“You say grace before meals.
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, poem entitled “A Grace” (via gkchestertonquote)
My hubby and I enjoyed our thanksgiving dinner at Brasserie on 53rd St. in Manhattan. It was classy, and expensive. Finding a good thanksgiving dinner in New York can be difficult being that most places are closed, and those who are open feel they are entitled to charge whatever they want. But it was delicious.
It was a bit awkward eating in a place so classy. We made sure to dress appropriately. The first inside laugh came when I requested water and I was given the choice of still, sparkling, or tap. I chose still. I hoped I had made the right choice. It was normal water after all.
Also, we had two other people on either side of us that we were able to observe. Okay, correction, I observed them. Steven kept getting on to me for looking at them. I was careful. Anyway, their topics of conversation were quite interesting. It was a reminder for how many people in the world actually live.
Our first course was acorn squash soup with a gingerbread spices crème fraîche.
Our main course was roasted turkey served with sweet potato, classic stuffing, giblet gravy, and cranberry relish.
Our dessert was an apple tart with cranberry, apple crisp, and spiced ice cream.
Its almost shameful how much we paid for our meal. Especially when upon leaving we had no choice but to walk right next to a homeless man who was under a blanket attempting to stay warm. It’s humbling, to say the least.
So we had an extravagant meal for the first time in our lives. But I’m thankful for a husband who together, we don’t want extravagant lives. Under normal circumstances, we would have never paid so much for a meal. Rather, our hearts are with the people sleeping on cardboard tonight.
May we never again allow ourselves to be spent with such extravagance. I want to spend myself on people.
The following is an excerpt taken from a book I have recently finished, How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins. Here, he presents a discussion on the perception of truth that is like none I’ve heard before and is essential when applied to certain biblical texts, as well as providing understanding to everyday affairs:
While this religious idea of truth as soteriological may initially seem somewhat unrelated to the idea of truth as that which describes, there are times when they can come into conflict with each other. For example, let us imagine that we are hiding some Jews in our house in Germany during the Second World War. Early one morning some soldiers come to our door as part of a routine check and ask if we are housing any Jews. In response to this question we have three options: (a) we regretfully say ‘yes’, acknowledging that we are held under a higher moral law which requires that we do not deceive; (b) we say ‘no’, judging that it is the lesser of two evils, a necessary lie required in order to prevent murder; (c) we say ‘no’ and feel happy that we told the truth.
In this example most contemporary Christians in the West would, I suspect, choose (b) as closest to their own position. However, if we take truth to mean any act which positively transforms reality, rather than describes reality, then there is no problem acknowledging that, while denying there are Jews in the house is empirically incorrect, it is true in a religious sense precisely because it protects the innocent (as well as protecting the soldiers from committing a horrific act).
…The idea that religious truth transforms reality in such a way that it reflects the kingdom of God renders some Bible stories far more intelligible, for throughout the texts there are some instances in which the people of God seemingly lie (i.e. say something which is empirically false) for the sake of truth. For example, at the beginning of Exodus we read of two Egyptian midwives who refuse to carry out Pharaoh’s command that all male infants be put to death. Here we read:
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’ The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summed the midwives and asked them, 'Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?' The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’ So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became more numerous.
Here God does not merely accept the deception of Shiphrah and Puah but actually blesses it. Not only do we find other examples littered throughout the Old Testament, we even find Jesus himself engaged in what would appear to be an act of deception. In John 7 we read that Jesus’ brothers attempt to persuade him to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. In response to this request Jesus replies:
'The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.’ Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the feast, he went also, not publicly but in secret.
There’s something special about the first hours of the day.
Allowing my eyes to adjust while looking at him.
Expressing our thanks to God for another day, for each other, and for our food.
Having breakfast and coffee that he prepared.
Early morning drives with my husband are equally special.
I’m excited/sad to finish a book before work this morning. It’s been such a good read. I’ve been challenged. I’ve learned something each time I’ve picked it up. I assure you - It won’t be the last time I pick it up. It’s been an amazing journey when you can’t wait and yet hate to finish all at the same time. Alas, the time has come.
“Pascal wrote: ‘Finally, let them recognize that there are two kinds of people one can call reasonable; those who serve God with all their heart because they know Him, and those who seek Him with all their heart because they do not know Him.’ To this we may add one caveat: that these two kinds of people are only reasonable when they are brought together as one - they serve God with all their heart because they know Him, all the while seeking Him with all their heart because they do not.”—Peter Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God