Meditations with C. S. Lewis: Trusting the Images


More on concreteness, abstraction, and language, this time in terms of theology, imagery, and mythology.

Originally posted on While We're Paused!:

When the purport of the images — what they say to our fear and hope and will and affections — seems to conflict with the theological abstractions, trust the purport of the images every time.[1]

C. S. Lewis’s friend Owen Barfield once wrote of him that “what he thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.”  In the Lewis quote above, from Letters to Malcolm, we have a fine example of what Lewis thought about something that was at least secretly present, and often overtly present, in what he said about anything.

Lewis’s preference for images over abstractions, his deep satisfaction in image-rich language and distaste for image-deficient language, was something he described often in his writings.  For example, in Studies in Words Lewis discussed the word bitch at some length, noting that in his time bitch was already well along the journey from…

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GOD: Concrete or Abstract?


Here’s a good explication of C.S. Lewis’s understanding of God as Being and Personality and Reality, with reference to language in the senses of concreteness and abstraction:

Originally posted on While We're Paused!:

The "Trinity Knot": Three in One

The “Trinity Knot”: Three in One

C. S. Lewis wants to combat the modern tendency to associate transcendent being with abstraction so badly that he boldly calls God “concrete.” If God is a spirit, this word cannot be meant literally in its normal meaning of tangible. But Lewis wants us to think of God as something more solid than physical reality, as something at the opposite pole from nebulous. He conveys this idea effectively in his portrait of heaven in The Great Divorce, where the grass pierces the feet of the spirits from the gray town. So if we take “concrete” metaphorically, it is one of Lewis’s more brilliant descriptions of God as the One who is ultimately real. There is nothing nebulous about Him; He has a definite what-ness. “He is ‘absolute being’—or rather the Absolute Being—in the sense that He alone exists in His own right. But there…

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Florida town ‘shocked’ after FBI investigation reveals Fruitland Park police officers joined Ku Klux Klan


…“it’s exceedingly unusual these days to find a police officer who is secretly a Klansman,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors hate groups. OK, BUT CONSIDERING THIS ARTICLE, HOW CAN WE KNOW FOR SURE?

Originally posted on National Post | News:

Ann Hunnewell and her central Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer’s home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-dozen others, were initiated into the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, she says.

Last week, that five-year-old initiation ceremony stunned residents of the small town of Fruitland Park, who found out an investigative report linked two city officers with the secret hate society that once was violently active in the area. Ann Hunnewell’s ex-husband, George Hunnewell, was fired, and deputy chief David Borst resigned from the 13-member Fruitland Park Police Department. Borst has denied being a member.

James Elkins, a third officer who Ann Hunnewell says recruited her and her husband, resigned in 2010 after his Klan ties became public.

AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

The violence against blacks that permeated the…

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Yep, your position as an entitled consumer trumps your position as a Christian who is told to love enemies. Your position as an American trumps your duty to “the least of these,” especially those at the border. Cover the cross with a flag, so no one can see the cross.

Admiring Sara Firth

I’ve been interested in some of the special programming on Russia Today or RT, but it is a government-run news organization. Apparently, Sara Firth had had enough of the Russian government’s control of the news, so she resigned today.

Dell Now Accepts Bitcoin For All Online U.S. Purchases


Never mind “The Purge: Anarchy” — THIS is the real anarchy, by which I mean an-archon, or no ruler, just a vehicle and a meter for a truly free market’s ever-fluctuating value.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Dell now accepts bitcoin in the United States for online purchases of its products. The move is a win for CoinBase, which today on its blog announced that it was the integration partner for the personal computing company. and online technology marketplace TigerDirect also accept the cryptocurrency.

The price of bitcoin, long a driver of media and public interest in the stuff, has been quieter lately, leading to less commotion regarding the currency. (In fact, there is strong correlation between media interest and the price of bitcoin.)

To spur interest, Dell will sell its gaming-focused Alienware products for a period of time at a 10 percent discount, provided that users make their purchases in bitcoin.

Bitcoin trade volume has been essentially flat in recent months, which could be a troubling indicator that the currency isn’t seeing widening adoption. However, companies like Dell coming aboard could spur more use of the currency…

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‘The disconnect is stunning’! Obama on #MH17: ‘Looks like it may be a tragedy’ [Vine]


The President blunders. The Twitterverse is outraged and baffled:

Originally posted on Twitchy:

President Obama traveled to Delaware today to give a speech about his commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure (well, after he finished his burger). So, what did he have to say about the reports of the Malaysia Airlines crash?

Well, that’s not entirely true. He also said this:

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The Cynic’s Photography Dictionary

Originally posted on Photofocus:

Editor’s Note:This is a guest post from Roger Cicala at

Picture -  A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three.   Ambrose Bierce

I’m a fan of the satirical and cynical definitions of Ambrose Bierce, first written as a daily newspaper column and later collected in The Devil’s Dictionary. (It was originally called the Cynic’s Word Book, but so many politicians of the day called Bierce a Devil that he felt the new title more appropriate.)

Ambrose Bierce

Unfortunately, very few of Mr. Bierce’s definitions apply to photography. Seeing a need that should be filled, I immediately began working on a Devil’s Dictionary of Photographic terms. Hopefully, some of you will join in and help to expand this desperately needed work.

The Cynic’s Photography Dictionary

Aberration – Something that is wrong with the lens by design, as opposed to something wrong with the lens…

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What makes Chrnalogar’s book significant, and why is it relevant for today?

Recently, I used the book Twisted Scriptures to assess Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s leadership as reported on other blogs.

Before I used the book, I should have established its credibility.

Of course, nothing and no one carries full credibility across all spectra.

For that we can thank the successful infiltration of ideological mentalities and propagandistic modes of thinking.

In other words, a man could utter a perfectly true and practically applicable statement, and the first thing many of us would want to know is his affiliation and identity and worldview.

Even so, here is my attempt to identify the credible nature of the book:

The first edition of Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches That Abuse was released by Zondervan in 1997. Revised editions appeared in 1998 and 2000.

On the back of my 2000 edition, author Mary Alice Chrnalogar is identified as a 19-year veteran of rescuing victims of cults and abusive church groups. She has conducted rescues and interventions in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Israel, and Spain, according to the back of the book.

In the book’s acknowledgments, Chrnalogar says she consulted Timothy Brouns, a Baptist minister and graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Stephen D. Martin, a pastor, graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary and former staff member of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a “restorative place for victims of controlling groups,” located in Athens, Ohio.

The back of the book cites Edward J. Green, Ph.D., the Guerry professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Green wrote, “This is controversial… many sheep will be told not to read it. Anyone told this should read it immediately. This is an important book — not only to help victims break out of bondage, but every pastor should be required to read it.”

The credentials of Chrnalogar and the above-mentioned men should suggest some credibility.


The greatest letter ever sent home from school


Over-defining “smart” and “educated” might just be a means of control. Maybe more frequently I should think on Mark Twain: “I’ve never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

Originally posted on Message With a Bottle:

Letter sent home from school

[Slowly rising to my feet. Slowly clapping. Nodding in approval.]

Thank you, Barrowford Primary School, for saying what needed to be said.

[via Reddit]

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Context for the humanities: quotations recently discovered inside a book

AAAAA Quotations AAA


e.e. cummings for the offeratory


Copy desk!

Today on Charisma News:


RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world? | Liturgical Credo

Sharp insights into “worldbuilding” (or what J.R.R. Tolkien called “subcreation”) with special reference to imagination and creativity, as well as the works of Tolkien, George Orwell, Ursula Le Guin, Issac Asimov, and others, originally from Damien G. Walter’s blog:

RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world? | Liturgical Credo.

Tyndale House’s outrageous PR sacrifices more credibility

“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians.” — Tyndale House

The execs at Tyndale House, the religious publisher, probably don’t realize how the company’s defense of Mark Driscoll has hurt their credibility yet again.

Long story short, Tyndale House has altered some of its previous plans for releasing books through the Mark Driscoll-affiliated Resurgence imprint, as Warren Throckmorton reported in The Daily Beast.

The headline on that Daily Beast article, however, made the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House sound like divorce: “Megachurch Star Mark Driscoll’s Publishing Downfall.”

LIT Throck Daily Beast Headline

Actually, it was probably the headline plus an omission in the last paragraph — but an omission that was immediately clarified by a direct quotation that followed.

LIT Throck Daily Beast last para

Throckmorton began the last paragraph with, “In addition to putting Driscoll’s books on hold, Tyndale does not plan to print further titles under the Resurgence imprint” (emphasis added).

However, the next sentence directly quoted Tyndale representative Todd Starowitz, who said, “To my knowledge we do not have any additional Resurgence titles that have release dates scheduled at this time” (emphasis added).

To many readers, the headline might have suggested a lot that wasn’t true.

However, the article itself was solid, aside from the omission of a word or phrase that would have foreshadowed what Starowitz said in the next sentence: “at this time.”

As part of its statement that the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House is not over, the publishing company made a thinly veiled retaliatory remark against Throckmorton.

LIT Throck Charisma Tyndale

“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians,” the publisher said.

‘How quickly’? What’s that?

The Tyndale House execs probably aren’t kidding, but I wish they were.

Their statement implies that Driscoll has had a spotless record and the real-world issues mentioned by Throckmorton are just little aberrations that just popped-up on the radar screen.

In the first place, on his blog, Throckmorton has cataloged numerous problems in Mars Hill Church and with Mark Driscoll.

In the second place, another blogger has recorded numerous Driscoll contradictions and outrages, from recent memory as well as from the past.

I’ll go so far as to say, there are no new criticisms of Driscoll, only new details related to those criticisms.

Straining Editorial Standards

Tyndale House’s credibility already has been damaged following its defense of Driscoll against plagiarism allegations that surfaced last year.

While Tyndale House believed Driscoll had given adequate credit to those who influenced his work, reputable sources outside the publishing company disagree.

Neil Holdway, treasurer of the American Copy Editors Society and newspaper editor, disagrees.

A university professor disagrees.

In my opinion, the Chicago Manual of Style disagrees.

And the MLA Handbook disagrees.

And the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association disagrees.

In the PR world, of the PR world

Rather than address Driscoll’s problems and the allegations against him straight on, Tyndale House chose to do exactly what those “worldly” and “secular” strategists do — they took the emphasis off the facts related to Driscoll and placed it on the person who pointed out the facts.

But Tyndale House should get at least one thing straight. There is no “how quickly” to anyone’s criticism Driscoll.

Due to his own words and actions, Driscoll has been inviting criticism for years.