Crying Over Spilt Rilke [Re-Blog]

Paul Burkhart:

Ran across this quote and post. They are both so good. I am all the more persuaded I need to open up the copy of Letters that I have sitting on my shelf right now. It gets cut off in the excerpt above, but here’s the whole Rilke quote:

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Originally posted on The Narratician:

“You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


Courtesy of Knud Odde

I recently came across a used copy of Letters to a Young Poet, which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time now. As I was leafing through it in the book store, I…

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Visions of Arcadia: the most terrifying art exhibit I’ve ever seen

This weekend I had the privilege of seeing the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new exhibit Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia. The exhibit showcases works exploring the idea of “Arcadia“: an idyll pastoral world envisaged in Virgil’s first major poetic work Eclogues where nymphs and fauns dwell alongside Bacchus and Pan; where human dwellers exist in peace, rest, and joy in the natural world.

(To put it simply: you can usually recognize Arcadian themes at work in a piece of art when it has naked people hanging out in nature–usually around rivers.)

This image of Arcadia, having been explored in art epochs in the past, overtook art once more right as modern art was being born, right around the turn of the 20th century. In fact, the exhibit subtly makes the argument that this image of a rural, paradisal ideal is an essential element in modern art’s development. The modernists’ dilemma–the tensions between longing and reality, finding and losing, permanence and transience, human and mythic–all find their embodiment in this Arcadian world.

The exhibit begins with excerpts from Virgil’s poetic treatment of this theme, set beside works that visualized his words. These run along one wall. On the opposing wall of this introductory hallway, there are excerpts from Stéphane Mallarmé’s modernist treatment of Arcadia, L’Apres-midi d’un Faune, accompanied by pen-and-ink drawings from Matisse that visualize his words.

The exhibit is great, but very theoretical. It works subtly and on nuance. It’s not just a bunch of pretty things thrown into a room. Instead it is a thesis–an argument–in visual form. It watches a theme develop from myth to poetry to visual art (and then from Renaissance to modern) and explores how they are all connected and converse with one another. It’s really like no other exhibit to which I’ve ever been. If you get the chance, see it.

But that’s not why I’m writing today.
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a Jesuit Priest on Evolution. Enjoy.


Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, as systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforth if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow… There is an absolute direction of growth, to which both our duty and our happiness demand that we should conform. It is human function to complete cosmic evolution…. Christ is realized in evolution.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit Priest and trained paleontologist in “The Phenomenon of Man“, ca. 1930s

I’ll be writing more about this in my Advent reflection on Monday. [Read reflection 1]

On Darwinism vs. Design (a response to the Richmond Center for Christian Study) {pt.2}

Yesterday, I posted the first part of a reply to Chris Daniel, Executive Director of the Richmond Center for Christian Study, who wrote an article titled The Origin of Life: Darwinism vs. Design. Here is part 2.

Chris, you are right to attack Darwinism as a philosophy or worldview; just like it is also appropriate to attack humanism, hedonism, racism, sexism, bibliolatry, and “systematic theology-ism”. Any system that builds its existence and definition around a created thing rather than the Person of God Himself ought to be attacked and shown to be the inadequate system it is.

But just because those “isms” above shouldn’t define our worldviews, it does’t mean that there isn’t truth and goodness even in the the things they are tempted to define themselves by: humanity has worth, pleasure is good, races are beautiful, genders are different, the Bible is the primary revelation of God (we are not a people of the Book, but a people of the Word that is testified to by the Book), and systematic theology can be helpful as we interpret and apply the Scriptures.

And Darwinism as a philosophy is an improper elevation of a seemingly true process.

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Pain, Sickness, & the Goodness of God (by Jen Justice) [Guest Post]

Okay, for those that haven’t been keeping up with this. I wrote a post about meeting God in an illness I was facing. Steve Wolf left a comment taking issue with joyfully finding this sickness within God’s Providence. I wrote a response to him. He wrote a response to me. I then sent my final reply to Him. He sent his final reply. Now, an old friend of mine, Jen Justice, who is both one of the most faithful women of God I know and someone who has faced many medical issues in her life wishes to give a few words to Steve. I knew her in Richmond and she now lives in Atlanta with her husband Josh. She is a woman full of both wisdom and grace and this response from her to Steve exemplifies this well. Also be sure to read her article on humility she wrote for my old web magazine Reform & Revive. Here’s Jen:


First, I just want to let you know that no one is mad at you for healing people. I also believe in the gift of healing and praise God whenever He heals someone. I continue to ask Him to heal me, and I’m grateful whenever a brother or sister prays for my healing, as well.

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“David Bazan: an Example for Christians After All?” – Patrol Magazine

bazanI’m having blogging withdrawal.  So sorry.  I’m still trying to find my rhythm with the new job.  I have several articles I’ve slowly been working on and others that I was working on, only to have the “moment” pass before they were done.  This is particularly true of some political articles I’ve been thinking through.  Just when I get an idea for a political article, the proper time passes before I’m actually able to get the thing written and published.  So once again, sorry.

But, I’m not slacking on my writing for Patrol Magazine.  Here’s the new article:

David Bazan: An Example for Christians After All?

As I said last week, I am the new Thursday blogger for the site.  My first article went up last week, and it was on Christopher Hitchens’ brother, Peter Hitchens.  This week’s article concerns a David Bazan show I went to early this week and some things this show taught me concerning my own spirituality.  So read and feel free to comment!

Open Mic: A Theology of Transgenderism? (pt.iii)

[art by Patrick Benbow]

As I said in a previous post in this series (Part 1, Part 2), this problem of how the Church must address Trangenderism will be an increasing problem as time goes on. This is mainly because of how the whole idea of gender identity has changed in the past 100 years. It is only in light of Freud that we use our sexuality as an “identity”. And it’s only after the Enlightenment that living in light of one’s natural identity is seen as the highest ideal. Now, Christianity agrees with the Enlightenment on this point, but with a caveat. A very, very important caveat that should shape this entire discussion, especially as it pertains to how we actually counsel and interact with transgendered individuals.

The caveat is this: as made clear above, humanity is the image-bearer of God. We are called to reflect and live in light of that Image. It’s what we’ve been designed and intentioned for, but because of disobedience and a sense of entitled, deserved autonomy, we refuse to live in line with that image. When we do this, we are actually going against how humanity was truly designed to live. We are, in effect, acting less human, not more. Therefore, in conversion, we are granted our resurrected humanity, established and purchased for us by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Being joined to him as our representative for true humanity, we find our truest, most truly human identity in him, not in our sexuality, not in our gender. In Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, gay nor straight. There is only Christ.

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