• One of the most brilliant aspects of The Faerie Queene also makes this work inaccessible to most modern readers. For approximately 35,000 lines, Spenser writes in verse (tight poetic form).

    Because I’m a r […]

  • It’s mid-July and unusually hot for Oxford. Sweat rolls down your spine, and your feet are on fire. Half a block down, you see an indie bookshop. No air conditioning, but they have a basement.

    Eighteen s […]

    • Yes! The Faerie Queene is one of my all-time favorites. I’m mighty glad you’re doing this. And transposition…I’m so glad you hit on that word instead of “translation.” I was worried about that.

    • This makes me excited. Especially because my favorite young weirdo will be right in that sweet spot when it’s finished.

    • I’m in! Sounds like an epic worth reading!

    • I’ve loved The Faerie Queene since discovering it in college so many moons ago. But I confess to feeling a little bit miffed that I can’t get away with sneaking into The Order of the Red Cross…

  • The weird thing is, I’ve never liked U2. From the few short clips I’d seen, Bono seemed arrogant and intentionally obtuse. Pictures of U2 concerts felt too big and too flashy to be sincere. I didn’t like how u […]

    • Whew. This really spoke to me this morning. Thanks for these thoughts; I’ve has a similar journey with Bono.

    • I was a U2 from 1999 to 2015 – probably to an unhealthy level. I studied the music, analyzed the lyrics, found the touchstones of those lyrics in Scripture, memorized The Edge’s gear settings (down to how many milleseconds of delay for most of their songs – Streets? 354. Bad? About 437 for the main delay – there’s a second in series . . . and on and on . . .). I loved going to their shows, and I attended them all over the U.S: Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Nashville, Had tickets to Hawaii before Edge’s daughter got sick and they cancelled). I bought the books on Bono’s faith . . . I collected pastors’ sermon notes that incorporated U2’s lyrics. I did it all, even though I didn’t always agree with the more pronounced of U2’s political views.

      Then, in 2015, while at one of their Chicago shows at the United Center. That all came to a a screeching halt.

      Instead of U2 bending toward using their music to echo the Gospel (if not directly preach it), they took a huge negative turn and decided to trade truth for “love” (or, rather, what they perceived “love” to be). Right there, in the middle of the concert during “Pride” (a song that depicts Christ’s persecution and resurrection through the lyrics “One Man caught on a barbed wire fence / One Man he resist/ one man washed up on an empty beach/ one man betrayed with a kiss”) , Bono took a rainbow flag from someone in the crowd, wrapped himself in it, and declared to the audience “Gay Pride In the Name of Love”. Then, at the end of ‘Beautiful Day’, he pontificated that “[Ireland] did something very important . . . more people turned out to vote for marriage (sic) equality than turned out for anything before . . . This song goes out to . . . two beautiful girls who made their vows here in Chicago . . . this is for you.” He then went on to declare that if love wasn’t equal for all kinds of relationships, it wasn’t actually love.

      It broke my heart. Corruptio Optima Pessima.

    • @Rockne,

      Thanks for the comment. That’s a fair protest. But we can also disagree with Bono (and anyone else) on any number of things and still appreciate and laud them when they tell the truth well. Bono loves Christ and we agree on much more than we may disagree. That’s what we’re choosing to focus on here.

    • I’m a little late to this conversation, but I just came across this 8 minute clip from NPR’s American Anthem series, where they take an iconic American song and analyze it, along with its social and cultural impact on the country: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/743620996/u2-i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for-american-anthem.

  • I wrote this post before starting to read Mark Meynell’s book A Wilderness of Mirrors. Now I wish I had another six months to process what I’m learning so that I could integrate his wisdom here. After reading his […]

    • You just explained deconstructionism, recent evangelical history, and Ephesians 3 in a clear, helpful, and entertaining fashion – using Zelda. I formally invite you to write more books.

  • I remember what it was like to want a baby.

    I remember how it felt to walk through the grocery store
    watching others dispose so recklessly
    of everything I ached to be.

    I remember mothers
    (or so-called […]

    • I have blessed with two little boys who call me “Mommy.” But this year on Mother’s Day, I thought about all of my students (I work with struggling readers in middle school) and the ways I have mothered them, long before I held a baby. This year I got a note from a girl thanking me for being “the mother she never had.” And it reminded me that I am accountable as a mother to so many, not just two little boys.

    • 😭😭😭
      This is beautiful.

  • If you haven’t seen Endgame, stop reading now. I’ll try not to post any spoilers until I get a few paragraphs deep, but I am eventually going to drop a few. Consider yourselves forewarned.

    So, I loved End […]

    • My goodness. Thank you, RR.

    • RR, by which I mean, “Rebecca Reynolds.” And, come to think of it, “The Rabbit Room,” too.

    • Saying “well said” is a massive understatement. Thank you for pointing out how we as a human race elevate our virtue as an end in and of itself, but God is still on the throne and He alone is worthy. Thanos of the story doesn’t represent our Lord, but is more of a representation of our own self righteousness paired with power.

    • I have chills. And I feel like I just read holy ground, if such a thing is possible. Thank you for writing and sharing this, Rebecca!

    • When you called Shazam one of your all time favorite superhero movies, I almost stopped reading! But I’m so glad I knew you well enough to read on.
      Thank you for diving deeper and being unsatisfied with less. Keep sharing! You are doing better and better at capturing the deep. For those of us who sense it but cannot put words to it, you are a great blessing.

    • Oh. I want to print out a stack of this and hand it out to everyone leaving a showing of Endgame. That a movie based on comic books can call forth something like this, I will be forever grateful.

    • “…who spread a glove full of Infinity stones wide and allowed humanity drive a hard stake right through it.” That is the crux. Well put. Much the same point as is fleshed out in “The Long Silence.”

    • My goodness, how did you put that so clearly?! Yes, yes, yes. Yes. God is the power of Thanos (only more) and the heart of the Avengers (only better). Thank you a lot.

  • Jonathan Rogers was one of my favorite writers long before I received his writing help through an early online class. When looking for a coach for Courage Dear Heart, I knew he would be clear and solid. I’m so t […]

    • Really excellent post, thank you. While I don’t necessarily consider myself a writer, I read The Habit every week and love the grace, wit, and gentle instruction that is reflected in every word.
      And I’m just waiting for a book all about alligators.

    • the first comment was posted an hour into the future. at least for me… spooky… great post, love jonathan rogers. not very many authors talk about the importance of correct grammar they kind of just expect other writers to have it. not him. can’t wait to see what he has for us..
      but I will probably just check out the free stuff. I’m not in the whole full time job thing yet.

    • That’s a wonderful interview, thanks to BOTH heartbreakingly-brilliant writers. It goes a long way to showing why we all politely ignore the alligator thing: Jonathan is just giving so much of himself to the writing community. (Peter Bannister, though…I’ll have to pray through that one.)
      I would encourage anyone to come join us at the stately pleasure-dome. The caverns of knowledge aren’t quite measureless but are already extensive, and Jonathan’s tirelessly adding to them.

    • Aaron Roughton is a proud Three Percenter.

    • Who’s there?

    • Loved this interview! I have gotten so much from The Habit and now Field Notes. Both feel like real gift. Grateful for Jonathan’s generosity!

  • I grew up in a home with scientists, so when a parent would ask me to run and get a container of Cool Whip out of the chest freezer, finding the right tub would usually take three or four tries. I might find owl […]

  • I was fourteen, walking into the gym for my first day of high school summer basketball camp. Switching from a small, Catholic middle school to a huge county high school was terrifying, so the night before I had […]

    • “Mass felt like wandering into Lothlorien…”

      Having grown up with the Roman Catholic liturgy, that’s the very thing I miss after two decades of “contemporary” worship in Protestant churches.

    • Beautiful.

    • I read this last night and before I even had a chance to process it, I fell back on my bed and thought, “God, thank you for Rebecca Reynolds.” All three parts of “You Holy Fools” have held so much meaning for me and everyone I’ve shared them with.

    • When I finished reading this last night, the first thing I did was fall back on my bed and think, “God, thank you for Rebecca Reynolds.” The “You Holy Fools” essays have held so much meaning for me and everyone I’ve shared them with.

    • I’m so encouraged! You put words to thoughts that have been in my head for years. Thank you.

  • You know, the first time I read your writing, I thought, “Who is this magical person?” I didn’t know there was such a thing as a real, live Jennifer Trafton out in the world.

    After the insanity of the past few months, I find this post as healing as Lucy’s cordial. I could read it twenty times and come more and more alive, more and more awake…[Read more]

  • “Priest” sorry. Typing in a closet and hurrying. Haven’t had the chance to read everybody else’s thoughts yet, but I will soon. And I might be wrong, this is just how the film struck me.

  • I thought the most beautiful example of redemption in the film was through the figure of Kichijiro.

     

    When I think about Japanese culture and its value on honor, I am stunned that Scorsese (Endo?) chose a character defined by shame and cowardice to be the primary vehicle for communicating resurrection.

     

    At the beginning of the film,…[Read more]

  • [From “Gifts of and for the Church” @ Hutchmoot 2016.]

    As Heidi and I began to talk about how we might split up this session on exploring God’s resources for the body, I found myself drawn to a topic that […]

    • Oh, Rebecca. Every word of this resounds in me. I’m so glad that you wrote this, and that you were given a platform from which to share it with others. Bless you, friend.

    • Crying over the passage about suffering feeling like foolishness, about how it opens the door to all the messages of hell. And I’m so grateful for the “full circle,” as you describe it. It’s what makes the folks in this community so appealing, I think. Their talent is dazzling, but it’s their suffering that draws us in, that welcomes us.

       

    • This talk and Heidi’s at Hutchmoot were wonderful.

      I’m glad you make the point that God doesn’t inflict suffering. He has allowed a certain amount of choice to his creation, and the choices of spirits and other people, and our own, make up a good deal of the suffering life brings us.

      I believe at root God is teaching us first of all his complete, utter love for us, no matter what our choices have been. And secondly, our need to depend on that love, and to see his powerful love in us as the means to love others, even enemies; this power begins to be completed in us when we begin to know our total weakness and inability to love God and love our neighbor. To learn dependence when we feel so independent, and think so independently, means we must be broken of the ideas of independent self-effort. An independent person living “the Christian life” may succeed in working in a soup kitchen, helping others, raising a good family, and doing lots of other good works, but all of this is ultimately in service and to the worship of his own independent self, and the result of success is self-congratulating pride – which is sin.

      A person who has been broken of the idea of their own independent ability to “be like Christ,” who instead trusts in the power of the actual, real Christ flowing through her to others, will not be proud having done something good; the result of success through dependence is gratefulness.

      To get from independence to dependence requires suffering, because suffering means things we don’t want to happen to us, and dislike, do happen.

      My journey toward dependence on God began with a simple Tozer prayer: “Lord, work your will in my life, no matter what the cost.” I’m not always sure, when I get to Heaven, if I am going to punch Tozer in the nose or hug him in a bear hug. I may hug him and then booby-trap his heavenly house with buckets of ice water on top of every door. My life was going quite according to my own perfect plan before I prayed his prayer. But the fruit of my plan would have been a life lived according to my designs – not eternal ones, but temporal – and much eternal good may have been lost as a result.

      Suffering – the occurrence of circumstances I dislike and which hinder my own designs for my life, breaking my sense of being independent – has been the road to eternal recovery. We are dependent selves, dependent on God for every breath, every bite of food, every drink of water, every good thought, every joy, every pleasure, every virtue, every strength – and every bit of suffering he allows our way to get us to dependence.

    • This was such a terrific message, given at such a needful time.  Thank you for your faithfulness in creating it.

  • Rebecca Reynolds replied to the topic in the forum Rebecca Reynolds 5 years, 9 months ago

    I love this topic so much, I might have to give two answers. My first would involve one of those windy, overcast days at the beach in October with the perfect woven cotton blanket over my shoulders (that Leah Phillippi has made in sea glass blues, a few deep lavenders, a scattered peach, and some medium and light greens). It’s rained for the past…[Read more]

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