A New Semester of Visual Notes
2 months ago
Insofar as the word of [King Lear] is a tragic word, it rings out in its fullness when Lear comes upon Edgar standing half-naked on the bitter heath and asks for all of us, “Is this man no more than this?” and then gives the answer to his own question. “Thou art the thing itself,” Lear says. “Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art” (3.4.105-11). Then the old king starts to tear off the few rags he has left as if in the awful lucidity of his madness he knows that if there is ever to be a true healing and helping, a true sheltering and clothing for any of us, it is with our nakedness and helplessness that it has to start. Almost the last thing he says as he is dying is “pray you, undo this button.” (5.3.310), of all incongruous and enchanted words, as if all the moments of his life the one he relives there at the end as most precious is the moment when in his nakedness he was most kingly, when in his helplessness he was most invincible, in the madness of his despair most lucid. Shakespeare strips his characters bare, and great preacher that he is, he strips us bare along with them…. Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions, beneath our religion or lack of it, we are all vulnerable both to the storm without and to the storm within, and if ever we are to find true shelter, it is with the recognition of our tragic nakedness and need for true shelter that we have to start. Thus it seems to me that this is also where anyone who preaches the Gospel has to start too—after the silence that is truth comes the news that is bad before it is good, the word that is tragedy before it is comedy because it strips us bare in order ultimately to clothe us. – Fredrick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, & Fairy Tale(no CC post tonight as a) I didn't get to it in time, and b) I'm not really sure there is a CC this week, the normal email never went around...)
Those who imagine they can attain to holiness by any wisdom or strength of their own will find themselves after many labours, and struggles, and weary efforts, only the farther from possessing it, and this in proportion to their certainty that they of themselves have gained it. – John of Avila
The traditional approach within the Church has been to minimize any positive contribution that the arts can make but, in a bizarre contradiction, publish books about the bad influence rock music has on our youth. For many years, the cinema was an anathema, and many people grew up without televisions. The obvious reason was that these things could transform for the worse, but no one looked at their power for the better. -- Steve Stockman
And Grace calls out: you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted. Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted. -- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
Someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. -- Unknown
"Chastity is a new organizing principle of the Christian right, built on the notion that virgins are among God's last loyal defenders, knights and ladies of a forgotten kingdom..."
We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity - like perfect charity - will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection...
Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither. -- C.S. Lewis
Great stuff and it certainly falls in line with what I've written in the past couple months about the gospel approach to the city mindset/lifestyle/phenomenon/etc...
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.