|Via Not Pulp Covers|
Go listen to the whole thing.
|Via Not Pulp Covers|
Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.Let's face it, this is why Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule resonates. Most of us are not geniuses or inherently talented like Mozart. We've got to be persistent to get where we want to go. It's also why a lot of cultures traditionally venerate the elderly. They've put in their 10,000 hours. They might have some wisdom or skills to pass on.
Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven, (God the Father)
Light of sun, (God the Son)
Radiance of moon, (Our Blessed Lady)
Splendor of fire, (God the Holy Ghost)
Speed of lightning, (Saint Michael)
Swiftness of wind, (Saint Gabriel)
Depth of sea, (Saint John the Baptist)
Stability of earth, (Saint Joseph)
Firmness of rock. (Saint Peter)
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and all evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise.
Christ in the heart and mind of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me or to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me or my works,
Christ in every ear that hears me or hears of me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.
(The full text of what has come to be known as St. Patrick's Breast Plate. While it's not known for sure, ancient tradition has ascribed the prayer to Patrick himself. This is an older translation.)
|Boy by the Water, Paul Gauguin, 1885|
Be not disturbed that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.This is so spot-on that I have a feeling it is in more than one of my quote journals. And that's probably a good thing. There is always that temptation to point the finger at others when what we should be doing is turning a mirror upon ourselves. This quote reminds me so perfectly and simply.
Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
When the full light of the morning came no signs of the wolves were to be found, and they looked in vain for the bodies of the dead. No trace of the fight remained but the charred trees and the arrows of Legolas lying on the hill-top. All were undamaged save one of which only the point was left.I've been thinking of Tolkien coming up with all this fantasy, which was a really new thing for its time, in terms of story, structure, and complexity. For some reason I was particularly pondering it deeply, thinking of how in the world he came up with it all, when I read the above paragraph.
Eight out of ten letters about Cross Creek ask for a recipe, or pass on a recipe, or speak of suffering over my chat of Cross Creek dishes.Yes, it is the company that makes the meal come alive. Rawlings wrote this in 1949 so it is unsurprising she was getting so many letters about food, many of them from soldiers overseas. However, it inevitably calls to mind Proverbs 15:17, which takes it one step further "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."
"Bless us," I thought, "the world must be hungry."
And so it is. Hungry for food an drink — not so much for the mouth as for the mind; not for the stomach but for the spirit.
... Food imaginatively and lovingly prepared, and eaten in good company, warms the being with something more than the mere intake of calories.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek Cookery
Title: Shinshin chinka Kattoru = Cuttlefish [Cuttlefish] 新進珍菓カットルThis is via BibliOdyssey which has a big selection of Taishô Posters to peruse. It was a tossup between this and one with several Japanese maidens dreaming of a steamship.
Description: A cuttlefish. "Cuttle" or "Cuttle Fish" (a snack), Chishima-ya Shoten (千島屋商店).
Subject (Company): Snack foods
taken by Remo Savisaar
Good art often seems to us mysterious because it resists the easy patterns of the fantasy, whereas there is nothing mysterious about the forms of bad art since they are the recognizable and familiar rat-runs of selfish day-dream. Good art shows us how difficult it is to be objective by showing us how differently the world looks to an objective vision.Many thanks to reader of this blog, Tom, who sent this quote because of the art featured here. I like it because it seems to encapsulate the mysterious draw of pieces that I keep coming back to again and again. I know not why. They just draw me. And that is the link with the mysterious which Murdoch points out. It is also that link with the Divine which continually draws us through myriad sources to which we are attracted, though we may know not why.
If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?I'm so guilty of this. I continually am struggling with being irritated by every rub. This simple saying has been good for keeping me a bit more mindful ... and going with the flow better.
|Vincent van Gogh, Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries, 1888, watercolor, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia|
via Arts Everyday Living
Pedantic point: I hate the term “fall into the public domain”. Things don’t “fall into” the public domain, like carelessly-held cellphones into a pool. They are released from the shackles of copyright, set free from their state-mandated bondage. They soar among the public imagination. The public domain is the natural home of all ideas and concepts, it is their ancestral homeland to which they return triumphant from exile.Yep. Don't get me started. Basic copyright is reasonable but the extent it has been extended to, especially for older materials, is completely frustrating to anyone who podcasts. As I do.
|Paul Cornoyer (1864–1923), Studio at East Gloucester|
On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on.What a shocker! I suspected the murderer but not the ending Asimov gave us. Wow.
Sincere sorrow for sin does not necessarily require having to feel sorry. Just like love, sorrow is an act of the will, not a feeling. And in the same way as one can love God deeply without any emotional reaction, one can also be truly sorry for sin without experiencing anything sentimental. Real sorrow is seen principally in the way one unhesitatingly avoids all occasions of offending God and is ready to do specific acts of penance for any infidelities committed.I know this. It's just that I catch myself falling into the familiar, popular shallow thinking of our times. That one must have an emotional reaction for a feeling to be sincere. Once I figure it out then it is a great relief to remember I can be sincere without kicking myself for not feeling.
|Briton Riviere, Sympathy, c. 1878|
via Arts Everyday Living
Those people who claim to approach Christ whilst leaving his Church to one side, and even causing her harm, may one day get the same surprise as Saint Paul did when he was on his way to Damascus: I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. And, the Venerable Bede reflects that He does not say 'why are you persecuting my members,but why are you persecuting me?' For He is still affronted in his Body, which is the Church." Paul did not know until that moment that to persecute the Church was to persecute Jesus himself.It's kind of interesting that people know well Paul got his comeuppance by persecuting Christ's church, and yet they themselves will go right ahead and do that same thing. People within the Catholic Church do so as well as those outside of it.
"For the sake of my soul and for the sake of the soul of India, answer me: if God became incarnate on earth and suffered for all men, be they Brahmans or Sudras or any other caste, then is final salvation possible for a man even if he has not achieved perfection by himself?"I had thought of the example of Jesus telling the "thief" on the cross that he would be with him in paradise that day, but not of the larger answer to the reincarnation question. God fulfills the lack in man so that we don't have to do it all by ourselves. And what a relief that is.
"No man can achieve perfection by himself," said Francis gently. "But by cooperating with Our Lord and on the strength of Our Lord's death on the Cross a man will be acceptable to God."
"If he can do that, there is no need for him to be reborn on earth,"" said Ramigal slowly.
Do you remember the first talk we had, in Tiruchendar, when I mentioned reincarnation, and you taught me that by the Grace of God all could be achieved a single life? Now that I am Father Pedro, I can see so clearly that more than one incarnation can be compressed into a single life. In a sense, a new life started for me when I joined an ancient and wise man high up in the North. But in baptism I was truly reborn from water and in confirmation I was truly reborn from the Holy Spirit....This struck me mightily when I read it as the "different levels of consciousness" issue was swirling through the back of my mind. Again, God does it all in one go, if we cooperate with him. Wow, Christianity really does have it all! And I kind of love that.
All men, whatever their lives may have been in the past, are able to become soil that is prepared to receive God's grace. God pours himself into our souls in accordance with the degree of welcome He finds there. God gives us so many graces because He trusts each one of us; there is no soil that is too impervious or too uncultivated for him, so long as it is prepared to change and to respond to him.Listening to the Gospel reading last Sunday with the parable of the sowers, this was the very thought that ran through my head. Yes the soil may be packed down hard from people walking on it, but if someone hoes it up, adds some compost, and the soft rain falls? Then it too may be fertile.
“[...] We keep a record for every member, and for every customer who might yet become a member, in order to track their work." He paused, then added, "Some of them are working very hard indeed."Clay Jannon was lucky to find a job at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Times are hard and jobs are scarce. However, the bookstore sells very few books and the few regular patrons seem to have a strange mission that no one will talk about. Then there's the fact that most of the books can't be found in any index of published books. Naturally Clay begins investigating and winds up on a fascinating quest that includes secret societies, museums, ancient artifacts ... and e-books, virtual reality, and Google.
"What are they doing?"
"My boy," he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious: "They are reading.”
|—”Gale Allen” in Planet Comics #12 (1941), writer & artist uncredited|
via Not Pulp Covers
taken by the incomparable Remo Savisaar
Complete trust in God, using whatever human means are necessary in each situation, gives an incomparable fortitude and a special kind of serenity to the Christian, whatever may happen to him and whatever the tribulations he may have to face up to.So there are two things to think about here, for me anyway.
Francis Fernandez, In Conversation With God, vol. 4
11. What does going to confession do?This is a really terrific little book that I think might help parents as much as the children they read it with. For one thing, Kendra Tierney strips matters down to basics, as you can see from the excerpt above, to help everyone see the basis for all the ins and outs of the sacrament.
The Sacrament of Penance heals our souls when we hurt it by sinning. When we confess our sins to a priest, it is God who hears us and forgives our sins.18 God always forgives us if we are sorry, no matter how big or how many our sins are.
The Bible tells us the story of how Jesus treated a woman who had committed a big sin.19 She had been arrested, and the people were going to throw rocks at her.
Jesus came and told the people, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." One by one the people put down their rocks and left.
When only Jesus and the woman were left he told her, "Go, and do not sin again."
God always forgives us when we ask, but he also asks us to change our behavior. The Sacrament of Penance helps us with this.20
18. CCC. 1461
19. John 8:3-11
20. CCC 1468
|Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Mademoiselle Huquier Holding a Cat, 1747|
Gwedif pulled up to me as we walked. "I wish we had more time," he said. "This happened with Carl too. Barely time for introductions, and then off to decide the fate of our peoples. If nthing else, we've learned that you humans thrive on crisis."Scott and I recorded our discussion last night which will come out this week at A Good Story is Hard to Find.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing at a fevered pitch," I said.
"I don't know about that," Gwedif said. "I think the first place I'll go when I visit your planet—really visit your planet, I mean, not that little trip I took earlier—I think I'll go visit a monastery. Those people seem to have the right idea. Slow meditative spiritual contemplation."
"I think most of the monasteries these days are either making chant CDs or boutique wines," I said.
"Really?" Gwedif said. "Well, hell. What is it with you people?"
John Scalzi, Agent to the Stars
Artists have painted, drawn, and sculpted Angels in a variety of styles. Angels are many times portrayed as children. This is most likely to convey innocence.As you can see from the excerpt, this is a book for older children and might even be good as a quick primer for adults. Donna-Marie O'Boyle has a true talent for explaining the basics about angels, which are a more complex subject than most people might think.
Beginning in about the fourth century, Angels were usually illustrated with wings. That's how we usually see them in books, paintings, on the walls of churches, in icons, or in the art of stained-glass windows. The wings might even be the artist's interpretation of their swiftness. An Angel is able to quickly come to our aid. However, this also has roots in Holy Scripture, since some of the people in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible describe the angels who appeared to them as having wings.
For instance, we know that Isaiah saw a winged Angel. Ezekiel, too, saw visions of winged Angels. Most times when Angels appear, they look like normal people, always men. Sometimes Angels appear all aglow in awesome splendor. Warrior Angels—like the Archangels—are tremendously tall and powerful.
For myself, the Creek satisfies a thing that had gone hungry and unfed since childhood days. I am often lonely. Who is not? But I should be lonelier in the heart of a city. ... I walk at sunset, east along the road. There are no houses in that direction, except the abandoned one where the wild plums grow, white with bloom in springtime. ...Amen.
Folk call the road lonely, because there is not human traffic and human stirring. Because I have walked it so many times and seen such a tumult of life there, it seems to me one of the most populous highways of my acquaintance. I have walked it in ecstasy, and in joy it is beloved. Every pint tree, every gallberry bush, every passion vine, every joree rustling in the underbrush, is vibrant. I have walked it in trouble, and the wind in the trees beside me is easing. I have walked it in despair, and the red of sunset is my own blood dissolving into the night's darkness. For all such things were on earth before us, and will survive after us, and it is given to us to join ourselves with them and to be comforted.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek
"Rescuing animals is only the start of it," said Mother Noah. She scooped up a handful of seeds and placed them carefully in her pocket. "If God wants to send a flood, it's very good of him to ask Noah to put the animals in a boat. But then what do you do with them?"I have a real antipathy toward things that are yanked out of perspective and told from some "special" point of view, usually to empower some group. I encounter this a lot in feminist perspectives where predictable and myopic points of view bore me to tears.
But however hard it [work] was, every day brought something good. On day ten the tigers realized that she was a friend and stopped trying to eat her. On day eleven the parrots learned to say, "Move over!" which saved Mother Noah a lot of shouting. On day fifteen the chimpanzees had a very silly half hour with Ham's hat and Mr. Noah's whistle. ...
|Young Girl Climbing on Rocks at Park Guell|
taken by Carlos Lorenzo at Barcelona Photoblog
"In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas."Yes. There are facts and there is truth.
"Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of."
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I have a few questions going into Calvary. The priest has a daughter? That can be a legit thing, but my antennae are up.
|Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone, 1888|
The spacious firmament on high,Psalm 19 is one of my very favorite psalms. I recently discovered that Psalm 19 was one of C.S. Lewis's favorites also. It creates an extra little bit of fellow feeling with him.
with all the blue ethereal sky,
and spangled heavens, a shining frame,
their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
does his Creator’s power display,
and publishes to every land
the work of an almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
the moon takes up the wondrous tale,
and nightly, to the listening earth,
repeats the story of her birth;
whilst all the stars that round her burn,
and all the planets in their turn,
confirm the tidings as they roll,
and spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though nor real voice nor sound
amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
and utter forth a glorious voice,
forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine!”
Joseph Addison, 1712
(after Psalm 19)
'Come Lazarus!' I have never heard the Wisest One shout so loudly.Kal is Peter the Fisherman's dog, rescued when he was just a puppy from a group of tormenting boys. He tells us the Gospel story from a canine point of view, including all the senses the we don't notice! Did you know that lepers are delicious to lick and even have a convenient bell to let Kal know they are coming? When Jesus (the Wisest One) heals them it is is a great disappointment because they taste just like regular men again.
'Come, Lazarus... come out to me!' again he shouted.
The Great Ones [men] all looked at each other uneasily, the smell of fear coming off them as sharp as any skunk. But my ears were pinched back, and I heard what they could not hear: a wondrous thing, a little sigh as gentle as the breeze, and then a scratching, scruffling noise and something being put to one side — the leftover spices, perhaps in a jar being moved? ...
I watched in wonder and could barely keep myself from shouting and dancing and chasing my tail — for in all my days I have never seen anything like this. Suddenly the woman — I realized at once she was the mother of Lazarus — came rushing up and ran straight into the resting-place. There was a shriek of joy and then such weeping it would tear your heart in two if you didn't know it was tears of you that were being wept. ...
|Sunlight and Shadow, Albert Bierstadt, 1862|
Gandalf and Frodo are not allegorical masks for Christ, as in a strict allegory, nor symbols for some aspect of human condition, as in a loose allegory. They are people in their own right. But because they are almost real people they can, as real people can, express Christ in their own way.I like thinking of expressing Christ in my own story. It's a phrase that appeals to me since all our lives are stories. Of course, from our own points of view, each of us is the star of our story. How am I doing at expressing Christ? And how often? All the time or just a little? My answers are my own but they push me for a fuller and better expression.
It is part of the Roman Catholic idea of the saints that each mirrors Christ in an individual way, expressing facets of the infinite Personality, which could not all be expressed in one finite life, no matter how great. The historical Christ, for example, was not a philosopher nor a King; but St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Louis of France show us something of what He might have been like if He had been. Thus Gandalf and Frodo, while being very real and very individual, also have something to tell us about Christ.
Richard L. Purtill, Lord of the Elves and Eldils
Like most people on the over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley has little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to help track down the killer. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the " R" stood for robot.I snagged a review audiobook of this from SFFaudio.
It is a detective story and illustrates an idea Asimov advocated, that science fiction is a flavor that can be applied to any literary genre, rather than a limited genre itself. Specifically, in the book Asimov's Mysteries, he states that he wrote the novel in response to the assertion by editor John W. Campbell that mystery and science fiction were incompatible genres. Campbell had said that the science fiction writer could invent "facts" in his imaginary future that the reader would not know. Asimov countered that there were rules implicit in the art of writing mysteries, and that the clues could be in the plot, even if they were not obvious, or were deliberately obfuscated.All hail opinionated John Campbell and Isaac Asimov's determination to prove him wrong. Today there are a lot of different mash-ups included in the science fiction genre and Asimov led the way with this book.
|Wedding at Cana|
by Daniel Mitsui
This image is under copyright. The artist has given me permission to share his images on this blog.
The original was created on private commission. This is the fifth commission I have received to transpose traditional subjects from medieval European art into the style of Japanese art. Various Japanese woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries were used for visual reference. Paintings by Hinrik Funhof, Hieronymus Bosch, Gerard David and Bertram von Minden were among the occidental works that influenced the content and arrangement.There is much more, which you can read here. For example the images on the jars and both sets of screens have very specific symbolic significance.
The Wedding at Cana is depicted in the middleground as a Japanese marriage ceremony, with the bride wearing the traditional garb, about to sip sake. Christ and Mary converse in the foreground, while a servant fills the six stone jars with water.
A construction project on my campus once destroyed some grass and trees near the library building, perhaps a necessary but certainly regrettable preliminary to expansion of the library. On the board fence surrounding the project, a number of slogans were painted. One near the entrance said simply, "The Gates of Mordor." Unfair, perhaps, but Tolkien — who was moved to write "Leaf by Niggle" when a tree near his home was cut down — would have understood.I still remember sobbing when a utility truck cut off the tops of a long line of majestic trees one summer when I was young. My mother tried to comfort me and I knew it was a practical action, considering the frequency of ice storms in rural Kansas. However, I still felt for those trees.
Richard L. Purtill, Lord of the Elves and Eldils
We need the truth, but we also need to know how to live in and through and by that truth.Louis Markos begins with the idea that in the past stories weren't only told for children's entertainment and instruction, but for that of adults as well. We've lost not only that idea but a lot of the time-honored values that we used to teach and cherish in such stories. The author "mines" two of the most honored stories in modern times, the Lord of the Rings and, to a lesser extent, The Chronicles of Narnia, to show how they can help us return to classic virtues these days.
What we need, in short, are stories.
In the greater tales, the ones that matter—the ones that change both us and our world—the heroes do not so much choose the Road, as the Road chooses them. For our part, we must be ready, prepared in season and out, to answer the call, whenever and however it comes. And we must be prepared to press on, trusting to an end that we often do not, perhaps cannot, see. It is easy to claim that we would have done what Abraham did, but that is only because we stand outside the story. We see the good end, the fulfillment that Abraham could not see from within the story.Markos is not detached with his subject at arm's length. He loves these stories and the themes they embrace and his enthusiasm comes through to make a warm, lively reading experience.
"I suppose there are two views about everything," said Mark.Ain't that the truth!
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never ore than one. But it's no affair of mine. Good night."
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength
Both the stolen apple [The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis] and the Ring [Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien] work: they do give the immortality and power that they promise, just as the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3 does open the eyes of Adam and Eve to the knowledge of good and evil. The lie does not lurk in the primary promise of life-strength-wisdom, but in the accompanying, deceptive promise that these things, once achieved, will make one into a god: eternal, omnipotent, omniscient. The lie rests in the false promise that the life it gives will be a life worth living, the strength a strength worth wielding, the wisdom a wisdom worth possessing.It's always just that little twist when evil tells us lies. Mostly true is the key to a good lie, after all. Unfortunately that "mostly" is a long way to fall from real truth. And we are always sorry.
Louis MarkosOn the Shoulders of Hobbits
Conscience won’t let us be satisfied with resting on the truth we already know, the good we already embrace. There is an unease we experience, an unease that pushes us on to seek ever-deeper truths and choose ever-better goods. Sometimes we ignore it; sometimes we try to suppress it. Conscience, however, demands that we attend to it and miss no opportunity to try to satisfy it. Conscience is forever insisting that we look here, or search there, or try this or that in our quest for the true and the good.In the process of proving this point, Hasson takes the reader on a journey through the history of American religious liberty. We soon discover that there was precious little to be had before modern times. The Pilgrims, whose vaunted quest for tolerance landed them on American shores, quite knowingly practiced a double standard and forcefully suppressed any opposing opinions. We are shown why Roger Williams founded Maryland in order to practice true religious tolerance only to have the laws changed after he died. Similarly William Penn’s vision of religious liberty was soon practiced in quite a different way after his influence waned. James Madison emerges as a man who had a surprisingly accurate vision of religious liberty and, possibly, the influence to get the proper laws passed. It is all the more disappointing, then, to learn that he let Thomas Jefferson influence him to weaken them. As a result, Quakers, Catholics, and Jews were routinely discriminated against by one state after another. It is safe to say that for most of American history, you were free to practice any religion you liked, as long as you wanted to be Protestant.
And then conscience still isn’t content. It won’t stand for the argument that searching alone should suffice. Conscience demands not only that we seek but that we embrace the truth we believe we’ve found. It insists that, at whatever cost, our convictions follow through into action. And it’s famously stubborn about this, sending generation after generation of dissidents to all sorts of deprivations in the name of integrity...
... Ask either faction whether it believes religious liberty is a human right and you’ll get a passionate, tub-thumping — mostly hypocritical — speech in favor of the idea. That’s because religious freedom is so familiar, so American a concept that nobody can really admit to opposing it. That would be like opposing apple pie. So even those who are at each other’s throats over religious liberty have to insist they all absolutely love the stuff. Instead of confessing that they’re actually opposed to religious freedom for all, the Pilgrims and the Park Rangers among us equivocate. When they say they support “religious freedom,” the Pilgrims mean the freedom of their religion, while the Park Rangers mean freedom from others’ religions. That way, they can all sound so very American — they can say they’re in favor of something called religious freedom — and still be as oppressive as they want to be.However, that is where Hasson’s insistence on the value of conscience is so valuable. By reminding us that conscience is the core of religious conviction, he takes us to the true turning point of religious liberty. This in turn frees us to totally disagree with another’s religious convictions while, with complete integrity, conceding that they do, indeed, have the right to be wrong. It is this attitude that allows Hasson to be in the position of being both invited to Hasidic Jewish weddings and also to be a guest speaker on the Arab network Al-Jazeera. His respect of the integrity of others’ consciences has earned him their respect in turn. That is the attitude that will help dig America out of our internal religious wars and just possibly bring us, at long last, true religious liberty.
Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn’t go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold. His hands were as cold as his smile, and almost as cold as his heart. He wore gloves when he was asleep, and he wore gloves when he was awake, which made it difficult for him to pick up pins or coins or the kernels of nuts, or to tear the wings from nightingales.I never heard of this until Neil Gaiman chose it for his Wall Street Journal book club selection. He has called it possibly the best book in the world and said that he grew up loving this book and thinking it was as well known in the U.S. as Alice in Wonderland.
"The task is hard," said Zorn, "and can't be done."
"I can do a score of things that can't be done," the Golux said. "I can find a thing I cannot see and see a thing I cannot find. The first is time, the second is a spot before my eyes. I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart. What would you do without me? Say 'nothing.'"
"Nothing," said the Prince.
"Good. Then you're helpless and I'll help you."