Saturday, April 28, 2007

C. S. Lewis, What Have You Done?

So, C. S. Lewis is a total pimp, right? I mean, I don't think anyone who reads this will argue that Lewis was an absolutely amazing writer, dreamer, theologist and philosopher. I've read much of his work, some of it more than once. I feel confident that you most likely have, too. So, check out this little excerpt taken from the end of The Last Battle:

"Know, O warlike kings," said Emeth, " and you, O ladies whose beauty illuminates the universe, that I am Emeth, the seventh son of Harpa Tarkaan of the city of Tehishbaan, Westward beyond the desert. I came lately into Narnia with nine and twenty others under the command of Rishda Tarkaan. Now when I first heard that we should march upon Narnia I rejoiced; for I had heard many things of your Land and desired greatly to meet you in battle. But when I found that we were to go in disguised as merchants (which is a shameful dress for a warrior and the son of a Tarkaan) and to work by lies and trickery, then my joy departed from me. And most of all when I found we must wait upon a Monkey and when it began to be said that Tash and Aslan were one, then the world became dark in my eyes. For always since I was a boy I have served Tash and my great desire was to know more of him, if it might be, to look upon his face. But the name of Aslan was hateful to me.

"And, as you have seen, we were called together outside the straw-roofed hovel, night after night, and the fire was kindled, and the Ape brought forth out of the hovel something upon four legs that I could not well see. And the people and the Beasts bowed down and did honor to it. But I thought, the Tarkaan is deceived by the Ape: for this thing that comes out of the stable is neither Tash nor any other god. But when I watched the Tarkaan's face, and marked every word that he said to the Monkey, then I changed my mind: for I saw that the Tarkaan did not believe in it himself. And then I understood that he did not believe in Tash at all: for if he had, how could he dare to mock him?

"When I understood this, a great rage fell upon me and I wondered that the true Tash did not strike down both the Monkey and the Tarkaan with fire from heaven. Nevertheless I hid my anger and held my tongue and waited to see how it would end. But last night, as some of you know, the Monkey brought not forth the yellow thing but said that all who desired to look upon Tashlan -- for so they mixed the two words to pretend that they were all one -- must pass one by one into the hovel. And I said to myself, Doubtless this is some other deception. But when the Cat had followed in and had come out again in a madness of terror, then I said to myself, Surely the true Tash, whom they called on without knowledge or belief, has now come among us, and will avenge himself. And though my heart was turned into water inside me because of the greatness and terror of Tash, yet my desire was stronger than my fear, and I put force upon my knees to stay them from trembling, and on my teeth that they should not chatter, and resolved to look upon the face of Tash though he should slay me. So I offered myself to go into the hovel; and the Tarkaan, though unwillingly, let me go.

"As soon as I had gone in at the door, the first wonder was that I found myself in this great sunlight (as we all are now) though the inside of the hovel had looked dark from outside. But I had no time to marvel at this, for immediately I was forced to fight for my head against one of our own men. As soon as I saw him I understood that the Monkey and the Tarkaan had set him there to slay any who came in if he were not in their secrets: so that this man also was a liar and a mocker and no true servant of Tash. I had the better will to fight him; and having slain the villain, I cast him out behind me through the door.

"Then I looked about me and saw the sky and the wide lands and smelled the sweetness. And I said, By the Gods, this is a pleasant place: it may be that I am come into the country of Tash. And I began to journey into the strange country and to seek him.

"So I went over much grass and many flowers and among all kinds of wholesome and delectable trees till lo! in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant's; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the flaming furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honor) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die that to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.

"Then he breathed upon me and took away the trembling from my limbs and caused me to stand upon my feet. And after that, he said not much but that we should meet again, and I must go further up and further in. Then he turned him about in a storm and flurry of gold and was gone suddenly.

"And since then, O kings and Ladies, I have been wandering to find him and my happiness is so great that it even weakens me like a wound. And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me Beloved, me who am but as a dog --"

I'm gonna number these for discussion referencing.

  1. So, recently I was talking about Gregg, The Rockel and I eating breakfast together and we are discussing some Christian Existentialism over omelets. It was great. One of the things we talked about was what happens to people in remote parts of the world who have no opportunity to hear the Gospel? Do they go to Hell?

  2. A few weeks ago, Gregg and I were discussing how precisely we could describe our personal religious beliefs. One of the problems we had during the conversation was what about people of other religions? Do they get in to heaven?

  3. Then there were questions as to the nature of God's mercy, justice, jealousy, vengeance, wrath and love. For, as I understand, we serve a God of all these things.

  4. Then, Gregg showed me this passage the other night whilst waiting on The Custer to arrive in the Triangle from the University of Florida. Wasn't Tash the Devil in The Chronicles? How much do you think the words of C. S. Lewis apply to other religions like Judaeism, Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism?

  5. If you've read The Great Divorce, Emeth's description of the journey he takes once inside the hovel is in line with Lewis's major portrayal of heaven so we know what he's talking about: going before God and saying I followed someone else and God saying "Meh, you were wrong, it was me the whole time. Yup, in ya go."

  6. Dante won't go this far. He puts the virtuous pagans in Limbo which is described very much like Elysian Fields in which the souls aren't tortured, just grievous. The are saddened by the knowledge of the fact that they must serve eternity so far separated from God with no hope for reconciliation.

  7. Lewis goes WAY past that and says that as long as you believed something "for the oath's sake" then you get a free pass. If this is true, then what's the point of the Gospel, "The only way to the father," and all that business?


Monday, April 23, 2007

Existential Propaganda

Buenos Dias me amigos.

What a fantastic weekend it was. Friday I rolled out to the Creek to see Campbell's production of Scapin and it was a lot of fun. I knew many cast members and they all were stellar. After the show, Jason aka "Monkey," Greg, and I rolled over to the Custer's house where we chatted over tea. Monkey did not have tea. He had beer. And a cut above his eye, but that's another story. Zach was at the show, too, with his mom and the Custer's mom. I was high on nostalgia.

Saturday there was a wedding and I looked like a total pimp in all black, except for a few pinstripes.

The tie was courteous of an ever forgetful Rockel. I managed to sneak out of the extremely nice reception to go meet up with friends to commence the carousing. Seriously though, best reception ever. A vegetarian smorgasbord. Apparently the "in" thing right now is mashed potato bars. This is the third wedding I've been to with one. It was actually held at the Exploris Museum and they are doing a Sharks-3d IMAX movie that I really think I'm gonna go see.

After the reception, it was to the Tir Na Nog to meet up with the The Rockel, Greg, The Hayworth and his wife, Noelle. I was complimented on my hat by an authentic Irish person and enjoyed a glass of The Balvenie, one of my favorite scotches. We left there, got lost, and finally found ourselves at The Raleigh Times. That's when things get a little fuzzy. There were reports that the cab driver may have been a bit androgynous and I may have really embarrassed myself.

After waking up with my brain rattling all about my skull, I slammed a cup of tea and loaded up The Rockel and The Turmel into the Ghetto Glider and wheeled us over to The Farmer's Market Restaurant for a healthy, rounded, hangover-curing breakfast with plenty of water, coffee, and carbs. We discussed Christian Existentialism and came to no real conclusions. If you believe in an a priori morality, chew on this.

After wandering through aisles of fresh herbs and munching on free strawberries we parted ways. The Rockel and I rushed over to the house to start the chili before running back out to catch what was to be a free trip to the theatre where we could see a sword fight with a dragon, but when we got there, we were denied entrance from the very person who promised to sneak us in the back. They shall remain anonymous. Instead, we sat in the rose garden and debated other things we could do. Instead just went home, but not before stopping to look at the only rose in the garden.

Then we prepared a feast for the gods!

It was marvelous. Skewers of grouper, shrimp, pineapple, red & orange & green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Then grilled with a bit of hickory on the coals.

Let me tell you....MMMH! Ate that! With fresh homemade bread from Greg who brought Tow. Played a silly game called "Compatibility" which ended up being fun and then it was bedtime.

Is it Friday yet? I need a vacation from my weekend...

In case you've been living under a rock. I kind of kidnapped the Propaganda Pipeline.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Have you seen this movie? Why not? It's really pretty fantastic.

This is Penelope Cruz. Not only is she a total babe, but she is actually a pretty good actress. She does pretty awesome in this movie, but Oscar nod? I don't know. There was that scene, like there is always "that scene" where you just know that this is the moment that can really set you apart and I just thought it was lacking. If you see/have seen it we can discuss. This movie is totally twisted and morbid, but also funny and heart-warming. Dark comedy? I think so.

The Netflix r0x0r5 my b0x0r5

The Rockel is moving soon and I'm going to be planning a party for it. There will be an e-vite and if you want one, you should let me know. We haven't made a list, yet, will you be on it? There will be beer, grilling, and an all around good time. There will be seafood. There will not be cow, or pork, or poultry, or lamb, or various and sundry other meats because they have feelings and everyone knows that fish don't have feelings.

Easter was a good time, too. I managed to make it back home to Columbia for a weekend and party a bit for some birthday's and also take some family pictures which, believe it or not, came out really good. My family is way hot. I'm not boasting, I'm just saying that, y'know, if you're jealous, I understand. If I wasn't in my family I would be jealous, too.

This weekend marks the opening of Campbell University's newest theatrical production. Scapin which features Luke Custer, Jeff Enoch, and Monkey. You should go. I know I am.

Speaking of theatre, I've been cast in a show for Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy. I'll be performing in Wait Until Dark which was a broadway show before it was turned into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin in which she was nominated for an Academy Award. I'll be Sgt. Carlino, the crooked Italian cop who cons the blind protagonist into thinking he's her friend. I got type-casted. Am I upset? No. I love being Italian.

Next weekend, I think I'll go see Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe starring Ira David Wood III and Lynda Clark at Theatre in the Park. Anyone want to accompany me?

There are more things I could put here. Things like: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a really good book but so pretentious that I have a tough time wanting to continue, The Hayworth moved, the Custer filmed, the dog is deaf, and the sky is on fire. But, I won't put those things here. Maybe somewhere else....but where?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Grill, The Netflix, and The Tea (oh the tea...)

Haven't posted in a while so I figured I'd update a bit.

I love grilling. Do you have a grill? Does it use charcoal? Then you may be familiar with just the type of love I speak. Something about putting food over fire whilst holding a beer that just elates me inside. Of course, when grilling, elation is not an acceptable outward emotion for one to have. Externally, one is to be stoic and stolid, internally, well...that's your own business, and that's all part of the universal unwritten grill code. But that is all the secrets I shall share with you for now. If you'd like to know more about the secrets of the grill, see me at home. Bring fish.

Right now a song by Presidents of the United States of America just came up on iTunes shuffle. I've never heard it but it goes a little like this: "Everybody wants to be naked and famous." Hmm.........Do I? Really?

Since I got Netflix, my life has become much richer. Well, not financially richer, because they're sucking about $20/month out of my bank account, but that's because I love their service enough to make the donation. If you don't have Netflix, you're really missing out on life. I've seen over a dozen movies with it already including 2001: A Space Odyssey for the very first time. Yea, that's a weird movie. I think someone should tell me what they thought of it. What did it mean? And what's with the space fetus?

In the event that anyone reading this wasn't already awares, I love tea. I do. It's one of the most amazing things on the planet. Today, I've consumed three cups, all from different countries. First, I had Tulsi Green Tea, which is from India. Tulsi is also known as Holy Basil and is used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of headaches, stomach aches, heart disease, and various poisons. It's also a COX-2 inhibitor which means it's a good pain killer. Later, I had a cup of Vanilla Comoro which contains black tea from China. And only moments ago I finished a tasty cup of Rooibus Almond which is one of the most fantastic teas I've ever had the pleasure of sipping. Rooibus is the Afrikaans word for Red Bush and is actually a legume. If you have yet to discover the wonderful world of tea (apart from Lipton, which totally doesn't count) I highly encourage you to rush out and do so. You can thank me by inviting me over for tea.

Well, Papa John just arrived with a tasty Pineapple, Mushroom, Banana Pepper pizza for me to eat. That is what I'm going to do now. Between now and then, with then being some indeterminate time in the future when I shall update Ye Ol' Ego again, I'd just like to say,
"don't drive off the freeway."