There is no Frigate Like a Book from the Pen of Emily Dickinson

The more I try to learn and understand how prose and poetry works, the more I realize that I can’t recapture the the years of ignoring virtually all literature from my childhood. It’s like starting in grade school again and working your way up, only now you don’t have time to do so because of bills and life and work and school and family and so on. This part of literature now gets relegated to learning a tiny snippet then when another writer (Lenard Sweet in this case via Viral) points out how important poetry is, then picking it back up again and learning a little more. I’ve done this for almost 5 years now, and I’m not sure I’ve learned a whole lot, but I’ve learned more than if I never picked up poetry at all.

Lenard Sweet in his book Viral spends a great deal on the importance of poetry in one chapter, and then goes on to show how much the Google generation has rejected this form of literature (and mine too for that matter), to replace it with the world of images and graphics. But the more our world, culture, and societies as a whole forget how to write in cursive, the more we should continue to write in cursive ourselves, lest we forget the power of words. Same goes with poetry, and especially in our churches!

If you are a Christian, no matter how much you try, you can’t get away from the fact that God’s way of communicating with us is in words, and the greatest poetry ever written is found in Scripture. It’s no wonder. Poetry, in one form, is a way to say something that can’t be said in words, and much of Scripture is just that, too great for words. There are countless examples, but I like the this reason from the book of John… “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (3.12). The Spiritual world of God uses poetry for a good reason, it helps to explain the unexplainable, something that needs a parable to show its depth.

I love short poems that are easily digestible at this point, it will take me years to work up to appreciating Shakespeare, but here Emily Dickinson explains the power of a book.

There is no Frigate Like a Book

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll.
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul!

~Emily Dickinson

It just conveys so much more meaning to compare the power of a book to a warship of immense power and beauty. Much like a product of my generation, I know my weakness in understanding literature is the image. Being a photographer for so long, the image is what I created through capturing light, not an image in my mind through capturing words read. Trying to relearn how words express their own images, without the need for a graphic is quite hard in the 21st century, I can’t imagine how hard it will be in the 22nd century, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Why Moses and Elijah in the Transfiguration

I am not sure how many times I have read the end of Matthew 16 and tried to understand the theology behind…

Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)

…especially when we know the apostles are no longer on our side of eternity, and the new kingdom has not arrived yet. Apparently I didn’t try hard enough because this morning it just clicked and I got it.  Just keep reading into chapter 17 and you get your answer, the Transfiguration.

This event (one of my favorites in scripture) is one of those unique times in the New Testament text when Jesus did something so extraordinary that He had to tell those with Him not to say anything until the time was appropriate. Peter seemed to sense it’s importance, but why Moses and Elijah? Some commentaries suggest that the transfiguration was a preview to Jesus’ kingdom to come. As described, Jesus’ kingdom to come will have three different “people forms” present, and they are all laid out for us right here in Matthew 17, and key to understanding the kingdom to come is Moses and Elijah.

First, in the new kingdom, there are those in their present physical body, represented by the inner circle of disciples who were present at the transfiguration. Next, those people who have died or will die, represented at the transfiguration by Moses, and third, those saved individuals who will be called up to heaven alive and will not experience death (1 Thes. 4:17), represented by Elijah.

At that time Jesus will also be in His full glory, just as He was during the transfiguration… and seeing these things, the disciples were able to see the coming kingdom of Heaven before they died as described Matthew 16:28.

To me, these combined set of verses gives us the greatest hope for the promises of life after death. Jesus first revealed it to his inner circle of disciples and after His resurrection the disciples revealed this to all of us. This is overly simplified, but sometimes God’s word is revealed to us a little at a time, and sometimes it’s given to you in that ah ha moment. That’s why it’s the “living” word and not just marks on a page.

Who Inspired Your Life Today, Anyone?

It seems that January has gotten off to a nitro-fueled pace.  We started this new series (Alive) that I am personally already struggling to keep up with.  Anyone else?  It is about mid-week in the first week in January so I figured by now almost everyone has given up on some of their “new years resolutions”, but in light of my post yesterday on how to be creative, I tried to keep my own list in my mind as I went through the day.

So who inspired me us to be creative today?  For me, I started off the day with an unbelievable speaker, Eddie Gran, the former running back coach from Auburn.  He spent much of his career with Tommy Tubberville from Miami to Ole Miss, to Auburn, and of course in light of the current coaching situation is looking for a job. He presented a great testimony which I know had to inspire many who were able to come hear him speak.

Was I able to achieve any creativity on my own.  Who knows.  I wanted to dive deep into my own journal, take some photos, and listen to some new music, but for this day, here is my short list of others who gave me some inspiration for the day.

The last one requires a little explanation.  I am amazed at how I keep learning from my mother-in-law.  Since her death in April I have been pouring over here journals she wrote when she lived in Europe.  She did what most of us are trying to do now with the Alive series, write.  I have been putting her journal one day at a time in a blog called My Life in France.

I sit here and wonder what is or isn’t acceptable in worship.  Why do we do this or that, why don’t we do this or that.  Her entry in her journal today was short, and to the point, and really hit the spot.  This is what she wrote on February 2, 1992:

No English speaking churches in Verdun so we drove to the American Cemetery located in St. Mihiel, France (where 4,000 Americans from the war are buried) and had our own private worship in the chapel there.

Now that is inspiring, at least to me.

Learning Music History Again and Trying to Pick the E Blues Scale

Tuesday’s are busy days around our place. We usually take all our orders from over the weekend in to USPS, which we did today. Deborah packaged up all the book orders, I did all the eBay orders and we made it into town in time for my guitar lesson.

What’s in an E Blues Scale Again?

We found a great deal on a beginner Fender Guitar a month or so ago, and I started taking lessons each Tuesday. This was only my second lesson, but I learned today that I was not holding the pick properly (or using the proper pick), looking in the correct spot, plucking the stings in the correct way, and I lost track after that. It wasn’t really that bad but I have never picked up a guitar prior to my last two lessons so the learning curve seems high to me, especially when you have a day job and can’t practice all that much. I did continue on with the open E Blues Scale, and will try to use some proper technique for next week. At least I can play and still feel my fingers.

New Music Added

I received a few new CD’s from my trading pals over at LaLa again today, and few from Amazon. I have been trying to get a better collection of blues guitarist and these will fit the bill quite nicely.

  • Santana – The Essential
  • Santana – Supernatural
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – The Sky is Crying
  • The Killers – Hot Fuss
  • The Killers – Sam’s Town

Everything Else

We finished our work today rather early and went out to dinner at a favorite local place in town called Locos. Usually a college hang out but we arrive well before any of the wilder bunch arrives and we had a nice relaxed meal. By the time we got home it was still light enough outside to take a short walk, only about 2 miles today.

Scales and Guitars Oh My, Learning the Guitar is Fun?

Today was one busy day. It started off with a normal routine of email and blogging and quickly moved into actual work. We had a schedule to keep today so all the orders from all the various places had to be processed and packaged so we could leave on time today.

I really liked the plan of action service we had on Sunday so we took the oportunity today to put things into action, and I did a quick post about it, Almost Mid-week, Are You Fluid?, including a nice mug shot of your truly.

Once in town, being that it is Tuesday, Deborah dropped me off for my guitar lesson and she went on to drop the orders at the post office, pick up our mail and a few other items. After my lesson was over, we hustled over to an appointment at a nearby store to see about something for my son’s upcoming wedding in August, then it was over to work with the books for a few hours.

Dinner and a Movie

After all the work was done, we did enjoy a nice dinner, although brought at completely separate intervals (and free of charge). This always seems to happen to us when we go to Chili’s but for some reason we still go back. It was nice to sit and relax for a while.

Wasn’t really a movie but we did get a chance to watch a little TV when we got home from dinner.

Incoming Music From LaLa

I do a bit of CD music trading on the music exchange site, and today I did receive four new CD’s to add to my collection.

  • Alan Parsons – Try Anything Once (came broken)
  • U2 – War
  • Stevie Nicks – Street Angel
  • Collective Soul – Blender (this is the second go around on this CD as well)

Nature in View

Nothing really to report here today, wasn’t in the office much so about the only observation of nature (other than looking out my window, which is actually pretty nice) was the image of the day, There is Beauty in Simplicity, but I think that counts as “nature”.

The Whippoorwills are still here and about to drive us crazy so I don’t really count them anymore at this point.