battle raging around us. The Enemy wants us to waste our time generating anger toward others, ruminating over personal betrayals and over injustices due to sickness, accidents, and evil. He wants to destroy our ability to function productively and to disengage us from inspiring others to be Christ-followers. He wants us to give up and die or to control everything around us in such a tight-fisted manner that we're tied up in ridiculous knots.

Good editorial


Speaking Out: Life with Dignity - Christianity Today Magazine

The editorial focuses on Terri Schiavo's case.

Some paragraphs:

Whatever happened to Christian compassion for the weak and defenseless? Now it is no more than "pure speculation." In other words, full steam ahead with pulling the feeding tube.

Many proposals for improving care for those with brain injuries emerged from the Rome conference, according to Province: developing specialized coma care units, launching national registries for severe brain injury, and providing standardized diagnosis and assessment.

Facing our ignorance both in theology and science, we ought to tread lightly before wantonly playing God with the lives of the weakest among us—and those with severe brain injuries are surely that. Some people in comas inexplicably recover, while others do not. All, however, bear the divine image. All have inherent dignity. All are messengers pointing us to another world and the God whom we see dimly now, but one day will see face to face.

Interesting book review

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for lovers of fantasy: Books & Culture's Book of the Week: Real Fantasy

It's a review of the first of a projected series of novels: Beyond the Summerland: Book 1 The Binding of the Blade.

Here's an interesting paragraph from the review:

Powerful storytelling is no small accomplishment, and this alone lifts Graham head and shoulders above most of his competition. The cottage industry of writers capitalizing on Tolkien's masterpiece is populated by cynical hacks and hopeful amateurs. (A recent example is Eragon, the New York Times bestseller for young readers, written by a 19-year-old.) Graham's story has depth: substantial people with real problems and emotions, a tale of more than just dragons and wars. Graham himself has lived a little—as head of a Christian school in St. Louis and as a man with a family. In an interview, Graham says that "the real issue is balancing any creative pursuit that can absorb you with family. Family has to be first. Being a husband and a father is vastly more important than work or writing." That's worth quite a few points in my book.

Malcolm Muggeridge


It is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming, when every recourse this world offers, moral as well as material, has been drawn on and expended with no effect, when in the shivering cold every log has been thrown on the fire, and in the gathering darkness every glimmer of light has finally flickered out—it is then that Christ’s hand reaches out, sure and firm, that Christ’s words bring their inexpressible comfort, that his light shines brightest, abolishing the darkness for ever.

The Assumption

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The ark which God has sanctified, Which He has filled with grace, Within the temple of the Lord Has found a resting-place.

More glorious than the seraphim,
This ark of love divine,
Corruption could not blemish her
Whom death could not confine.

God-bearing Mother, Virgin chaste,
Who shines in heaven's sight;
She wears a royal crown of stars
Who is the door of Light.

To Father, Son and Spirit blest
may we give endless praise
With Mary, who is Queen of heaven,
Through everlasting days.

(from Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal)

Julia Child, R.I.P.

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Loved her. One of my favorite quotes? "If you're afraid of butter, as many people are nowadays," she said in one of her last television shows, "just put in cream!" she proclaimed, with a twinkle in her eye.

Bless you, Julia, for making cooking seem *doable*.

(And my very favorite old Saturday Night Live skit is their parody of Julia Child in the kitchen, cutting herself with her knife and gushing blood all over the kitchen.)

Oooooh! Aaaaaah!

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I love fireworks with a passion. I have always thought that if I ever won some giant lottery, that one of the things I would do is fund the annual Fourth of July fireworks show in our city.

Last night PapaC, Zteen and I went to see our beloved Texas Rangers play baseball. After the game, which we won, there was a fireworks show set to 1950's music. It was GREAT!

Firework technology has changed a lot over the last few years. There are some really amazing and different effects, and a lot of really beautiful, more pastel colors.

Whay a wonderful way to end a fairly stressed out week!

And something beautiful

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More Margaret Tarrant in the future. I have become smitten with her work.

Bwaaa haaa haaaa haaaa

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Just a little funny from Thomas Sowell:

The media often mention "ultra-conservatives" but never "ultra-liberals." Have ultra-liberals become extinct, gotten lost, or met with foul play? We cannot ignore the fate of fellow human beings, even if we differ with them politically. At the very least, we can report them as missing persons.

Today's feast day:

St. Clare

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

When, in 1234, the army of Frederick II was devastating the valley of Spoleto, the soldiers, preparatory to an assault upon Assisi, scaled the walls of San Damiano by night, spreading terror among the community. Clare, calmly rising from her sick bed, and taking the ciborium from the little chapel adjoining her cell, proceeded to face the invaders at an open window against which they had already placed a ladder. It is related that, as she raised the Blessed Sacrament on high, the soldiers who were about to enter the monastery fell backward as if dazzled, and the others who were ready to follow them took flight. It is with reference to this incident that St. Clare is generally represented in art bearing a ciborium.

Great column by Maggie Gallagher

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Maggie Gallagher: I am woman, hear me whine

Here are a couple of paragraphs:

Some women routinely treat husbands in ways that, if husbands responded in kind would bring the universal condemnation of all womankind on their heads. You doubt? Pick up a copy of another new book, "The Bastard on the Couch," subtitled "27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom," by Daniel Jones.

One artist-husband with a high-powered wife notes: "Every day, Gina prepares this list for me, with all the household tasks and details that I am responsible for completing before she arrives home from work that evening." Picking up his son at school, he observes the mothers. "I somehow doubt that any of them are carrying with them a list of chores from their husbands, detailing the various tasks they must perform that day. I would think that any of these women would laugh at her husband if he tried to give her such a list." (Laugh? Only if he's lucky.)

This is just part and parcel of the erroneous idea that if "men were just like women wouldn't the world be a lovelier place" that *some* women and certainly the media have picked up on.

And it's part of the devastating trend toward completely uncommitted men, in my opinion. Who wants to be committed to someone who is going to treat you like either a servant or another child?

Smock and I have talked about this issue. We like men. We like men who aren't Alan Alda types. We like men who AREN'T like women.

We want our hubbies to be who THEY are, in all their God-given maleness.

Who in her right mind wants to be married to the functional equivalent of another girl????? (And no smart remarks from the peanut gallery--you know what I mean!)

Sure, does it make it difficult to understand sometimes? Yeah. But there is nothing like the perspective that PapaC can give me when I'm all upset about something. He's got that "cut to the chase, let's fix the problem" mentality that kicks me out of the emotional uproar.

I think men in general, and husbands in particular, are the most under-appreciated resource in the universe.

So there.

Sometimes you forget....

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.....what life is all about. Then a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie comes in begging you to put goldfish crackers into a strainer so that she can eat them "out of the net."

Then you make her promise "I pwomise, Aunt Tewwy!" not to feed them to the dogs, who follow her around like rats following the Pied Piper. She dances off to gleefully sneak the dogs a "tweat" and comes back to beg more fish.....

So much for all you national figures, greedy sports stars and terrorists. You aren't the reason. You just aren't.

The money quote from Friday's adoration reading (the emphasis added is mine):

"How can you continue to be astonished at what your experience should have long since convinced you of? As long as we are upon this earth, even were we to live only with saints, we shall need patience in order to be tolerant of one another. It is good that this is so, in order that we may have more opportunities of practising those most meritorious of virtues--charity, humility and self renunciation. Let us, then, with a good grace, resign ourselves to this necessity; let us try to turn to advantage our neighbours's faults as well as our own by being indulgent towards the former and ridding ourselves quickly of the latter. This is the one means of preserving our peace of soul."

I loved the first part I emphasized--the idea that patience would be necessary for living in community with one another, even were we all saints. Because we are all different, we are by definition going to rub one another the wrong way sometimes. That part has nothing to do with saintliness or holiness. I'm quite sure that MANY people had to exercise patience with my dear St. Jerome while he was busy thundering his denunciations of various and assorted things. I can just see the women who followed him to the desert shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. "Yes, he's in one of *those* moods again today." But they knew he was holy. They saw his mission, his value, his worth.

So, I was thinking about patience and living with saints, only to be smacked between the eyes with the second part I highlighted. What? Indulgent of another's sins and hard on MYSELF? Hmmmm. The more I thought of it, the more I realized that this was exactly what St. Bernard said about dealing with someone else's sin: to put the best face on it as possible, first. To assume that it was done in a moment of weakness, fatigue or unknowing, second. And even if that failed at last to think: "Ah, but the temptation must have been very strong." Never, ever, ever, ever to assume the worst about someone, but always to be compassionate and forgiving.

We don't want to do that very much, do we? I'm not saying that there are not battles to be fought and issues to debate. But when we cross the line into not loving the other, into treating him as just an opponent to crush, then we aren't living out our call to holiness. We're not building the Kingdom.

This holiness thing is hard, isn't it?

Today's great hymn


(sung to the tune Truro....go to to hear the MIDI if you can't remember it!)

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
Behold, the King of glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here!

O blest the land, the city blest,
Where Christ the Ruler is confessed!
O happy hearts and happy homes
To whom this King in triumph comes!

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple, set apart
From earthly use for heaven’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come, I open wide
My heart to thee: here, Lord abide.
Let me Thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in me reveal.

So come, my Sovereign; enter in!
Let new and nobler life begin;
Thy Holy Spirit guide us on,
Until the glorious crown be won.

Because It’s Right
Martin Luther King, Jr.

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question, "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.

Please turn immediately to page 42 and read the absolutely hysterical page written by Rob Long called "From the Warden's Mailbox, June 2005". I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart, but this parody of letters about and from her are a stitch. For just a taste, here is a "letter" from Joe the Prison Cook:

Dear Warden:

I was a Marine cook for 25 years, some of them in Khe Sahn with Charlie breathing death down every day and every night and I never had a complaint in all that time about my brownies being "too cakey." So you either get Miss Knows-Everything out of my kitchen or that's the last you'll see of me and that's aloha on a steel guitar and don't think I won't because I've got my Socal and my pension and my VA money coming monthly and putting up with her cr*p about my beef stew ain't worth it.

Joe the Cook

Martha's "letter" to the warden is priceless! Here's just one part:

The crafts shed really is tragically undersupplied. I have instructed my staff at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) to immediately furnish assorted ribbons, fabrics, paints, ceramic equipment, decoupage materials, spray adhesives, and the like (at my expense, of course), but the entire shipment has been held up in the mailroom by the presence of a dozen or so glue guns, which I have stated repeatedly are NOT firearms, but are instead necessary tools for the applique workshop and seminar that I'm conducting next week. Please see to it that ALL of the items are released from the mailroom ASAP......

Funny stuff. Big BRAVO to Rob Long.

I'd say this is mostly true:

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You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Except that I try really hard NOT to make fun of other people's paperbacks. (I do have a friend who as a matter of principal will not read any paperback that has a pink cover!)

Thanks to Alicia at Fructus Ventris (link to the right) for the link to the quiz.

Something to think about

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Via the Bruderhof's Daily Dig:

Believe To the End
Fyodor Dostoevsky

If all men abandon you and even drive you away by force, then when you are left alone fall on the earth and kiss it, water it with your tears and it will bring forth fruit even though no one has seen or heard you in your solitude. Believe to the end, even if all men went astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness...And if two of you are gathered together--then there is a whole world, a world of living love. Embrace each other tenderly and praise God, for if only in you two His truth has been fulfilled.



Priests for Life are sponsoring a "novena of weeks" of prayer, beginning on August 31 and culminating on Election Day. There is a suggested prayer to pray, and a way to "donate" your prayer, fasting, rosaries, etc. for the pro-life cause before the election. Read about it here.

When More Is Less - Christianity Today Magazine

Donna, over at Quiet Life (link to the right) has had some musings about frugality, poverty, and the like lately.

A paragraph from the above editorial rings true to me:

Having two incomes is not the problem, of course, but how we spend them. To live in sync with biblical priorities, we need to assess and reassess what constitutes the good life. Our consumer society impoverishes our imagination by normalizing luxury.

Normalizing luxury. Love the phrase, and wish I had thought of it.

Interesting book review....


on Christianity Today's website, about worship and its structure: Divine Theater - Books & Culture

Although the author of the book reviewed is apparently protestant (of the Reformed type), these paragraphs from the review make me want to read his book:

According to Horton, Christian worship fundamentally is covenant renewal. That is its function. Not unlike the covenant renewal ceremonies of the Old Testament, Christian worship is itself a ceremony in which the terms of the covenant are proclaimed and its promises are sealed. For this reason, the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments figure prominently in Christian worship, as these are the ordinary means by which God effects the extraordinary work of establishing faith and sustaining it.

"Many evangelicals have a problem with sacraments precisely because they regard them chiefly as human works," Horton notes, "but Scripture presents them as God's testimony to his work." Sacraments are signs and seals of God's saving action for the sake of a community's salvation. They are God's means of getting past our ignorance, dullness, and weakness, says Calvin. "God's truth is of itself firm and sure," he writes, but "our faith is slight and feeble." So our merciful Lord, "according to his infinite kindness, so tempers himself to our capacity that … he condescends to lead us to himself even by these earthly elements" of water, bread and wine. . .

By understanding Christian worship as covenant renewal, we begin to see that Word and Sacrament work as a pair. They are God's accommodation to reach us in our belief—and in our unbelief. Which leads Horton to wonder, why do churches reinvent worship in order to accommodate God further? Why do they excuse the sacraments and sometimes even the proclamation of the Word?

His answer is at the heart of this book:

I am persuaded that one of the reasons why so many churches have gone to drama and other theatrical arts in worship is because the sermon and the larger liturgical setting have failed to provide the sense that something important and dramatic is happening here, now, as we gather before God. Divine and human action easily become "choreographed" by the culture when we do not sense that it is occurring at all.
Rather than reworking worship that is biblically ordained, the "better way," suggests Horton, would be to revitalize our understanding that "when God's people gather for worship, a drama is already set in motion." In worship, a dramatic dialogue ensues between God and God's people, and it comprises, in Horton's estimation, the biblically sanctioned "elements" of invocation and blessing, the reading of the law, confession and absolution, prayer, proclamation, and sacramental celebration, thanksgiving and offering. God summons us, and we, God's people, respond.

It is amazing to me, that in a time when MANY of our protestant brothers are groping toward a more liturgical, sacrament-oriented worship experience, and some are even turning toward a liturgical year structure, the liturgy directors in our diocesan offices and big parishes seemed determined to throw away exactly what the separated brethren are starting to seek.

Books 25, 26 & 27 finished!

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But don't worry. The pace will slacken up a bit now that PapaC is back at work, McBaby is running me wild and the LAST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOL is fixing to start!

Book 25: My Sister's Keeper by Jodie Picoult. This was a book that I had read a review of in People magazine, of all places. While I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital! It was on the "new books" shelf at the library when I was there picking up the last two Shakespeare videos for Zteen's Shakespeare course. This is a book about Anna, a 13 year old girl, who was conceived as a genetic match for her sister, 3 years older, who suffers from a virulent and deadly form of leukemia. Her cord blood is used for an infusion. Later she is expected to donate lymphocytes (or something like that), bone marrow, etc., in an ever-escalating drive to save her sister. The action begins when she is 13 and files a lawsuit for medical emancipation so that she doesn't have to donate a kidney--though it will almost assuredly mean her sister's death. Good look at how severe illness scars a whole family and how sometimes all the answers seem wrong and right at the same time. Actually fairly evenly balanced, which surprised me. Quick read.

Book 26: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Loved it, loved it, loved it! I didn't realize that there was a whole series of "pimpernel books". Romance at its finest. Swashbuckling at its finest. I think the Scarlet Pimpernel was the prototype for Batman.

Book 27: The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge. When you read this book, I think it's important to keep in mind that it was written 3 years BEFORE Vatican II, when, apparently, there was much anticipation that the Church would change her stance on artificial contraception. Lodge obviously thinks that is what the Church OUGHT to do. Anyway, the book is the story of one day in the life of Adam Appleby, a doctoral student working on his dissertation (on the longest English sentence in three different novels--which he hasn't decided on yet). His wife thinks she may be pregnant with their fourth child. As the day goes on, and Adam's stress level rises, he begins to think in the patterns of different authors' writing--Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Virginia Wolfe. I'm not astute enough to tell *which* author he is "channeling" so to speak. But the novel was laugh out loud funny in some parts anyway.

Most interesting to me? Even though the protagonist and his wife both live in hope that the Church will change, they DO NOT step outside her teaching and just use contraception anyway. That was refreshing to read. If they considered themselves Catholic, they considered themselves bound by all the teachings, even the ones they didn't like very much. And at the very end, after such a long and convoluted day, Adam Appleby goes to bed thinking: "It was absurd, but he actually hoped her period hadn't started." Not a dissenting author alive today would write like that.

Read it!



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