Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Attack on Christ

"Jesus' Tomb?"

Doubtless many have heard of this by now. Some people, including "Titanic" director James Cameron, are suggesting they have found the tombs of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their "son" Judah. Now such a story would not have reached the first telephone if it was not argued to be referencing Jesus of Nazareth on whom all of Christianity is founded - so let's not beat around the bush contending it could be the tomb of some "Joshua" and some "Miriam" from around the time of Jesus who had a son named "Judah." You have to be a plain fool not to know what they are trying to suggest.

Besides, it is not the first time, nor will it be the last, when someone tries to think themselves important and earth-shattering by proclaiming something about Jesus of Nazareth to get headlines, fame, money, etc. Look at the Da Vinci Code if you want a recent example or the gnostic gospels if you want an older one.

At best these attempts are selfish endeavors to make oneself seem important and make one wealthy. But at worse, much graver consequences can be on the horizon...

Suppose even one person, ignorant of scholarly work on the truth of such claims and perhaps not even with a very rich or deep faith to dismiss such claims in the way they truly deserve, actually doubts his or her own previously accepted beliefs that Jesus is the Son of God, fully alive, truly risen and actually in heaven and has no help to pull him or her back from those doubts. Now, whether due to the selfishness and selfimportance of others or through the malicious and cynical contention of them against the Son of God, such little lambs as these may at the very least become very confused.

When I first read the article I wanted to cry. Here were those same people who have insulted and ridiculed my Church now trying to take my Jesus from me completely. He is the light of my life and indeed the breath that keeps me going and, indeed, even makes me pray for those who would take him from me and yet they seek to destroy him. Now, for me, it is true they did not in the least damage my faith except perhaps my faith in the decency of some people, but they did nonetheless hurt me with such stupidity and arrogance and perhaps even maliciousness.

It is sad the world has come to such as this for among many, quite simply, nothing but themselves is any longer sacred.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten Beginnings

Well, Lent got off to a bit of a penitential start for me. Last night I spent part of the night in bed and part on the floor trying to calm Cecilia as she transitions into sleeping the whole night in her crib and no nursing during the night. It is a big change for her but it resulted in a poor night's sleep for all of us and, since we are not right now used to fasting added to the poor night's rest, significant headaches for James and myself today. Cecilia was somewhat cranky herself.

My Lenten reading is Dubay's Fire Within, of which I only read chapter one today. I hope to read it steadily throughout Lent.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Northanger Abbey

Well, I have now read all of Jane Austen's six novels. My order of preference is as follows:

Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey.

But do not think I disliked any of them. I liked all of them but to varying degrees. Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite of all books for I have seldom found it matched in humor, wit, tenderness or morality. Emma is plain and simply a fun and fantastic read - one I look forward to in the future. Mansfield Park is a great drama with much to say for itself and much to reflect upon both on the subject of matrimony as well as that of parenting. Sense and Sensibility is warm and tender. Persuasion's appeal is directed to the subject of second chances at love and the tender suffering endured by rejecting it the first time. Northanger Abbey is a satirical parody and, in this, very different from her other novels. In it Austen directs many sentiments directly to her reader acknowledging her "fable" and the rules thereof poking fun at the novel, particularly horror novels of her time, and society in general.

I think, before I read her short stories, I would like to reread Pride and Prejudice. I have watched the miniseries so many times since I last read it I think it would be good to refresh myself with the book before venturing into her unfinished novels, prayers and letters.

Overall I must say I find it quite sad indeed that Jane Austen is not more read today.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sense and Sensibility

Well, I finished Sense and Sensibility much sooner than I expected. Having a cold is certainly confining but it does tend to afford more time for reading. Thus far how I would rate my preference of Jane Austen's books:

Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Sense and Sensibility

I should make clear that I do not dislike any of her books. I have enjoyed all of them very much but this is my list of preferences.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mansfield Park

Well, in just over a week I finished Mansfield Park. It was very good with a large list of characters and quite a complex plot. Only mild fatigue from reading 200 pages in two days is slowing me from beginning Sense and Sensibility, which shall be my next Jane Austen read.

It is commonly regarded that Jane Austen's books are one of romance, generally with a happy ending and usually with something to say regarding marriage and courtship and virtue. I cannot deny this. But I have come to observe that no less a primary subject for Austen is courtship and marriage than is proper parenting. In each of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Mansfield Park there is one or several parents (and even some aunts and uncles) which Austen critcizes severely in their ineptness and disinterestedness in proper parenting or guardianship and the great responsibility they have in rearing children not only in education and manners but also in discernment, temper, disposition, humility and virtue. One could argue that, not separating parenthood from marriage, Austen is simply continuing her discource on the subject of matrimony rather through the superiors of her protagonists and their relations rather than through the protagonists and their relations themselves.

I must, at this time, still hold Pride and Prejudice as my favorite although further recflection and time may change that but I will only consider it upon rereading Pride and Prejudice. This I hope to do after reading Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Sandition and her other short stories, and then Pride and Prejudice again. It seems a lot, but since midDecember I have already completed three of her novels totalling over 1250 pages of reading which, with a one year old, is no small matter.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jane Austen

Well, I read Emma and then Persuasion and am now on Mansfield Park. I guess you could say I am on a Jane Austen kick. I have also ordered Sense and Sensibility and Northangler Abbey and will read those after Mansfield Park. Then I will treat myself to rereading Pride and Prejudice and read her short stories. So basically I should cover all her writings before summer (except her letters, which I haven't gotten yet.

So far my rank of preference would be:
Pride and Prejudice

I don't know exactly where Mansfield Park will fall yet but I do, so far at least, like it better than Persuasion. Persuasion was good but not as enjoyable to me as the others.