Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction with C. S. Lewis

I am reading Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction with C. S. Lewis. This is a book of selected letters of C. S. Lewis, whom close friends knew as Jack. Already within the first 20-30 pages I have found a few spiritual truths that are worth the price of the book. It also offers some insights into Lewis himself. I have just read, in one of his early letters, of a conversation he had with friends Hugo Dyson and J. R. R. Tolkien that turned out to be pivotal in his conversion to Christ.

There are three kinds of letters in this book, moving chronologically through Lewis' spiritual development. The first are letters of spiritual companionship, followed by letters of discipleship in which he asks for spiritual advice. The last are letters of spiritual direction, in which he answers those who have asked him for spiritual advice.

This is indeed a book to relish.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fontains of Wayne >> Valley Winter Song

Heard a snippet of this song on an L. L. Bean commercial and was caught by the sound and the harmonies.

Advent Carol >> Gaudete! (Rejoice)

The third Sunday in Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means "rejoice"). The liturgical color for this day is rose, a break from the purple of the other three Sundays. It celebrates the humanity of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

This traditional carol is rendered here by the Medieval Baebes.

Gaudete! Gaudete!
Christus est natus ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

1. Tempus adest gratiae, hoe quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae devote reddamus. Refrain

2. Deus homo factus est, natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante. Refrain

3. Ergo nostra contio psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino; salus regi nostro. Refrain

Rejoice, rejoice, Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary, rejoice

1. The time of grace is here, that which we desire
Let us recite with devotion a song of joy. Refrain

2. God is made man, nature marvels
The world is restored by the reigning Christ. Refrain

3.Therefore we now sing our hymn in brightness
May it bless the Lord, greeting to our King. Refrain

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Advent Door

For your Advent ruminations, here is a special blog by my brother Gary's intended (sometime next year is the word on the street), Jan Richardson. It's called The Advent Door. Very thoughtful and richly illustrated with images of her own creation.

And did I mention our new book? From the Manger to the Cross: Advent and Christmas Meditations on the King who was Born in a Stable, Crowned with Thorns and Reigns Forever.

The season of Advent, a time to prepare your heart for that which is truly Christmas, begins tommorrow, Sunday, November 30.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Blogs Have Personality Types?

Just came across a webpage that analyzes blogs according to Myers-Briggs personality type indicators.Its called Typealyzer. I have a number of  blogs/websites. Here's how they were typed:
Interesting. But it kinda makes sense.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Interview with Garrison Doles

Here is an interview with my brother Gary Doles (free MP3 download), on AM Ocala Live, about his folk music. Includes a few of his songs.

Below, you can also hear some clips from one of his recent albums, available at Amazon:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Soaking Music

Good music for soaking in the presence of the Lord. Take some time to marinate in His glory and goodness. For more information about the artists, got to www.soaking.net and click on "Artists Pages" or "Ministrils."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Passion of Christ in Sand Art

Artist and narrator Joe Castillo presents the message of the Cross in sand art. Amazing presentation.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Review >> Smart People

Watched Smart People last night. Cute movie about an intellectually smart but emotionally obtuse and socially stunted English professor at Carnegie-Mellon, in Pittsburgh, who has recently been widowed. It is a light and hopeful piece that traces the gentle arc of how he and his daughter, who is very much like him, learn to get out of their head and more into the lives of others. No big brush strokes here, no grand revelations, no emotional crescendos. Just nuances of the heart.

Strong cast. Well-acted. Smart but simple soundtrack consisting mostly of sensitive acoustic guitar work. It all works well together. Enjoyed it very much.

From the Amazon review:
Much in the manner of Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, the very funny and bracingly intelligent Smart People concerns a college instructor meandering through life until unexpected developments force a cascade of personal changes. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid), a recently widowed literature professor, is a numb and chilly intellectual who rebuffs his students, ignores his all-but-emancipated teen kids (Ashton Holmes and Junos Ellen Page), and spurns cries for financial assistance from his ne’er-do-well but rather soulful adopted brother, Chuck (Thomas Haden Church).

After an accident lands Lawrence in the hospital and deprives him of the right to drive, someone else falls into his bleak sphere: Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker), a physician and former student of Lawrence who remembers her disappointment in him as a teacher and role model. Against all logic, Janet and Lawrence become a romantic item, a choice for which neither of them is entirely prepared. Meanwhile, Chuck and Vanessa (Page) enter an awkward phase in their relationship as niece and uncle, just another sign that the Wetherhold clan has become too insular and self-referential.

Screenwriter Mark Poirier’s inspired and literate story sets up lots of chaos, attitude, and cross-conflict, then hangs back and lets the characters verbally spar, much to our great amusement. What's happening, however, are deep changes in relationships and destinies that Lawrence and the others naturally resist, until they can’t. Director Noam Murro knows one of his most important contributions to the film is to stay out of the characters’ way and provide Poirier’s barbed humor a supportive setting. Quaid is outstanding as the pivotal figure in this tale, a man who looks creaky and washed up beyond his years, but who is not entirely past redemption.
—Tom Keogh

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Partakers of the Divine Nature

Currently, I am reading Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deificiation in the Christian Tradition. It is about how the Church historically has understood 2 Peter 1:4, concerning the promises of God through which we have been made “partakers of the divine nature.” In it, I have located a few intriguing quotes from early Church Fathers.

From Irenaeus (2nd Century):
Our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself. (Against Heresies, Book 5, Preface)
From Athanasius (4th Century):
For He was made man that we might be made God. (On the Incarnation, chapter 54)
Therefore He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us. (Against the Arians, Discourse 1, Chapter 11)
For He has become Man, that He might deify us in Himself, and He has been born of a woman, and begotten of a Virgin, in order to transfer to Himself our erring generation, and that we may become henceforth a holy race, and ‘partakers of the Divine Nature,’ as blessed Peter wrote. (Personal Letter 60:4)

Godfrey Birtill >> Outrageous Grace

Godfrey Birtill >> Just One Touch from the King

Godfrey Birtill >> Lord, Turn Your Footsteps

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Looking Forward to Reunion

Suzanne and I are looking forward to the upcoming reunion of the alumni and former students of Florida Bible College, our old alma mater (over 30 year ago). It will be in Marietta, GA over the Labor Day weekend. It will be a time of looking back, but we hope it will also be a time of looking forward.

The Bible says, in Joel 2 and Acts 2, that when the Spirit comes, the young men see visions and the old men dream dreams. It is good to remember, but it is striking that He did not say that the old men would reminisce, but that they would dream. Memories speak of what was. Visions speak of what is now. Dreams are about what will be. They look beyond the present generation.

When we were young, we had engaging visions. But now that we are ... um ... not so young, what are the dreams? When we gather, I will greatly enjoy hearing the memories of what once was and catching up on what now is. But what I really want to know are the dreams, what will be, because there is yet more to be told.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kari Jobe >> Revelation Song

This morning I meditated on Revelation 5, "Worthy is the Lamb," contemplating the Table of the Lord as the Table of the Lamb. Then in church this morning, to my surprise and delight, we sang this song in worship. I went into the place Revelation 5 talks about, very aware of all the saints and angels singing the praises of the Lamb who was slain for us. It was heaven on earth, wave after wave of His glory washing over me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Review >> Lars and the Real Girl

This may give away too much of the story for you.

Recently, I watched Lars and the Real Girl with my family. Set in a modern, small Midwestern town, the plot centers on a reclusive young man named Lars Lindstrom (touchingly but deftly played by Ryan Gosling). He decides one day to buy a life-size realistic doll from a mail-order company and introduces her to the world as his girlfriend, Bianca. To Lars, she is very real and he relates to her as if she was a real person, carrying on conversation with her and speaking on her behalf to others because, as he explains, she is Brazilian and speaks no English.

His brother and sister-in-law—his only family—do not know how they should respond, but are advised by the town doctor (played by Patricia Clarkson), who is also a shrink, to go along with it. Lars is not schizophrenic, merely delusional, and poses no danger. Not knowing whether or how this unusual development will resolve, they accept the doctor’s suggestion and begin to treat Bianca like a human being.

Bianca’s story, as it emerges from Lars, is tragic. She is wheelchair bound and Lars is concerned when she becomes mysteriously ill. He takes her to the doctor, who engages him in revealing conversation while she undergoes “treatments.” Lars loves Bianca and wants to marry, but Bianca has refused. She is lonely and afraid and, like Lars, has endured a traumatic childhood.

Lars’ family shows great kindness to him and Bianca. Though they are bewildered, they are very grateful that he has begun to have significant personal interaction with them. With Bianca at his side, Lars is willing to venture into the world of human relationships. His church and community sense this and accommodate his Bianca, incorporating her into the life of the town, because the more she is involved, the more engaged with others he becomes. He relates to them and they relate to him—through her.

Lars is becoming happy in his new life when discovers one day that he cannot wake Bianca up—she is in critical condition. Having only a few days left with her, Lars begins to grieve. Not knowing what this new development will bring, his family turns to the doctor. “He is making all the choices,” she says. And so he is.

In the end, having learned to let go of his fear and alienation, he then bravely lets go of the thing that helped him return. Now he is ready to meet the one who has been patiently waiting for him — the real girl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Garrison Doles >> This Man's Heart

Here are some MP3 clips from my brother Gary's album, This Man's Heart. Gary is a songwriter, folksinger and storyteller—in no particular order. These tracks were produced and engineered by my other brother, Greg. The full songs are available from Amazon. So is the entire album.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sufjan Stevens >> Fount of Every Blessing

Simple rendition of a great old hymn. Very nice.

Here is a bit of my own arrangement of the same song, from my CD On This Pilgrim's Way: A Barefoot Hymnal. You can also listen to a streaming audio that includes samples from all the arrangements on that CD.

Monday, June 23, 2008

That's My King

Do you know Him?

If you have never received the Lord Jesus Christ, but would like to, The Most Important Prayer will show you how.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Glory Rave

"For these are not drunk, as you suppose." (Acts 2:15)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dreams a Thousand Generations Long

"When you know, even for a moment, that it's your time, then you can walk with the power of a thousand generations."
Bruce Cockburn, Dream Like Mine

Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
Acts 2:17
Young men see what is, old men see what will be. Both aspects speak of awareness of who we are, where we are and why we are. God is from eternity—He takes the long view. His plans and purposes endure. "He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations" (Psalm 105:8).

God has dreams a thousand generations long.