Stuff I Normally Would Have Posted on Facebook II: Now with Quotations!

David Russell Mosley

Lent
24 February 2015
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Friends and Family,

Here’s another list of links I’ve found interesting over the past week or so. Do enjoy.

“When we fast, we are changing and re-ordering our daily routine …

We are taking a step back from it.

We are saying that God’s Kingdom – the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus – calls us to ongoing, daily change in our lives.”

Lenten meditation: fasting from Catholicity and Covenant

‘At Christmas we are born again with Christ; at Easter we keep the Eucharistic Feast. In Lent, by penance, we join the two great sacraments together.’

“See, then, the Church offers you this season” from Catholicity and Covenant

‘”Self-denial, then, is a subject never out of place in Christian teaching; still more appropriate is it at a time like this, when we have entered upon the forty days of Lent, the season of the year set apart for fasting and humiliation …”‘

John Henry Newman quoted on Catholicity and Covenant

“Since we are now in Lent, it might be a good time to review the spiritual habit of fasting. Jesus clearly expected his followers to fast after he had gone, so it is odd that this is not a widespread habit amongst all Christians. To answer this, we need to ask some background questions. How often did the first Jesus-followers fast? Was it an occasional thing, focused on specific events or causes? Or was it something more habitual and regular, an integral part of their devotional life? And what was its significance?”

How often should we fast? from Psephizo

‘Szybist clearly struggles with what the Annunciation means for her. It seems to simultaneously empower and bind contemporary women with the high standards that it sets. These contradictions, these wounds, rub against each other so intensely in this collection that they produce the incarnadine (calling forth both incarnation and bleeding) of the title.’

“You are She Who is Not”: Szybist’s Incarnadine from Ethika Politika

“O New Martyrs, through a malevolent force as old as Eden you now number among the ancient holy ones; keep us particularly in your prayers, as once again we are focused on the mysterious lands where humanity first came into being, and into knowing, and where all will finally be revealed. Pray that we may put aside all that is irrelevant to the moment and, looking forever to the East, prepare our spirits for the engagements into which we may be called, whether we live amid these places of ancient roads and portals, or in the most modern of dwellings.

Mary, the God-bearer, pray for us,

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us,

Saint John the Forerunner, pray for us,

All Holy Men and Women, pray for us.

Amen, Amen.”

Holy Martyrs Killed by ISIS pray for us from The Catholic Dormitory

‘”We Christians dare to look at our sinfulness only in the light of God. Repentance involves looking at myself through his eyes, with the goal of giving myself totally to him, step by step. It is a way of marveling at the greatness of God, which I can discover by admitting my smallness; it is a way of discovering God‘s infinite love for me, a sinner; it is the path to love-in-practice, as I learn to be as merciful to others as he is to me. In other words, repentance is not about self-improvement. It is about growth in God.”‘

Quoted on Repentance is the Daughter of Hope and the Refusal to Despair from Cosmos the in Lost  

‘We may not like the way that divine love calls us to accept death, but perhaps during this Lenten season we can practice the path that Christ’s love takes toward Good Friday. When we accept this necessary death, we may begin to learn with the grain of the universe. Balthasar, drawing on a metaphor that Jesus himself uses, notes that “the formative power of Christ lies in the formlessness of the grain of wheat that dies and wastes away in the hummus, the grain that rises again, not in its own form but in that of the stalk of wheat” (137). When we die to our selfish desires—whether for power or profit-margin—we can be raised in the form of Christ’s beauty. And then we will be attuned to the music of the spheres, ready to experience the joy of recognition when we glimpse the watermark of divine love in all creation.’

Balthasar Sandbox 5: Sacramental Education from Christ & University

‘We don’t seem to have much of a heart these days for seeing love as anything other than pure affirmation of another.  Loving another means not hurting their feelings, not telling them they are wronging someone else when they do, allowing them to hurt themselves because to confront them isn’t loving. The dangers of this love, which is love in name only, is that our being in community with one another demands we look out for others.’

Lenten Wisdom From the Desert Day 6 from And There Is Every Quest

‘”Our particular village was in a deep narrow valley with woods all round it and a rushing stream that grew louder as the night came on. Then comes the time when you have to strike a light (with difficulties) in order to read the maps: and when the match fizzles out, you realize for the first time how dark it really is: and as you go away, the village fixes itself in your mind – for enjoyment ten, twenty, or thirty years bend – as a place of impossible peace and dreaminess.”‘

C. S. Lewis quoted on Stories and Soliloquies

‘”Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself.'”

St Augustine quoted on Catholic Cravings

‘May Saint Polycarp intercede for us and give us the strength and courage to bear witness to the Faith in the face of opposition and persecution.’

ST. POLYCARP’S ENDURING LESSON from Word on Fire

I hope you enjoy! Let me know what articles or blog posts you’ve found interesting recently?

Sincerely yours,

David

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Fairy Tale Pedagogy, Part 1

An absolutely fantastic post from Christ and University.

Christ & University

Princess Irene follows her great-great grandmother's magic thread Princess Irene follows her great-great grandmother’s magic thread

Early this semester, three young women in my English 101 course asked me to come to their table during one of our weekly writing workshops.  “This doesn’t have anything to do with dependent clauses,” said one, a little bashfully, “but we were all talking, and we just think that you must be Belle from Beauty and the Beast!” I accepted their compliment with what I hope was professional grace, but secretly I was thrilled. For many women of my generation, Belle was one of the first pop culture figures to show that a love of reading, combined with love for one’s foolish family and monstrous neighbor, could make a little girl into a hero.
I spent the rest of the day wondering if fairy tales could help me learn to be a better teacher and scholar. After all, fairy tales inspired my…

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Bored by Joy: Fairy Tales as Appetisers for Beatitude: A Response to Matthew Moser

David Russell Mosley

Lent 5 April 2014 On the Edge of Elfland Beeston, Nottinghamshire Dear Friends and Family, Over at Christ and University, Matt Moser has written another post about teaching Dante to which I feel inclined to respond. Moser notes and laments that as he and his students (along with Dante) entered Paradise in the Commedia, the students found it boring. As Moser himself notes, this is somewhat to be expected. Even in the best translation, this is still a translation of sixteenth century Italian epic poem. Even the Paradiso is filled with political and contemporary (to Dante) commentary. This, however, was not the centre of their boredom, rather the happiness was. Moser goes on to relate his own acquisition of an appetite for joy which was kindled by a reading of The Lord of the Rings.

He remembers how he had to foster an appetite for joy just as he had to foster an appetite for classical music. Moser again asks the question of how do we do this for those we teach, how do we help them foster an appetite for joy? In my previous response to Moser’s challenges on teaching Dante, I suggested that living in such a way that shows our belief in a cosmos (unity, order, harmony, created). Today, I wonder if another possible answer, or first step is the reading of fairy-tales. Spending too much time talking about fairy-tales can make a person seem rather childish. But what was it Lewis said, when I became a man I ceased to think like a child, including the fear of being thought childish, or something to that effect. I want to suggest that perhaps beginning with fairy-tales and working towards heavier works like Dante might better train a student’s appetite for joy.

G. K. Chesterton writes in his book, Orthodoxy:

‘The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense’ (299).

For Chesterton, Fairy Tales taught him about this world, the fostered in him that desire for joy. For Lewis and Tolkien it was fairy tales coupled with the myths of the North, of the Scandinavian countries, the tales of Sigurd and Fafnir.These stories awakened a desire in these authors. This is the purpose of fairy-tales according to Tolkien: ‘Fairy-stories were plainly not primarily concerned with possibility, but with desirability. If they awakened desire, satisfying it while often whetting it unbearably, they succeeded’ (‘Tree and Leaf’, 63). This desire, Lewis would call Joy in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy. This would all suggest that to help our students or our children (or anyone for that matter) to gain a desire for joy, an appetite for beatitude, we should start them on the milk of fairy-tales before moving them onto the meat of works like the Commedia or even The Lord of the Rings Unlike Moser and many I know, I’ve spent my whole life reading stories like this. Tolkien was a part of my life from around the time I was born until now. Lewis I discovered in elementary school. I had resurgence of Tolkien when the films came out so long ago now and have never stopped reading The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings 2 or 3 times a year. Even now, I have begun reading The Hobbit, having already read ‘St George of Merrie England’ and Smith of Wooton Major to my unborn sons, hoping to infuse their lives with the sound of my voice and the majesty of Tolkien’s work. I don’t know how this will affect my children, but I know the effect it has had on me. Therefore I propose a return to fairy-tales. If in Tolkien’s day they had been relegated to the nursery, it seems as though in ours they have been relegated to the attic or the bin. Let’s fish them out, dust them off, and read them once again to prepare our desires for the greater works like that of Dante, and even more so for the Beatific Vision to come.   Sincerely yours, David Russell Mosley

Review of “Poetry” by David Constantine

Dear Friends and Family,
First, if you haven’t checked out the articles on Christ and University, make sure you do so. Second, here is a review I recently did for them. Let me know what you think.

Yours,
David

Christ & University

9780199698479Constantine, David. Poetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Reviewed by David Russell Mosley

Christ & University desires to emphasise the theological nature of education. Education seeks to help make women and men more like Christ through the various disciplines. The Literary Agenda series, begun by Oxford University Press, has a related goal in exhorting that closer attention be paid to the humanities in general and literature in particular. Poetry by David Constantine fits within the themes and desires of Christ & University, its call to return to reading and writing poetry as essential to society and as belonging to every person, not simply the elite few. Poetry is ultimately about human expression and formation. While not explicitly theological or Christ centred, this book serves as a reminder of the place of poetry within society and therefore within education, which is to make it implicitly about the conformation of the reader of…

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Theology, Ministry, Books, Education, and More: Blogs You Should Be Reading

David Russell Mosley

Festival of George Herbert
27 February 2014
On the Edge of Elfland
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Lately there have been some new (or at least relatively new to me) blogs and websites from my friends and colleagues across the world (primarily the US). So, I thought I would do a quick post to fill you in on these blogs you should be reading and give you a quick introduction. So here they are in no particular order:

Christ & University

This is a new website that is still getting its feet off the ground, so if you don’t find content behind every link on the page, don’t panic. Nevertheless, if you have any interest in education and Christianity, then you need to be reading this website. Posts are written a couple times a week by series of theologians, professors, Christians who have a heart for the academy, and particularly for seeing it done well. Some of its more recent posts include Manuduction, or Leading Students by the Hand, On the Challenges of Dante #1: Taking Goodness Seriously, and The Uni- in the University. It is definitely worth a spot in whatever feed reader you use.

Life on the Go
This is a blog about discipleship. It too is just getting off the ground, so there aren’t too many posts yet, but that just means less to get caught up on. Written by Peter Stevens, Pastor of Adult Connections and Missional Life at Westbrook Christian Church, this blog is a series of posts about to live life as Christians as well as occasional book reviews and reflections, thus far primarily about the subject of discipleship. Some of the most recent posts include: PEOPLE OF PEACE and PRESENT IN THE WORLDPeter is a good friend of mine and has excellent insights on this topic, so make sure you check it out. 

Collationes
 This is one of those blogs that’s simply new to me. Josh Brockaway and haven’t properly met but were introduced over a mutual love for John Cassian. Collationes is one of the Latin titles for Cassian’s Conferences, Twenty-Four conversations held with Egyptian Monks in the Early Church. However, Collationes is not a dry and waterless place, but deals with many contemporary issues as well. Brockaway is an Anabaptist and often writes on a variety of theological topics. Some of his more recent posts include: Is Neo-Anabaptism a White Dude Movement?Confessions of a Recovering Progressive, and Change without a Change.

A Musical Feast 
Written by a relatively new friend, though we’ve not met before, of mine and an old friend of my wife’s, A Musical Feast is a blog about, you guessed it, books. Samantha is studying religious music, I believe, at Duke and is, I’m told, quite the performer herself. She loves books as much as I do and spends much of her free time reading. She’s an excellent reviewer and can really get to the heart of why she either does or does not like a book. Some of her most recent posts include, Magic, animals, and intrigue: a batch of book reviewsPassager, and A Wizard of Earthsea.

COSMOS THE INLOST: CATHOLIC BACKWARDNESS
The final blog I want to feature today is one that in many ways probably doesn’t need it. Written by Artur Rosman, this blog has been featured or had its linked posted by so many others that my commendation here pales in comparison. Nevertheless, for those few who don’t read Artur’s blog, I definitely recommend it. Artur writes with cogency and authority on a variety of topics, including, poetry (particularly that of Czeslaw Milosz on whom Artur is writing his dissertation), Contemporary Roman Catholicism, imagination, theology, culture and more. Some of his more recent posts include, QUICK CATHOLIC CH-CH-CH CHANGES: POPE FRANCIS DOES A PHIL JENKINSWHAT MAKES LITERATURE CATHOLIC?, and THIS FRIDAY’S DOSE OF RABELAISIAN CATHOLICISM.

Well, these are not all the blogs I find interesting, nor, I’m sure are they all the new blogs I’ve come across, but they are the ones I’ve shared. Do you have a blog I should be reading? Do you know of other blogs or websites on the issues of theology, education, poetry, culture, or ministry? Let me know.

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley