Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for January 2008

How Big is the American Economy?

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I don’t know if it’s 100% accurate but it’s definitely makes you think. Hat tip to Thomas Oatley.


Written by furthermusings

January 17, 2008 at 9:33 pm

A Quote From “The Idiot”

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Eugene Peterson set me onto The Idiot as he talked about how it helped him understand what vocational holiness might look like.    I’m only 12 pages in but I’ve enjoyed it so far and really liked this passage:

These know-alls are sometimes – indeed, quite often – found in a certain class of society.  They know everything, and all the restless inquisitiveness of their minds and all their faculties are bent irresistibly in one direction, no doubt because they lack more important and vital interests and opinions, as a modern thinker would put it.  The words ‘They know everything’, however, must be understood to cover a rather limited field, namely, at what government department a certain man is employed, who are his friends and acquaintances, what he is worth, what province he was governor of, who his wife is, how big a dowry she brought him, who are his first and second cousins, etc, etc, – everything of that sort.  These know-alls mostly walk about in shabby old clothes and their salaries do not exceed seventeen roubles a month.  The people who most intimate secrets they know would, of course, have been hard put to it to imagine what their motives might be, and yet many of them are positively consoled by this knowledge, amounting almost to an exact science, and they derive their self-respect and even their highest spiritual satisfaction from it.  It is, indeed, a fascinating science.  I have know scholars, men of letters , poets, and politicians who sought and found in this science their peace of mind and the realization of their highest ambitions, and who even owe their careers exclusively to it.

Dostoyevsky, The Idiot 

Written by furthermusings

January 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Reviews

What is a Family?

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working my way through What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer, which I finished tonight.

It’s a spirited and beautiful defense of what it is to be a family and how a home-maker Mom can be vital to that. It was interesting to read it historically as a direct rebuke to the anti-family of the 1970s.

Now obviously I’m not a mom and according to Charity I’ll never get to be the stay at home parent, but I still am really attracted to some of the visions Edith casts in the book.

I loved how she described her delight in a hundred little details of her family’s life: fresh flowers for sick kids or taking the ferry back instead of the train just to give her children something special to delight in. Reading about these many details made me remember my time at L’Abri where the culture of delighting in tea time and in eating together was something that I really liked. I think that she gets delight pretty well and that’s a habit that I’d like to cultivate.

She also did a good job talking about the other aspects of family: education, memories, care for grandparents. All of it was carefully thought of, and while I chuckled at a few of her ideas, I mostly found her thoughtful about family and boundaries and shelter and family economics in a way that is challenging.

And lastly, I really liked what she said in the last chapter and it has me thinking as I think it’s true.

“I used to stop my children and say over and over again . . . ‘Don’t waste this hour. Don’t waste today. Stop fighting for a minute and just think! You are getting older every day and you won’t be four, with an eight-year-old sister and a tiny baby sister for very long. Think hard – what can you do now in this combination that you can’t do in ten years, in five years, even next year? Then do it!'”

When I read this I could hear the gleeful voice of one camp counselor awaking me shouting through the cool air of a summer’s morning, “Wake up boys! You can sleep at home all year round but you’re only at Alpine one month a summer.”

So yeah . . . I liked and it and it’s made me wonder what that means for Charity and I in the here and now.

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January 14, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Reviews

So Yeah . . . I’m Working Now

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Tonight, it’s late, and by all proper accounts I should be asleep . . . but I’m not. Instead I’m up blogging and listening to HEM and, to be honest, farting a lot. Be glad you’re reading this instead of sitting beside me.

Tonight we went over to our friends’, the C.s, house where we were stuffed full of excellent food, warm and raucous laughter, and conversation. Our Friday evenings with S, J, A, and K are a warm and welcomed blessing. Among the many things I loved were being wisely rebuked by a 12 year-old about gossip and when I complained about being rebuked I was gently rebuked again, this time by her 14 year-old sister about the wisdom of receiving instruction.

When I came home there was a thought wandering around somewhere in my head that I wanted to capture enough to sit here instead of snuggling in bed with my wife.

Tonight I asked Steve if he liked novels and that got him talking and gesticulating long and hard about programming, language, and the connection that literary criticism makes between the two of them. I asked him if he read novels much. His answer, which didn’t surprise me, was that he didn’t. Reading novels fell behind his 55-hour a week job, his wife and daughters, good food, art, reading spiritual books and philosophical ones.

When he talked about the book he’s currently reading, which has blown him away, his comment was something like “This guy has thought a whole lot about the books that he’s read and swirled it all together and has something really thoughtful to say about how life works.”

As I’ve thought about that comment I’ve also thought about the drawing I saw of his daughter tonight. I picked up Steve’s sketch book and the last one in it was simply amazing, a beautiful ink sketch in green and black and brown. His comment was “It’s taken me a while to sink into drawing enough to do it well.”

Those vignettes swirl together and makes me wonder: given that I’m working 40 hours a week and concentrating on learning how to be a budget analyst how can give time to the things that I want to think about? How can I find the time, energy, and space to reflect (and blog) now that 47 odd hours of my week are spoken for so forcefully?

Two months into full time work I haven’t figured this out . . . and I’m not sure that I will . . . but I feel a difference and a change so I thought I’d take some time notice that something has changed and to wonder what it means.

(Full disclosure: This post has been revised over several days as I’ve continued to think about it.)

Written by furthermusings

January 13, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Reflections

New Years at the Beach

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Some friends from church got married on New Years Eve at the beach (yes, in North Carolina this is possible and pleasant). We had a great time. It was awesome to see these two folks get married. It was cool to transported into their worlds of family and friends.  And watching them actually take vows, it struck me that I should add marriage to the list of sacred moments, standing beside birth and beside death.

Alongside the wedding, one of the great joys of the trip was our time with the C’s, our dear friends who have moved to Amherst, MA.

andystrollsonthencbeach.jpg On top of that we had a great beach front house. I really enjoyed throwing the French doors open to the bright southern sun and sitting in perfect stillness with each of us absorbed less in our books or letters than in the endless crash of the waves and the bright sparkling light reaching out into the horizon.

I think even more than the hour or so I spent seated in the doorway the memory of that stillness has left me with a quiet well of peace to that I have drawn from over several evenings . . . it’s pretty cool.

Here’s a few shots from the weekend that I think capture some of that.



Written by furthermusings

January 4, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Posted in Pictures