If you can no longer come up with a word for an idea in your mind, soon you will no longer be able to think that idea. A shrinking vocabulary leads to a crippled imagination. Read glossaries. Beware of slogans, because they are a conscious assault on your ability to speak or think outside the prescribed cliches of your own movement's indoctrination (via their news sources, pulpits and podcasts). And that's on purpose. Learn words.
Freedom requires imagination.
Imagination requires thought.
Thought requires words.
This from Orwell's 1984:
"'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. ... Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. ... By 2050--earlier, probably--all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron--they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How can you have a slogan like 'freedom is slavery' when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. ... Zeal was not enough. Orthodoxy was unconsciousness."
"As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was noise tier in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck. ... Duckspeak."
Today, Duckspeak sounds like political slogans, religious cliches, intstant retweets, abbreviations (I C U, ur my bff - ttfn) and communication by emoticons. If that helps you text while driving, fine. But please ...
No, it's far worse than that. More dangerous than texting through an intersection. Duckspeak calls political propaganda "alternative facts," freedom of press an "enemy of the state," and so blurs the lines between comedy satire, "fake news" and government press conferences that we can only express our outrage as laughter and our resistance as mocking memes posted to our social-media echo chambers. I guess that's something. But please...
Paul Young’s bestseller finally hits the big screen on March 3. That’s news—great news—as I’ll explain shortly.
What’s not news is how the so-called ‘discernment ministries’ (a euphemism for heresy-hunters) have begun yelping. They’re recycling ‘ye olde’ objections but, typically, barking up the wrong tree.
The charge of ‘heresy’ is serious, so it ought to be taken seriously, especially by those wielding it. But as an Orthodox theologian, I confess that its sloppy use as a pejorative, grates on my doctrinal nerves.
For example, the outcry against Young’s creative portrayal of God’s ‘Threeness’ or his imaging the invisible God as a black woman betrays a crass literalism that the author obviously never intended.
RUBLEV’S TRINITY AND MODERN MISOGYNY
Russian painter Andrei Rublev’s famous icon of the Trinity (15th c.) would seem to break the same rules as The Shack, where Abram and Sarai’s three angelic guests were eventually identified with Father, Son and Holy Spirit—one God depicted as three persons. Yet in Eastern iconography, the Father is elsewhere never depicted because the visible image of God is reserved for Jesus Christ alone.
So how is it, I ask, that Rublev’s icon isn’t tossed onto the book-burning stacks along with The Shack? No doubt it would have been if Orthodox believers were incapable of using limited human expressions (words or pictures) for the divine mysteries.
Those who miss a point so obvious should recuse themselves from the doctrinal judgement seat and perhaps read John of Damascus’ Exact Exposition of Orthodox Doctrine before rendering further verdicts.
But isn’t it odd that we should have no such eruption when God is rendered in art or literature as a towering white King? Or a great roaring lion? Or a lowly shepherd? Yes, these are biblical metaphors (only) … as is Jesus’ parabolic description of God the woman, urgently scouring her home for the lost coin.
Review of Mystical Landscapes: From Vincent van Gogh to Emily Carr. Edited by Katharine Lochman with Roald Nasgaard & Bogomila Welsch-Ovcharov (New York: DelMonico Books, 2016).
Review by Ron Dart
There has been a regrettable tendency to falsely and naively assume the right wing of the Enlightenment project (with its excessive focus on the empirical, rationalistic, scientistic and secular ideology) defines the modern ethos. Such an approach negates the ongoing interest in spirituality, religion and a contemplative way of knowing and being that have played a significant role in the romantic and humanist commitments of the Enlightenment. The sheer beauty and bounty of Mystical Landscapes: From Vincent van Gogh to Emily Carr is the way this visual and literary text amply illustrates how many of the finest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries expressed their spiritual longings on canvass as they drew inspiration and deeper insight from the vast landscape of Nature.
The intricate and delicate interplay in this packed tome between multiple essays and classical paintings drawn, mostly, from the European and North American context make for a comprehensive read and visual tour. The fact that Evelyn Underhill is often cited as a guiding visionary of the mystical grounds Mystical Landscapes in a solid and sustained manner. The equally important fact that the paintings included in the text were housed at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from late autumn 2016 into the early months of 2017 make this collection an unusual and rare coup of sorts for the AGO.
The wide ranging nature of the topics included in the essays, the depth explored, at both a theoretical and applied level and the constant return to the actual paintings makes Mystical Landscapes an evocative and illuminating read---the sheer synthesis is amply admirable. It might have been valuable, by way of conclusion, to draw in more of the Canadian mountain painters beyond the Group of Seven and Emily Carr (such as Peter/Catherine Whyte---Whyte Museum in Baff) and ponder how Underhill’s journey from her earlier Mysticism (1911) to her more mature Worship (1936) might redefine the relationship between mysticism and landscapes, spirituality and nature but these are minor quibbles.
There can be no doubt that Mystical Landscapes: From Vincent van Gogh to Emily Carr is a pioneering book of the highest quality and, as such, presents, through the eyes and souls of artists and writers, a more nuanced and balanced notion and understanding of the modern enlightenment ethos. Do meditatively read and inwardly digest this beauty---soul, mind and imagination will never be the same.
Note: The rise of Donald Trump to the presidency has been accompanied by a flurry of prophetic pronouncements, describing him as God's 'Cyrus Candidate," who has the "Breaker Anointing" -- God's "Trumpet" to lead America to triumph. These alleged prophecies condemn opponents of Trump as dupes of the "Principalities" ruled by a "Jezebel spirit" and the "Crocodile media." The linked video is illustrative of this trend in American Charismatic Christendom. This article below is Pastor Brian Zahnd's response:
Most of these people cannot be saved. You know what I mean. They've gone inch by inch into the tar pit of empire worship until they're in up to their necks. There's just no way out. A Damascus Road moment maybe; but few will have such an experience.
It's a great tragedy that has fallen upon the American evangelical/charismatic church. The handwriting is on the wall. It's the "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" moment in American conservative Christianity.
There are really only two sins: idolatry (the rejection of the great command) and injustice (the rejection of the second command). Injustice springs from idolatry. When we worship an idol, we are formed in the ways of injustice. And injustice always carries the seeds of eventual self-destruction...even in an empire. Or especially in an empire! The Bible calls this the judgment of God. John the Beloved said, "Children, beware of idols," because idolatry always has dire consequences.
For all their talk about Jesus, God, the Bible, most American evangelicals are so infected with the idolatry of empire that they're incapable of discernment or repentance. Younger people, yes. People of color, yes. But many older white conservative Christians have tied their faith to their flag in a Gordian Knot. The sword of the spirit could cut the knot, but their teachers (Falwell, Graham, Dobson, Hagee, Copeland, White, et. al.) (mis)used the Scriptures to tie the knot! It's nearly a hopeless situation.
Still we preach. Those with ears will hear. And if they can hear, they can liberate their faith from the Babylonian captivity of nationalism, discovering, perhaps for the first time, the city that John saw. Once we really perceive the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, the peaceable kingdom of Christ, it's not that hard to sell our patriotic idols to obtain the pearl of great price.
I looked back at the dark bedroom, signs of our struggle were all around. The dislodged lampshade, the Venetian window blinds fanning back into the room bent at odd angles, and his half naked body. The large man with trimmed beard and dark short spiked hair, now matted with blood was slumped diagonally across the bed. His gorilla chest was slowly lifting and falling, there was a smear of blood on the pillow where the half empty bottle of bourbon had struck its mark. He wouldn't be out for long. I'd already given up on hopes of finding my passport, but I'd finally learnt where he kept the key for the bedroom, my prison. I groped around under the bed, it was in his sock. The sock needed darning. The thought of my concern for his welfare surprised me, but didn't deter me. I used my body to muffle the click of the turning key. The door opened noiselessly, I had oiled the hinges with lube from the bathroom the day before. As the door opened I hadn't anticipated it would get caught on the doormat, the mat slid with the door making a loud shush noise which startled me, I heard him groan. The fingers of his right hand awoke as spider legs slowly creeping along the bedsheets searching for my warm body. I froze, then exhaled slowly as his fingers fell limp, as he again drifted into unconsciousness.
I had run out on him, and vowed to never return. The icy air of the corridor slapped my body hard leaving goose pimples. My blood stained satin nightdress was my only protection. My bare foot trod in a puddle of warm piss, that's when I noticed the bedroom opposite to mine was ajar, the other man had just relieved himself, if I'd emerged a moment earlier I would have been detected.
I forced my stubborn body to walk past the sound of rape, coming from the opposite bedroom. Tears burned my cheeks, my mouth tightened, I had to be resolute, if I could get to the shelter I could help her, maybe I could help the other woman escape too. A year ago when I was still allowed a phone to make arrangements with my clients, one of his old girls who'd got away had texted me an address where I could get help. He had found the message and confiscated my phone but he couldn't erase my memory. I'd be back for her, once I got to the shelter, you see she was my younger sister once, in another life.
I close the door and leave him in there, in his sanctuary.
Why on earth one man needs four garden sheds is beyond me.
Of course, this one is his favourite, it's the wood shed, with the tools and all the bits and pieces hung up or in jars or old margarine tubs. He didn't used to keep things this organised, but in recent years he has. A lot has changed in recent years.
I walk back up the garden towards the house. Not that you could really call it a garden, there's not a blade of grass, just a concrete floor. Not that you can see the floor with all of his contraptions and 'bright ideas' cluttering the space.
As I walk past my herb pots, I pick some parsley for our tea. Fish with parsley sauce. My daughter hates my parsley sauce. She doesn't seem to like much that I do. As I've always said, I tried my best and isn't that all that matters. She doesn't agree. She says my best doesn't count for much when she's spent years in therapy trying to recover from the problems of her childhood. But we took her on trips to the zoo and the beach and I loved her very much. Too much she would say. I didn't know you could love someone too much. She says it was a suffocating, stifling, strangling version of love. She overthinks things. It's best not to dwell on these things. That's in the past, I don't see why we can't be friends now. She doesn't like me calling 'too often' as she calls it. Isn't it my right to call her when I want, I gave birth to her after all.