May 2009 Archives

Sam and Beethoven's Fifth


Sam is in seven dance classes this year. In one of them (ballet) he is dancing to Beethoven's Fifth symphony, the first part of the first movement. Don't ask me how the teachers come up with this stuff.

Recently I was away for several days on a business trip to Evanston. When I left, I heard him toying with the piano and sort of plinking out the beginning of the fifth symphony. Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go to the store, he went to practice piano.

He sat down, and not only did he play the 5th, he played it with arpeggio's, ornamentations and his own additional little pieces. Now, I realize that this is akin to rewriting Shakespeare--I do understand that there's something to the complaint that might come from that. But as far as I'm concerned, I have never seen anything like it and if he wants to go on to rewrite the entire classical canon, I'm going to be right there behind him cheering on.

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Long Time Without Writing


Way too much happening and I lost my link at work because of a computer calamity, so I can't break away. Also too much time on facebook for no particularly good purpose except to discover.

More soon, my apologies.

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Not so much a book length work as an extended sermon or meditation on the parable of the Prodigal Son, Rev. Keller uses the parable to get deep inside the operational definition of Christianity and to diagnose what is wrong with how the faith is practiced. He takes the interesting track of examining the parable with the elder son as the focus. While not denying traditional explications of the parable, Rev. Keller fleshes out an alternative understanding that shows how Jesus was speaking of two ways of "missing the mark." More significantly, Jesus shows us that one son is restored, but the elder son chooses to remain apart at the end of the parable--driven away from God by expectations of controlling Him.

Rev. Keller points out that among those who are faithful there are many reasons for the faith, not the least of which is, "What can I get out of it?" That is, many are faithful because of the promise of the inheritance, not because they truly love and worship God. These are the modern representatives of the elder Son, driven to distraction by the thought that God will redeem whomever He chooses and invite back into the fold those who have led dissolute lives. These are the Christians who want to draw lines between "us and them." Those who have faithfully followed the path their entire lives, and those "line-jumpers" who nevertheless manage to engage God's compassion and saving love. These "righteously angry" are not angry for the sake of righteousness, but angry because they live not in faith but in fear and expectation.

The explication of the parable explains a great deal that one can see in the Church and in Churches throughout the world today. The anger, the self-righteousness, the bitterness, and the soullessness. If we cannot join the party that welcomes the prodigal back, then we live in constant misery--desiring to control God and command God to meet our expectations. Faithful, not out of love, but out of fear (God will get me if I am not) or out of expectation (if I'm faithful, I'll get something good at the end and maybe before.)

I do a poor job of presenting the thesis. Encounter Rev. Keller's words yourself and decide. I found the book fascinating and convincing and perhaps even a little convicting. Highly recommended.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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