Less than 100 words, and worthy of much prayerful meditation! Thanks, Sam Ward!


Two Heads are Better Than One

SONY DSCIn part 1 of this series, I quoted C.S. Lewis’ essay, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” which illustrated the different between looking AT something and looking ALONG it to its source. There is flexibility and discernment required here. In some sense, it is the difference between objective and subjective seeing, or the difference between analysis and philosophy.

To understand anything–any subject in the natural world–fully,  we ask not only “What is it?” but “What can I infer from it?” and “Where did it come from?” and “What is its purpose?”

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Part 2 is coming on Sunday…

Two Heads are Better Than One

IBR-1113189“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen.

Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”(1945)


My years are beginning to show. I am facing the fact that I can no longer read most print without a pair of reading glasses. A cloudiness in my right eye suggests something more ominous, but I’m ignoring that for the moment.

Unlike the floaters I see in the air, which only appear when I stare at a blank surface, I am seeing connecting threads between many different things I’ve been reading in a variety of rich sources lately. Most of these ideas boil down to truths about learning, about character and about perspective, how we look at the world and how that looking affects us.

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Sitting On My Asset?

Two Heads are Better Than One

VARIOUSI’m sitting here staring at my laptop, willing a blog-worthy topic to jump out at me from the plethora of open articles on my taskbar. I’m also getting progressively colder. At some point I have taken off my sweater …probably upstairs when I was giving Lucy her bath and had the space heater on. Down here it’s quite chilly.

Sigh. Guess I’ll trudge upstairs and get my sweater.

Upstairs, I grab my devotional and a shawl…where did I put that sweater?...and head back down to my computer.  There on the chair is the discarded sweater.

I’d been sitting on it.

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Social Media Examen

Wow. Not only as a blogger, but as a theatre director–with actors looking at me for guidance, hoping that I know what I’m doing…and as a “mom” of a precocious and head-strong two-and-a-half year old…it is easy to look in all the wrong places for affirmation. To take our encouragement from the good rehearsal, the obedient and affectionate toddler. But what happens when the rehearsal falls apart? When the toddler throws a fit? This piece is such a good reminder! I hope you appreciate it as much as I did, and that you’ll spend more time reading my friend Pastor Jon.

300 words a day

At the end of the day there is often value in looking back. There is even a process of prayer to help with this. It’s called the prayer of examen.

  • You acknowledge that God is present all the time.
  • You tell God you are grateful for something. For everything.
  • You ask God to help you remember your day, to bring to mind what he wants you to see.
  • You then review your day from God’s perspective. Where did you love? Where did you wage peace? Where did you encourage? Where were you encouraged? Where did you cause pain?
  • And then you respond to what you’ve seen, with repentance, gratitude, restitution, renewal.

At the core of examen is asking God where to look in your day, to help you see your self, your life, the way that he wants. And as I’ve been thinking about the process of examen for the past…

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This is a pretty fair description of my blogging life right now. Explains my silence here, anyway!

Two Heads are Better Than One

alarm clock 4Step 1: Set your clock for a bit earlier than usual, so that you can write your first draft before the two-year-old wakes up.  Then hit snooze until the German Shepherd sticks his cold nose in your face and wills you to let-him-out-for-pete’s-sake-what’s-wrong-with-you.

Step 2: Brew a large cup of coffee and decide to check your email while the coffee is brewing. 30 minutes later …when you’ve answered three emails, deleted 12 others, caught up on Facebook (including taking your turn in Words with Friends) and checked the weather… your coffee is cold, and the toddler is stirring.

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 A few years ago (well, more like ten) a good friend of mine gave me a used copy of this little devotional book, now out of print. It contains a single page for each day of the year, and includes a Bible verse (KJV) and up to three related quotes, sometimes including poetry or hymn lyrics.  The quotes are from various Christian writers from the Renaissance up through the 1800s.  I’ve discovered so many gems in this book over the years, by writers of whom I’d never heard.

Although I always intend to read from it every night, there is often a long lag between times when I open its worn paper cover.  Last night when I turned to the reading for February 12th, I was delighted to read a quote about Lent which I never remembered seeing before. Since today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, I thought it would be appropriate to share it here:

“Am I really what I ought to be?  Am I what, in the bottom of my heart, I honestly wish to be? Am I living a life at all like what I myself approve? My secret nature, the true complexion of my character, is hidden from all men, and only I know it. Is it such as I should be wiling to show? Is my soul at all like what my kindest and most intimate friends believe? Is my heart at all such as I should wish the Searcher of Hearts to judge me by? Is every year adding to my devotion, to my unselfishness, to my conscientiousness, to my freedom from the hypocrisy of seeming so much better than I am? When I compare myself with last year, am I more ready to surrender myself at the call of duty? Am I more alive to the commands of conscience? Have I shaken off my besetting sins?”  These are the questions which this season of Lent ought to find us putting fairly and honestly to our hearts.

–Frederick Temple (1821 – 1902)