That Light Might Shine

For a good while now, the god of the West has not been He who spoke the world from the raw firmament of His own being, but a concept. Human thought on the supernatural is ever in flux, but not so much progress is made as our academicians would like to suppose. For though we no longer strip off our clothes to dance before demonic idols and slake their thirst with the blood of our infants, criminals and bitter enemies as the Aztecs or the Celts of classical Europe once did, we have no less the same degree of fanaticism in the consecration of our mentally abstracted idols.

To wit, we worship liberty as Baal once was among the Canaanite peoples of the Levant. Our freedom to do as we please is as inviolable a divine mandate as the Law handed down to Moses – or so our actions say.

For even in many houses of God, we might hear so simple and easy a command as “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” And yet in our American way, we strive, worry, bite and gnaw (yes, I remain guilty of this too) about what we shall eat, how our bills shall  be paid, what soil be predestined for our hands to cultivate, and in our fervor to labor for our own bread mistrust the providence of the God who formed the very soil that we till. Is God’s strength not greater than that of our flabby biceps, fat from the convenience and ease of our modern life? But perhaps we do not doubt God’s strength, but His willingness to condescend to our mundane needs and provide such little things such as money and good grades, or relief from an irritating case of the flu. His unwillingness to aid in those (or so it may be said) is not of Him. It is of our predisposition to credit our victories to ourselves, and not to Him who sustains us through the continual outpouring of His Word, without which would not exist a speck of the reality which we know now.

Some modern philosophers propose that we are all but figments of imagination. Truly, being unable to know the world except through our own perceptions, we could well live in a construct, for by Man’s means we can never escape the hard casing of our skulls to explore a world beyond the limits of the flesh. They, of all pagans unknowing the majestic truth of the Living God, may be closest of all to the reality, that we live in the mind of God, who was and is and still is to come, all that breathes and thinks and orbits, and yet above and separate from all that can be seen with the eye and grasped with the hand – immortal God.

We live at the Lord’s command, whether we follow Him or not. Rebel and disciple both, live at the grace of a merciful God, a God who as He lives, burns with righteous anger at a rebellious creation which defies the very nature of its origin, spitting on the good works and the good name of Him who breathed life into humble clay. If one will say, “Who is God to declare what is right and wrong? Who is God to choose who shall be punished?” – I say to thee, “Count what makes you right to discipline even your dog. What gives you authority over your children? Are they not living, thinking equals of you? What gives your children the right to eat at your table freely? Do they earn their keep? What is it that keeps them clothed and dry in a warm house, but your unwarranted love for them – in spite of and irregardless of their behavior? When they throw their tantrums and scream and cry, do you not discipline them? And when they have come to you for forgiveness, do you not forgive and forget, and embrace them even more warmly than if they had done nothing wrong in the first place?”

We are children before a loving Father, one who is not stern alone, but consumed with compassion for his suffering, wayward children – who do far worse than merely scream at their father or mother. We murder with our hearts, wishing harm on those who mildly inconvenience us on the road or cut in line. We lust with our primal organs, ravenous predators stalking the streets in the deceptive guise of happy citizens – restrained not by good morals, but by animal fear of the consequences for acting out our brutish desires. We slake the thirst of our crying souls on money, conveniences, entertainments of all kinds from the lowest of brows to the heights of sophistication, to darker twisted pleasures provided paid and free, in person or through the vast internet. We joke at the expense of those unable to answer for themselves, delight in expressing our opinions in the most creative of vulgarities, distracting ourselves from the painful light of higher truths by targeting our quests for wisdom on practical tips and tricks to quiet a tremulous heart which knows that it was made for so much more than perusing a hundred blogs on green tea and Buddhist meditative practices as interpreted by a professional connoisseur of cultural commercialization.

And we haven’t even touched politics yet. The titles and means of succession may have changed, yet still we rally around presidents and chancellors – elected kings of empires ruled by a collective dream. My thoughts on this remain for another essay, but suffice it to say – is it not an affront to the true King that we will so readily latch onto the words and scuffles of these petty rulers who are in one cycle and out the next, naught but a short tract in an already outdated high school textbook – and thusly ignore the ageless, ever-growing chronicle of the deeds of the one Lord of all lords?

I have spoken long enough. I am sure by now that I have either sufficiently dissuaded you from continuing to read my prattling, or that somehow my words have been efficacious. If it is the former, that is what I can only expect from the weak efforts of my fleshly mind. If it is the latter, then it is because what was read was different than what I wrote, and I can only thank God if what I have written here has helped anyone.

My desire is only this – that you, him, her, me, every soul which dwells upon God’s Earth, would have their eyes opened up to the Heavens, and that God’s Light might shine on His starving children and show them the way to not merely survive this life – but live into the next – and chase after Him who is Life who loved them enough to die for their rescue while they pelted Him with curses and nailed him to a cross. For all that God is Justice unflinching, He is also Love unending, and Compassion unsurpassed.

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The Life of Weariness

You’re born.

You take your first breath. It’s the hardest thing you’ve done in your life to date, but there will be harder hills still.

You drink from your mother’s breast. In every way she cares for you. Her words slowly sink into your mind with your father’s when he’s home, and gradually, those words shape you – or do you fashion those words around yourself?

You grow up. Now gifted with a voice to name the brilliant spectrum of life which around you winds, it blasts by in an instant, as the autumn leaves before winter’s gales, which in their own turn die down before the chirping growth of spring, which bakes beneath the coming of summer at its own conclusion before once again the ripeness of the months of warmth crackle and age into those same, hoary colors of fall.

Now you’re an adult. Adolescences was a speedbump, a maelstrom of emotions and dramas which, on reflection as one now so matured by the seemingly purely biological processes of pubescence – seem irrelevant. Petty. Insipid. Meaningless.

Or perhaps they are your golden years? A fond time of fun, games, loose clothes and looser morals, to treasure in your heart as time slowly makes his inroads into your chest?

You study. You work. Whether they benefit you or not is entirely in your hands. Perhaps for a while you’re content merely to sustain yourself. It’s possible that a another human of an opposite form decides to cast his or her lot in with you, and you get married, have two and a half children – and now your life belongs to them. Or maybe you don’t. Perhaps you chase your loves as you did in youth, though the game gets surely harder as time crinkles your skin and mars your complexion, and the yearly flu lasts longer and longer each time it visits. It’s unlikely, but perhaps you abstain entirely. For what reason do you do this?

And perhaps on some dark, lonely night, long after those of your hearth and kin have fallen asleep, you sit up in bed, in the gloomy, silent house, and you wonder – why? For what do I work?

To play a little on the weekends? To keep this aging woman in my house? To raise up little ones after me to go through the same toils? To what end does Man labor?

For vanity.

For though you might have striven with great boldness and cunning, with even the noblest of hearts, to build up a palace for your kin and a throne in your place of work, when Sheol calls you into his embrace, to another you must hand your preciously crafted treasures. In time, your treasures will fade and depreciate, till all of your hoard which your children hold in their hands are crumbs of dust as they go out into the broken shell of a world to carve from the dust their daily bread, for who will feed them?

It is vanity.

For if the glory goes not to one who is eternal, the greatest that can be made of it is a footnote in a dust-gathering chronicle. The glories of the warrior-kings echo down the ages, reflecting off the hardened and bored ears of the teenagers subjected to a dully rendered retelling of the greatest struggles of men’s lives. The hardships endured by women and families – through siege, plague, famine, despair – all ring hollow in an age where bread is plenty, and yet the spirit starves for rest.

Ours is the life of weariness. Convenience cannot save the soul.

And so challenged in your heart of hears, what shall you do? Shall you strive to play it safe, extend your years until you can beat the game, and create something great to truly last down the ages? Shall you ignore the murmurs of your starving soul, and let your fleshly heart and all its lusty dukes rule your life while you eke out an existence of blissful subsistence?

Or would you cast all you had into fire, limbs and all to find that which will not only save you the ignominy of a meaningless, unremarkable existence among the seething mass of profane humanity from which all of us come – but secure you a place of joy and glory everlasting at the table of your Judge, Father, and Savior?

The price?

All glory be to Him who saves, for whose glory mercy was shown to the undeserving who would dare to slay his blameless messenger, the image of perfectified Man.

Humility before God. That is the price.

Music and My Thoughts

Warning: I am not a musician. Many years ago, my Latvian piano teacher told me I had the musical skills of a potato. Had I at the time known that Latvia worships the potato, and her comment was in fact the highest praise she could offer, I might be doing something very different with my life right now.

But I had a thought on music, one that’s probably very intuitive: different cultures produce different music.

But even within styles that originated from a very specific geographical / cultural environment, like rockabilly, rock and roll, swing, jazz, etc., they mutate dramatically upon encountering a new culture.

For my example, I’ll use ska, a brassy style of rock&roll-ish music which came from 1950s Jamaica. Here is a classic example of original Jamaican styled ska:

And here’s what happened when it came to Russia:

While it’s a bit early for me to form a conveniently sized theory of musical nationality, and there’s doubtless many more examples I can bring up from different genres, I thought it worthwhile to post my thoughts, because for some strange reason some people want to hear them out.

What do you think about this? What are your imagined characters of different cultures’ interpretations of musical styles?

 

Another Story: Kyrieleis

Sorry about sporadic posts. Exams, projects, papers, and my own lack of self-discipline (or perhaps simply normal discipline that fails to compare to the Roman standards I hold myself to) have all gotten in the way of keeping this regularly updated, as well as writing and generally enjoying life’s other pleasures besides stuffing my face with low quality confectionery.

I was bored, or more accurately, in a frenzied trance induced by Wardruna and my daily ADHD medications (and around 400 grams of sugar), and wrote this piece from start to finish, a short story from the perspective of one of the Syntar, depicted in that other post about them.

With less flapping gums and more content, here it is:

Oh, and if you’re so inclined, I appreciate feedback. It’s by no means required (not that I’d have any way to enforce it; I’m not the CCP), but giving me your thoughts 1) helps me write better stories, 2) inflates my ego that people actually care, and 3) lets me evaluate where this blog is going in terms of audience and content. And 4) makes me very, very happy. And don’t feel afraid to drop links or ask me to visit your blog, being directly impelled to read others’ content is excellent motivation to get out there and see what all everyone else has to offer.

Continue reading Another Story: Kyrieleis