So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

T.S. Eliot, excerpt from “East Coker”

Can it really be the inner end, meaning and basis of my Christian existence, and therefore the goal and end of the ways and words of God to me, that I should be blessed, that my soul should be saved, that I should participate in all the gifts of reconciliation, that my life should be one of reception, possession, use and enjoyment of these gifts, that I should finally attain to eternal bliss, that I should not go to hell but to heaven, and that each of the few or many others who might accompany me should also know the extraordinary exaltation of his human existence mediated in the benefits of Christ, and therefore the satisfaction of his deepest needs and fulfillment of his most lofty and necessary desires? Does not this wholly possessive being seem to smack of sanctioning and cultivating of an egocentricity which is only too human for all it’s sanctity, of a self-seeking which in the light of what is at stake renders every other form of self-seeking quite innocuous?

Karl Barth CD IV.3.2

joshualongbrake:

Notes

Los Angeles is a low city. The people are intentionally bigger than the buildings. They must be, by their own desire. They came there from everywhere to be big, or high, or seen. Others came for work, for possibility. They sprawl out, with an apparent refusal to live on top of each other in skyscrapers like the ones in New York or Tokyo. Not here. They are individuals and they will not be underneath anyone else. Unless, of course, they live in the hills above the city. This is not only acceptable, but desirable. The Hollywood Hills are a sort of utopia.

The palm trees are the eyes, looking down and observing, monuments of an oasis in the dessert. I want to see what they see, unobstructed, unbiased.

The smog above the city is its hovering polarities, the love and hate of body, of culture, of gender and environment. Why would you want to live there? says everyone living everywhere else. Why would you want to live there? says the citizens of LA about Des Moines or Butte or Boise or Seattle.

Heads up, back down. You walk into a cafe or bar and watch the heads come up from the computers, the (anti)social networks, to see who you are. Once they see that you are no one, back down. Low city.

If you live there, you must have a strong sense of self to survive. Everywhere the message is that you could be important, you could be valuable, but you most likely are not. Keep trying, though. This is a place of possibility! And it really is. So much is possible.

I went to a church there, a modern evangelical church, and the screaming desire of the people was to find worth. The songs were all themed on asking God to give worth and value and healing and hope. The sermon was about our potential because of God. Very self-centric, and I place no right or wrong on it; I’m simply stating the obvious. It was not about who God is or might be, but who we are because of God. I was not expecting it, but there it was, everywhere.

joshualongbrake:

Notes
Los Angeles is a low city. The people are intentionally bigger than the buildings. They must be, by their own desire. They came there from everywhere to be big, or high, or seen. Others came for work, for possibility. They sprawl out, with an apparent refusal to live on top of each other in skyscrapers like the ones in New York or Tokyo. Not here. They are individuals and they will not be underneath anyone else. Unless, of course, they live in the hills above the city. This is not only acceptable, but desirable. The Hollywood Hills are a sort of utopia.
The palm trees are the eyes, looking down and observing, monuments of an oasis in the dessert. I want to see what they see, unobstructed, unbiased.
The smog above the city is its hovering polarities, the love and hate of body, of culture, of gender and environment. Why would you want to live there? says everyone living everywhere else. Why would you want to live there? says the citizens of LA about Des Moines or Butte or Boise or Seattle.
Heads up, back down. You walk into a cafe or bar and watch the heads come up from the computers, the (anti)social networks, to see who you are. Once they see that you are no one, back down. Low city.
If you live there, you must have a strong sense of self to survive. Everywhere the message is that you could be important, you could be valuable, but you most likely are not. Keep trying, though. This is a place of possibility! And it really is. So much is possible.
I went to a church there, a modern evangelical church, and the screaming desire of the people was to find worth. The songs were all themed on asking God to give worth and value and healing and hope. The sermon was about our potential because of God. Very self-centric, and I place no right or wrong on it; I’m simply stating the obvious. It was not about who God is or might be, but who we are because of God. I was not expecting it, but there it was, everywhere. High-res

He is the light of the world. It is not merely that he can or should be. He has not yet to become it somewhere as conditioned by human achievements. He is the light of the world. And therefore to be man is always to stand already, even if with closed or blind eyes, in this light, the light of life.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV.3.2, 487

The heart of the object of Christian faith is the word of the act in which God from all eternity willed to become man in Jesus Christ for our good, did become man in time for our good, and will be and remain in eternity for our good. This work of the Son of God includes in itself the work of the Father as its presupposition and the work of the Holy Spirit as its consequence.

Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline

If I meet you at a party, I hope you’ll ask me for free marketing advice. I’m always amazed that people are willing to listen to what I have to say and I’m happy to share. The act of giving the gift is worth more to me than it may be to you to receive.

Seth Godin, Linchpin


Give more away. If Jesus was right and the paradox is true, the more one gives the more one receives anyway.

When a child first catches adults out - when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just - his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden