Caryn’s 23 things – and then some

Racing into Library 2.0 with LOL and others

Librarians’ image

I just took a survey at this site http://www.librarian-image.net/ about whether I look like a librarian.  People used to say I didn’t, but I haven’t heard that in several years, so I guess I do now.  The survey is only open until the end of July 08, but the page will still be there with other things about librarians’ image.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

23 things – go!

Well, I started a Wiki page, and now I’ve started a blog.  Next!

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Theology bunnies?

A friend of mine writes fanfic (and she’s pretty good – check out her Dr. Who-related stories at http://www.whofic.com/viewuser.php?uid=5717), and has a word for story ideas that gang up on her and ambush her in far greater numbers than she can ever actually write: plot bunnies.  Well, that’s applicable to why I haven’t written here in a while – I’ve been set upon by so many theology bunnies that they keep running around in my mind, not leaving any of them room to grow.  So I’m going to dump them here – maybe seeing them written down will help me make connections among them and figure out where I want to go with them.  Or maybe (hint, hint) someone will leave comments which will clarify what I had in mind.  These were noted down over time, and I’ve got bunches more on little bits of paper that may or may not ever turn up again.
___________________________________________________________________________
One to a customer

To
Americans, death is always the exception, rather than the rule,
unexpected when it happens, and always someone’s fault.  If an
86-year-old dies in the hospital while recovering from a broken hip,
it’s the hospital’s fault.  If a kid runs out into traffic and is hit
by a truck, it’s the city’s fault, or the trucking company’s, or the
driver’s.  I don’t think there’s ever been any other society so unable
to accept death, no matter what the circumstances.  More and more,
safety seems to be the most important, or even the only, value held by
society as a whole.

Part of the human condition is, inescapably, that death comes one to a customer.  What is it about us that makes us unable to accept this?  Maybe it’s the postwar (by which I mean WWII) feeling that there’s nothing Americans can’t conquer; maybe that’s combined with a more recent feeling that “‘impossible’ just means it hasn’t been done yet.”  We need to recognize our condition and our identity, though, and realize that when someone dies, whether it’s God’s will or not, it’s part of creation and part of the plan.

This wouldn’t be so odd if America didn’t
still consider itself mainly a Christian country.  Whatever their
other beliefs, most Americans believe in Heaven, and have a belief that
they’ll go there when they die.  Why are they so eager to avoid it, at any cost?  Most likely, of course, they’d *like* to believe in Heaven, and hope that saying so will make it true, but they aren’t really sure there is one, or that they’ll get there.  So they’ll spend all their money on lying helplessly in a hospital bed for years on end, or stand in line for 2 hours for a flight to fell like they have some control over terrorism.

They must be like that in England, too, though, because on Dr. Who the parents (with whom Companions are, for the first time, copiously supplied) have only one question when their children leave home: Will they be safe?  That’s not the first question to ask, even for a parent.  Remaining safe is so far from the best thing to wish a young adult starting out.  Life isn’t for remaining safe, and putting off joy as long as possible.
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Ensoulment

Something I’ve thought about for a long time (at least since the first time I read some of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, or that weepy standard, The Velveteen Rabbit) is ensoulment.  That’s the idea that a soulless creature, like a toy or a robot, can become “real,” meaning, presumably, gaining a soul.  It’s been covered more recently, in slightly different subgenres: Star Trek (both :the Next Generation and :Voyager, with first Data and then the holographic doctor) and Buffy: the Vampire Slayer (with Angel and, later, Spike).  One of the Trek franchise’s best episodes, ST:TNG’s Measure of a Man, was on this subject.  After a very well-written “trial” to determine whether the android Data was a thing, and therefore property, the question was left open.  Is it possible for God to put a soul in something not directly created by God?

Well, for one thing, “is it possible for God” is kind of a stupid question.  The only thing impossible for God is evil.  Even hate has a place within God’s boundless love, and it seems to me that as long as the question isn’t “is it possible for God to do evil?,” the answer has to be “yes.”  All things are possible for God; if we can imagine it, we can be assured that it’s within God’s abilities.  One of my core beliefs is that God’s love is infinite; therefore, I expect it can extend to God’s “grandchildren” – the children of Tes children, us.  By the end of each series, Data, the holographic doctor, Angel, and Spike each had a soul; by the end of the stories, the tin soldier and velveteen bunny did, too.  God is love and creation; it’s our obligation, as God’s children, to try to love and to create as best we can.  If we love our creations, God will too, and they’ll be in Heaven with us.
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God, fearing?

The story of the Tower of Babel has always annoyed me.  Whatever reason God had for destroying the Tower of Babel (and whether the story is literally true or not doesn’t really enter into it), it simply could not have been that God was afraid we’d join Tir in Heaven and be just as good.  Next theory!

What does Bab-El mean, anyway?  Wikipedia says: “The word bab-el can also be seen to mean “gate of god” (from bab “gate” + el “god”).”  The Tower of the Gate of God.  Doesn’t explain anything – what is God supposedly afraid of?
___________________________________________________________________________
That had better be it for now – I’ll have to post more of them later.  If you have any comments, let me know!

July 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intentional prayer

A while back, I posted on “Pray without ceasing.” (http://weblog.xanga.com/CarynW/577864871/pray-without-ceasing.html)  That was about keeping up a constant dialogue with God, praying about whatever concerns you at the moment.  This is a good thing, and I think we should try to do that, keeping God always near the top of our thoughts.  But I also don’t think we should rely on that for our entire prayer life.  There may be people or situations that don’t always occur to us, but that we need to pray about.  So, in case anyone wants to read about it, I’ll tell what else I do.

Most often, I pray at night, in bed, after turning off the light.  There are some drawbacks to this system, of course, most notably that I tend to fall asleep in the middle of the prayer.  Several years ago, I was trying to take CS Lewis’ advice to kneel to pray.  I thought, and still think, that his rationale for it was logical: since we’re physical creatures, what we do with our bodies affects what and how we think.  Assuming a position that we use for only one purpose, prayer, helps us condition ourselves to a prayerful attitude whenever we do it.  Also, it’s harder to fall asleep that way!  But only a few months after I’d managed to overcome my Presbyterian feelings of embarrassment and actually do it, the knees started to go, and now I can’t kneel for very long.  So, back to lying in bed with my eyes closed.  The threat of falling asleep can sometimes keep me focused on finishing my prayers so I can go to sleep in good conscience, though, so that’s good.

It seems to help to say an invocation, to keep my mind from wandering off too much.  Most often, I just leap into prayer, but after running through several subjects only tangentially related to prayer, I’ll repeat one or more of “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” or “Almighty God, to Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name, through Christ, our Lord.”  That second one is from the Prayerbook, and I love it.  These two seem to help focus a bit.

Long ago, in Sunday school, one of my teachers advised us always to start our daily prayer with thanks.  We should thank God for the day, and for anything good that happened in it.  This is a good idea, because otherwise we tend to start out asking for stuff, and sometimes don’t get around to doing anything else.  Although we are supposed to ask God for what we need, it’s very selfish not to thank for what we already have.  So I always start out, “Mother/Father God” (or Father/Mother – I try to switch off), “thank you for today,” and follow with examples.  If the weather was nice, or I got something accomplished that I’d been avoiding, or I had a nice conversation – anything I can think of.  This is also where I apologize for anything I did wrong, but I don’t feel called upon to do that every day.  I think of myself as a fairly good person, and I really don’t do anything I consider a sin every day.

Several years ago, my mom sent me the “Five-Finger Prayer.”  It’s not a specific prayer, but a method of using your fingers as prayer beads to remind yourself to pray for various things, and it seems to work for me.  Here’s the whole thing:

5 Finger  Prayer

1. Your  thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by
praying for those closest to  you. They are the easiest to remember. To
pray for our loved ones is, as C. S Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The  next finger is the pointing finger Pray for those who
teach, instruct and  heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and
ministers. They need support and  wisdom in pointing others in the
right direction. Keep them in your  prayers.

3. The  next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our
leaders. Pray for the  president, leaders in business and industry, and
administrators. These people  shape our nation and guide public
opinion. They need God’s guidance. Also include our servicemen and
women here and abroad who always stand tall in the  duty of defending
and protecting our nation. They need God’s strength and comfort.

4. The  fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the
fact that this is  our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will
testify. It should remind us to  pray for those who are weak, in
trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day  and night. You cannot
pray too much for  them.

5. And  lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all.
Which is where we  should place ourselves in relation to God and
others. As the Bible says, “The  least shall be the greatest among
you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray  for yourself. By the time
you have prayed for the other four groups, your own  needs will be put
into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more
effectively.

That’s basically it.  In the pointing-finger prayer, I include doctors, firefighters/EMTs and other emergency personnel, police, teachers, ministers, professors, librarians/archivists – pretty much everyone whose efforts make civilization civilized.  I don’t always go down the whole list, and sometimes I just refer to it in shorthand as “the good guys.”  Also at this time, I pause and listen for sirens.  Since I live in a close-in suburb of DC, I almost always hear one, and pray for everyone involved: not only the police/fire/emergency people responding to whatever the crisis is, but also the victim(s) and the perpetrators (if any).  I usually refer to them in shorthand as “all concerned.”

I find it particularly appropriate, especially in the last 7 1/2 years, that the middle finger is for the government.  I very often feel like displaying that finger toward our elected officials!  Lately, I pray especially that God will help us elect the people that God wants us to have in charge – I can’t begin to think that that’s been the case so far this millenium.

For the ring finger, I pray not only for people in distress, but also for endangered species, abused animals, and polluted or ruined environments.  I generally make a special prayer for anyone stuck in a riot or a war zone, that they all get out without hurting or being hurt.

Then, if I haven’t fallen asleep, it’s my turn!  This is harder than it sounds – practically everything I pray for anyone/anything else reminds me of something *I* want or need, so I’ve usually said most of what I wanted to say along those lines before this point.  But I’ll present it formally, and try to remember to make it “not my will, but thine be done.”  I finish up by asking for a good night’s sleep and energy for the next day.

How do you pray?

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments

Mourning

Recently, a couple of friends of mine have separately lost people they loved.  As Christians, they haven’t felt that it was appropriate to mourn, since they’re sure in their faith that the loved ones are in Heaven.  One of them, though, couldn’t help feeling sad, and felt guilty about it.

I told both of them that it’s ok to mourn, even in their situation.  You’re not mourning the person, in the way that you are sad when te has a fatal disease (but hasn’t died) or is injured.  In that case, you’re sad because a bad thing has happened to tir.  But once te’s died, a good thing has happened to tir, but a bad thing has happened to you.  When someone sends you a joke that the person would have loved, you start to forward it – and remember that you won’t laugh with tir again.  When you have a problem, and need advice, you won’t be able to go to tir and hear something helpful that will make you feel better.  You won’t be seeing tir at the Thanksgiving Day table, or at your mutual favorite mall.  You miss tir.  But what you’re mourning is tes absence, not tes fate.  You’re actually mourning for yourself, and the great times and relationship you used to have with this person, which now needs to be suspended until you’re where te is.

One of my friends thought that made sense, and (I think) felt a little less guilty.  The other didn’t reply to my e-mail – maybe to him, any mourning is forbidden.  I hope not, because God made us in such a way that when people we love are absent, we are sad for ourselves.  We need to recognize that.

March 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Time

I’ve been percolating this entry for a while, so I hope I can remember what I’ve thought of saying!

I’ve written about Eternity, but I haven’t really said much about time.  A couple of events have occurred lately that have made me think more about it.

I was talking to a co-worker who’s fresh out of college.  She mentioned something, then wasn’t sure if I would get it.  She looked at me uncertainly, and said, “Uh, I don’t want to be insulting or anything, but you seem like you might be around my mom’s age?”  I said, yes, probably; I’m 49.  She looked a little nonplussed for a minute, and blurted out “My mom’s older than that!”  I was tickled – it was the first time in my life, I think, anyone has ever thought I was older than I am!

Since I’ll be turning 50 this year, last month I got my AARP letter.  You kind of have to know me to understand that it really doesn’t bother me – anyone who knew me when I turned 40 may have a clue about it, but most people don’t believe that anyone actually likes getting older.  My husband once accused me of actually wanting to get old and die, but that’s not really it.  It’s not time for that yet.

During December, I’m a Christmas nut.  Starting small on the first Sunday in Advent (or December 1, whichever comes first), and gaining speed fast, I immerse myself in C’mas: I listen only to C’mas music, wear C’mas clothes, read only mysteries set at C’mas time (if you’d like a list of them, I’d be glad to send it to you!), and deck the house.  The rest of the year, though, you’d think I don’t like it at all.  I’ll go out of my way (a little bit, anyway) to avoid reading a book or watching a movie set at C’mas, and C’mas music out of season makes me antsy.  In August, when the catalogs start coming, my husband starts trying to sing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” but I don’t let him until after my birthday in October.  Right around my birthday, red and green start competing with orange and black in the store decorations (hideous, for about a week!), and all the malls are draped in tinsel and lights.  I growl.  It’s not time yet!  I don’t want people rushing it.  Fall is my favorite time of year – can’t they give me time to enjoy it, and not try to rush it out of the way to get to C’mas?  My husband calls me Scrooge from then until Advent, at which time I quickly start getting into the idea.  It’s the same thing with aging – I’m not in a hurry to get old, or to die at whatever age, but when it’s time to be 40, or 50, or 90, or going to Heaven, that’s what I want to be doing.

Another thing that has made me think about time is Lent, which started this past Wednesday.  The cycle of the Church year is all about time, with specific times, like Lent or Christmas, to do specific things.  But since God is about Eternity, and we’re supposed to be getting ready for Eternity ourselves, why would the Church put such emphasis on time?  It’s not that
you can’t be sorry for your sins, or thankful for Christ, at other
times of the year, but the Church sets apart times to be sure these
things get accomplished.  Although we’ll be in Eternity when we leave here, we’re not there yet.  Time and our inclinations make us forget (or “forget,” depending) to think about the things that will help us prepare for Eternity, and not get them done.  If we spend no time thinking about our relationship with God, how much are we going to enjoy being one with God forever?  It may be that God doesn’t punish us for not going to church or for not believing – it may be that if you haven’t gotten used to the idea of living as God wants you to, you just can’t “do” Heaven.  That sounds more likely to me – even though the Old Testament, and parts of the New, concentrate a lot on anger and punishment, I don’t think that’s what God is like.  If I’m wrong, I guess you won’t see me in Heaven, but I think we’ll be seeing each other and most of the other people we’ve known (and haven’t).

So, what is it going to be like, living in Eternity as people who’ve grown up living in time?  I wonder if it will take us a while to get used to it, or if we’ll take to it like ducks to water, as our natural habitat.  It seems to me that people who try to rule time, like Type A’s, who are always rushing around doing “time management” and getting three times as much done as anyone else, probably will have a hard time dealing with it.  But maybe, people who’ve moved with time, and forgotten to do stuff on time but taken each moment as it comes, will greet the Eternal Now with joy.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A letter to two kids

I have a 7-year-old godchild, who has a 9-year-old sibling.  The older one has started wondering about God, death, and related subjects, so I wrote them a letter.  I’ll copy it here, and if anyone has comments or questions, they can ask.

Dear Kids –

This letter is partly to address questions [the older one] has been having about God, death, humans’ purpose in living, and so on.  I don’t know if [my godchild] is interested in these questions or not, but since te’s my godchild, it’s my job to talk to tir about them anyway, so I’m sending this to both of you.

These are often referred to as “The Big Questions,” because people have been wondering about them for as long as we’ve been people.  Frustratingly, there aren’t any cut-and-dried answers; I think it’s because God gave us brains, and wants us to use them to keep thinking, instead of knowing the answers and not needing to ponder them any more.

You’ll meet a lot of people who believe they do have the answers, and you’re related to some of them.  [Some relatives] are what is called “Fundamentalist Christians,” and they believe that the Bible is factually and literally correct in all details.  This can be a very tempting point of view, because it’s very comforting to have The Answer to these questions.  However, other people (including me) believe that the Bible is not so much a list of facts, but an aid to thinking about God and related subjects.

Your [other relatives] also believe they have the answers: they believe that there is no God, and that when we die, we’re dead, and that’s all there is to it.  Some people, though (again, including me), find that impossible to believe, because they seem to see God in all of creation.

I’m somewhat handicapped in talking about God, etc., in that I don’t want to talk you into believing my set of answers.  It’s much easier to talk about anything if you believe not only that you’re right, but that anyone who believes differently is wrong.  However, while I think I’m at least partly right, I also think other people are at least partly right, too.  Whenever I say anything about God, please keep in mind that this is how I see the subject, and pretty much everything I say is open to question and discussion.

There’s an old story called “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”  [Older kid], you said you don’t want stories, but The Answer.  Since I’ve explained a little bit of why I’m not offering you The Answer, though, maybe you’ll agree to read this poem, based on the much older story: <http://godloveseveryone.letterfly.h4ab.net/elephant/>.

I expect you can see why I asked you to read that.  One person has hold of the trunk, someone else has hold of the tail or the leg, and since they’re blind, they can’t see the whole elephant at once.  Obviously, we can see, and we can comprehend the whole of an elephant.  But God is so huge, there’s no way we can get outside of God for perspective, and see all of God at once.  As I see it, God contains everything and everyone, whether they’re on this planet or billions of light-years away; whether they’re the size of people, or elephants, or atoms, or suns.  We don’t have the ability to comprehend a being who can create and keep track of all of that, so we tend to cut the question down to things we can handle.  That’s ok, as far as it goes, because this is how God made us, and God understands that we have this kind of thought processes.  The big mistake, in my opinion, comes from each of us thinking that “since I’m right, everyone else has to be wrong.”  But I think that people with very different ideas about God can all be right – God might be in some ways like a tree trunk, AND like a rope, AND like a wall, and so on.

This is kind of a long letter, and although I’ve tried to make it as non-confusing as possible, I don’t know if I’ve managed it.  One very good way to start thinking about God is to go ahead and read the Bible.  Most people don’t start at the beginning and read all the way through to the end, like you do with most books.  It seems to work better to break it up into small pieces that are easier to think about.  And there is great value in learning and memorizing Bible verses.  I’d already said that I was going to start giving [my godchild] Bible verses to memorize, so I’ll give you one you’ve almost certainly already heard:
1 John 4:8:  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (King James version)
        The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (New American Standard Bible)

This opens a whole new can of worms, because there are a lot of translations of the Bible.  It didn’t start off in English, but in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  So it needs to be translated, and as English changes, it needs to be re-translated so that the meaning stays clear.  When you’re memorizing Bible verses, it’s a good idea to memorize the King James version, because that’s a version that most people agree is accurate.  But as you can see, it uses a lot of words we don’t use any more, so to make sure you understand the verse, you might want to look it up in another version.  Your parents may have some different versions of the Bible which you can compare; I usually go to <http://www.bible.com>, which offers a lot of different translations.  If you can, you should also memorize the citation (that’s the 1 John 4:8 part), so you can find it again when you want it.  That’s not as important now as it used to be, though, because now we can go to places like Bible.com and look up a verse if we don’t remember where it was.

Thank you for staying with me through this whole letter, if I haven’t lost you.  Please talk to your parents about any of this that you don’t understand, or any other questions it makes you think of.  And of course, please ask me!  I love talking about God, and Heaven, and why people are here, and all of that – I just don’t usually do it unless people ask me to.

August 19, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why bad things happen

Ok, even if no one else uses SF as a meditation aid, there must be a bunch of people who use Bejeweled!  The beauty of the falling gems, the attempts to find and make order for the reward of continuing to do it – it’s very restful.  Like interactive stained glass.

God *can* control everything, but chooses not to.  God appreciates the randomness of the universe on a scale no one else can.  It’s in finding the best answer to every unexpected problem that the satisfaction exists, and that the love is expressed.  How one can possibly have a sense/knowledge of randomness while living outside time is something only God can understand!  So wish people “good luck,” and realize that if you survived the plane wreck and someone else didn’t, the event wasn’t God’s choice.  God allows this randomness so that you and Te can work out your responses to it together.  Some people respond by turning their lives to better purpose than before, and that’s certainly what God wants to help each of us do.  Some people turn fearful, especially on behalf of their loved ones, and give those people situations they, in turn, have to take to God to work out for the best.  As CS Lewis expressed, the whole point is to make us the kind of people who can each, uniquely, enjoy and live in and grow in, Heaven.

God creates order out of chaos.  In order for that to happen, there has to be some chaos in the first place.  God could impose order from the top down, but that would leave us out of it – we’d be bystanders just like the cats and the mountains.  God doesn’t want an audience, God wants co-creators.  We learn to create order as God does, by having chaos to work with.  The learning is the thing, and time and space are not all there is.

So, what I want to know is, is this a glimmer of truth?  Or heresy?   Or just the ravings of incipient lunacy?  You tell me.

July 21, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pray Without Ceasing

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul enjoins us to “Pray without ceasing.”  This bothered me when I first heard it, when I was a kid, because I wondered how people would ever get anything done if they were praying all the time.  I got a clue toward understanding it from a joke I heard some years later:

A seminary student asks one of his professors if it’s ok to smoke while praying.  The professor is shocked, and says that one’s communion with God shouldn’t be sullied with such a worldly activity.

Wanting a second opinion, the student asks another professor if it’s ok to pray while smoking.  The professor is struck by the student’s devotion, and says that certainly, prayer can be combined with any activity.

It all depends on how you look at it, I guess.

I worked once in a job that was both mentally and emotionally demanding, and came to see my restroom breaks as a welcome respite from the work.  Once I was on the toilet and was rather shocked to find myself praying.  What would God think!  Then I remembered, “Pray without ceasing.”  Paul didn’t say “Pray without ceasing, except for bathroom breaks,” and God made us need bathroom breaks, so it must be ok to pray then.  Since then, I’ve found that, indeed, prayer can be combined with any activity, and that being in constant (or at least, near-constant) contact with God can give me a measure of calm.  Funny how that works.

June 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Craven

I just finished re(re-re-re…!)-reading CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. I first read it in a high school Sunday school class, probably 11th grade, and have read it about two out of every three years since. As with most of Lewis’ work, many of these readings reveal something new.

I’ve also been watching Battlestar Galactica for the past couple of seasons. It’s not really odd for me to see this remake of the classic ’70s series, because I never watched that anyway. It has some excellent characters, the least attractive of whom is Gaius Baltar. I understand that his character wasn’t permanent in the original series, and it’s kind of too bad that they didn’t continue that in this iteration. He reminds me of Dr. Smith of Lost in Space, only more so. Baltar is the most fully-realized craven I’ve ever encountered in literature/TV/etc. You see cowards fairly often, but they usually either die or come through at the last moment, but an actual craven, whose wits are sharpened enough by threat that he is able to follow the thread of self-preservation no matter what it makes him do, is much rarer. He’s intelligent, and can be charming (only in his own interest, of course), but there is no depth of selfishness to which he won’t sink, no betrayal he won’t commit, to save himself. It’s kind of fascinating. That type is probably much more common in real life than it is in art, but it’s the kind of character no one could want to identify with.

The connection to Screwtape is that one of senior devil Screwtape’s pieces of advice to his nephew, Wormwood, is about cowardice. He tells the first-time tempter that, “Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful – horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember…. We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. Whenever we have almost succeeded in doing so, the Enemy [i.e., God] permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone, and there is still at least one vice of which they feel genuine shame.” Gaius is the only character I’ve ever seen whose cowardice is so strong it can outweigh even the shame of having it, and keep doing so every time an opportunity for bravery or death is offered. A good bad example, and one that should, perhaps, be in the back of our minds in case we’re caught in a situation like the one this past week at Virginia Tech – it might take only a second to decide whether to push the person beside you behind you and away from the shooter, or in front of you to shield you from the shooter, but that one second would define your character. For the rest of your life, whether it was just a few more seconds or many more years, you would have your answer to the question, “What would I do in that situation?”

April 21, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment