Saturday, December 27, 2003

Book log: Making Christ's Peace a Part of Your Life by Dietrich von Hildebrand

This has been the first of Dietrich Von Hildebrand's books that I have been able to complete. (Probably this is because it is actually an excerpt from his book Transformation in Christ.) It is an extremely challenging work analyzing the peace that comes from Jesus. Von Hildebrand discusses what it is (and is not), how we can get it and how we can lose it. He also spends considerable time discussing why it is important and the consequences both of finding and losing it.

Short Review: Read it. Very, very good.

Some insights:

  • Distinguishing between true peace and simple absence of conflict:
    The absence of all inward unrest is by no means invariably a good. It is a good on the condition only that it comes from a harmony with objective good and expresses a response to Truth. Sated contentment or a peace of mind due to thoughtlessness or illusion, is not a good but an evil - no matter how pleasant it may subjectively feel. [pg. 35]

  • Evaluating our emotional reactions to things that happen to us:

    First of all, the attitude must match the goodness or badness of the thing to which it is reacting. If we are sad at a friend's good fortune, or take joy at someone else's pain, then our attitudes are wrong.

    Secondly, the intensity of the attitude must match the objective importance of things to which it is reacting. Do we get more excited about a football game than someone coming to know the Lord?

  • Most importantly: True peace can come only to those who surrender to God:
    The nagging unrest of him who doubts and of him who writhes in the fetters of sin, the most deeply painful experience of unrest will dissolve as soon as he achieves an unequivocal surrender to God: peace will come to man when he lets himself fall into the arms of God... [pg. 43]

There is much more that I'd like to write, but I must be off. May the peace of Christ be with you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Night Before Christmas

Well, it is the Night Before Christmas. I was planning on writing about a professor of religion speaking on NPR today, but at 1:06AM I just don't have the energy. We have gotten all of the kids down, we have the presents wrapped, and we are all eager for the morrow. Unfortunately, the morning will arrive for my children at the crack of dawn, so I best get to bed.

It was the usual struggle this year. It is so easy to get swept up in the flurry of preparation, and lose sight of the fact that this is a celebration of Christ's birth!. So, let's end this with a word of thanks to Jesus, the Word made flesh, who clothed Himself in our humanity to save us, and let us be with Him forever. Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, December 13, 2003

We have had a bunch of colds sweep through our family. Poor Denise is still in a fairly bad way, but the rest of us are on the mend. Davey managed to fall and cut his lip pretty badly a couple of days ago. It required a trip to the dentist and doctor, but he was spared any stiches. We've seen indications from others that we can expect more of the same from our boys.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Complaining as an Art Form

The other night my youngest daughter, Amanda (who will turn six in a few weeks) discovered that I had committed a most insidious and vile act: I had brought home a pizza from Papa Murphy's that was contaminated with both mushrooms and tomatoes! The poor little thing was completely distraught. She cried and wailed. She explained to me repeatedly that she hates mushrooms and that she hates tomatoes and that she was really expecting a plain pizza with pepperoni, not sausage like this one had. (In her defense, she was tired and getting over a cold. She is prone to emotional outbursts, but this was quite a bit more severe than usual.)

This went on for about 20 minutes until her hunger started to get the better of her upsetness. She was still whimpering and muttering as she finally sat down at table and started to eat. During her travailing the rest of the family had started eating. There were only two pieces left besides the one that had been sitting on Amanda's plate.

As she ate, Amanda continued to mutter and occasionally complain as she removed bits of mushroom and tomato. Then, without the slightest pause, she cried, "Hey! You didn't save me any more pizza!" and started to cry about the fact that there was only one extra piece for her besides the one on her plate.

Some nights, you just gotta complain.