Further Musings

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

Archive for January 2009

Meeting Marjorie

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marjorieatuncOn Tuesday Charity and I drove over to UNC hospitals to met Marjorie, the first child of our friends, Bret and Rachel.  Marjorie was asleep for most of our brief visit.  She was small, wrinkly, and lovely.

I’ve known Bret and Rachel for many years now (I love being able to say that about Chapel Hill folks).  Bret and I have watched each other switch careers, get married, and now I’ve met his daughter.

I keep thinking that when she’s a toddler I’ll scoop her up and say “I’ve known you since the day you were born.”  Perhaps I will still know her when she’s a middle-schooler and I’ll look at her and say “I remember the day you were born.”

I don’t know how many people can say they met me on my birthday.  I think Marjorie is the only person I can say that about.  I’ll probably remind her about that enough that she’ll just blow it off as another repetitive statement from Andy, Mom and Dad’s big bearded friend, but I think I’ll always think it’s amazing that I’ve known her since she was born.

Written by furthermusings

January 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Church, Reflections

Charity from Above

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This weekend we visited my Grandfather and the whole P-side of the family at his suburban Atlanta house.  As a gift he sent us all to the High Museum to see the First Emperor Exhibit.  The limited display of the Emperor’s terracotta army (which, by surrounding his tomb, protected him from his dead enemies) was well worth seeing.  The statues in the exhibition were awing and humbling with their detail, size and age.   I’d love to see the site in China.  I wonder what I would make of all of them presented on such a vast scale.

It is amazing to think of how many men and women lived and died as slaves and nobles in China all those years ago in a society that functioned and as was unquestioned as ours is today.  The exhibit did a good job of showing who the First Emperor was and why he felt like he needed to create an army of figures to surround his grave.  Unfortunately there were no pictures allowed in the exhibit.  How could they get you to buy the books?

I did get a few good ones of Charity in the atrium of the adjoining building.  I like the contrast of the curves and the lines.  Ah . . . for a blog like Charity’s that can show pictures with with some sense of scale.

charity at the high museum



Charity from Above

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January 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Pictures, Travel

The Supper of the Lamb

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On this gray winter’s afternoon I finished a wonderfully irreverent culinary reflection titled The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farras Capon.  I learned some interesting things about cooking: how to make a broth, why pastry is so amazingly good, but more I loved his wit, his playfulness, and his delight in cooking, fasting, and eating.

Capon’s love for the particulars of cooking is something I’ve been slowly learning and mulling since my time at L’Abri seven years ago when I first began to appreciate eating.  Since then, around Bill &Val’s and Steve & Jeannie’s tables, I’ve come to see dining as something wonderful and extravagant, full of spices and varieties beyond what nutrition requires.   To my mind the ability to experience wonderful and extravagant food from time to time says something amazing about a God who created all those varieties of grapes, animals, and vegetables simply for the unnecessary pleasure of man.

There are lots of divine things about eating (like the love my mother put into every meal she cooked me or the beauty of hospitality to lonely) and to that list I’ll add that there is something deeply divine about the delight of eating and fasting.  So the The Supper of the Lamb is one part how-to cookbook filled with dismissals (electric knives and margarine), loves (wine, cheddar cheese, and butter), and prayers and one part glorification of the magnificent particulars of cooking, of creating and Creation. (For a longer (and excellent) essay on this aspect see Andy Crouch’s review.)

Capon (a priest) loves his table and sees how it reflects his God.  He’s wrathfully dismissive of all those who seek to assault the table: nutritionists, dieters, and children.   Capon speculates that the devil might have evaluated his strategy to corrupt humans and said “In concentrating on offenses against God and neighbor, it (our strategy) had failed to corrupt his relationship to things.  Things by their provision of unique delight and individual admonishments, constituted a continuous  refreshment of the very capacities Hell was at pains to abolish . . . the door of delight must remain firmly closed.”  Capon, I think, is intent on ripping the door open and offering us again the delights of the table.

I’ll finish this post with one of the many sections that made me laugh.  As a teenager I was declared the world’s slowest hiker, not for my fitness, but for my inability to pass by even the smallest of interesting things without stopping.  In Capon I found a kindred spirit.

“Having finished thus the main part of the first half of the initial section of my . . . recipe,* I suggest that we now relax in earnest . . . If you are still with me at this point, it can only be because you are a serious drinker of being: a man who will walk back ten paces to smell privet in bloom; a woman who loves to rap sound turnips with her knuckles.  Let us congratulate one another: The party has taken a distinct turn for the better.  The busybodies with late meetings to attend have long since departed.  The fidgeters who yawned their way through the evening have flaunted their early rising and vanished mercifully into outer darkness.  Rejoice, dear heart; the ribbon clerks are finally out of the game.  At last we may speak freely of the things that matter.  Put away the cooking Sherry, Margaret; only the real ones are left.  The good stuff is in the right hand end of the sideboard.

Our progress to noodles must not be hasty.”

*This “initial section” being page 109 of The Supper of the Lamb!

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January 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Giving Away the Bouquet

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At my regular Saturday breakfast with the guys (where we generally banter and speculate like the old men) one of the fellows told us how his new daughter-in-law gave away her bouquet when she married his son last weekend.

At the reception the DJ asked all the married couples onto the dance floor to start dancing.  Then he ordered everyone married less than six hours off.  Jonathan and Kim (bride and groom) exited.  Then he asked everyone under a year, then under five years, then under 10, and so on to step off the dance floor.  At the end only the groom’s grandparents, married 53 years, were left dancing.

The bride walked out and presented her grandmother-in-law with the bouquet.  Beautiful: honoring to them and humane to all the singles.  Charity kept hers but if we had given it away this way (or a variation) would have been pretty cool.

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January 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Church