Imperative

The thing to remember is how
Tentative all of this really is.
You could wake up dead.

Or the woman you love
Could decide you’re ugly.
Maybe she’ll finally give up
Trying to ignore the way
You floss your teeth as you
Watch television. All I’m saying
Is that there are no sure things here.

I mean, you’ll probably wake up alive,
And she’ll probably keep putting off
Any actual decision about your looks.
Could be she’ll be glad your teeth
are so clean. The morning could
be full of all the love and kindness
you need. Just don’t go thinking
you deserve any of it.

-Scott Cairns

via Dan Greeson

Book Review

Have you ever watched Star Wars and wondered about the guy who pulls the switch to fire the superlaser on the Death Star? Did it ever cross your mind that there might be a woman who finds Grand Moff Tarkin’s “foul stench” attractive? Ever stop to think about daily life on board the “that’s no moon – its a space station”? Well the most recent novel in the ever expanding universe of Star Wars novels answers those questions and more. Death Star by Michael Reeves is one of the better books of the Expanded Canon; a must for fans of Star Wars or the movie Clerks.

The Saints

For Christmas last year, I received a copy of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. I mention this, a week before All Saints Day, because I have found this book immensely useful in developing an appreciation for the importance of the Christian Story during all times and among all peoples.

I’m preparing a post for All Saints Day specifically, but I wanted to use today to point out this: the value of the feast days for saints lies not only in the inspiration of their personal piety and faith, but in the constant reminder that God has never abandoned his people. There are saints at all times and in all places.

That is a lesson that took me a while to learn and which I still don’t fully appreciate.

The Reluctent Fundamentalist

The Reluctent Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I picked this book up several months ago, not sure when I would work it into my reading schedule. But once I started reading two days ago, I immediately wished I had read it sooner. It is immensely engaging, thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is a story that strives to explain, on a small level, the hostility that our nation, and Western society more broadly, faces. It is not always an easy read, and by that, I don’t mean that the text is unclear or excessive. Perhaps I should say it is at times an uncomfortable read because of the issues raised. Reading this book, of course, won’t bring about world peace or extract our soldiers from Iraq, or undo all the damage wrought by terrorism, but it might give pause next time news reports or radio pundits paint the people of the Middle and Near East with a broad brush. I highly recommend this book.

Living Thankfully

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

G.K. Chesterton, quoted in Sunday’s sermon at Christ Church Cathedral