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paulfrankspencer

paulfrankspencer

Joined July 2018

I write a little, but read a lot - bgfg77.com
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paulfrankspencer
Interior Castle | Teresa of Avila
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Find yourself a good and disillusioned mentor.

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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Some of the more abstract arguments lost me, and I don't agree with everything Kierkegaard suggested about faith, but I think he gets a ton really right, which (according to the introduction) was an important step in his time in contradicting Hegel's over-intellectualization of faith.

For anyone interested in what faith is and what faith isn't, this is a great read.

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paulfrankspencer

"For my own part I don't lack the courage to think a thought whole. No thought has frightened me so far. Should I ever come across one I hope I will at least have the honesty to say: 'This thought scares me, it stirs up something else in me so that I don't want to think it.'"

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paulfrankspencer

"It is great to give up one's desire, but greater to stick to it after having given it up; it is great to grasp hold of the eternal but greater to stick to the temporal after having given it up."

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paulfrankspencer
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Soli Deo gloria

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paulfrankspencer

"Who, though she could not transubstantiate
All states to gold, yet gilded every state,"

From a poem on the first anniversary of the death of a young girl. Donne goes a bit far in praising people generally, but this couplet is beautiful.

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paulfrankspencer
Poisonwood Bible | Barbara Kingsolver
Pickpick

This is a beautiful and convincingly honest account of one misguided missionary to the Congo and the horrible effects his zealously blind faith and the selfish interests of international actors have on his wife and 4 daughters. Truly a treasure of a novel.

But to suppose that this describes anything more than a tragic anecdote is to ignore global and continental trends in Africa. Religion isn't always so ugly and unsure.

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paulfrankspencer
Thoughts on Religious Experience | Archibald Alexander
Pickpick

I doubt this would interest anyone who is not a seasoned Christian actively living out a real faith, but for those who are it is a great look into the practicalities of the experience of faith and how it is manifest in the believer.

This book was especially fascinating to read having just finished Wise Blood. Timely and coincidental and serendipitous, if you believe in those things. Or maybe I was bound to read these back to back.

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paulfrankspencer
Wise Blood: A Novel | Flannery O'Connor
Pickpick

A fascinating and mysterious allegory of belief in God without faith in God. I'll be sitting with my thoughts on this one for a while, I think.

Quick, easy read. Worth the time if you like a puzzler.

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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry
Pickpick

This book is hard and wholesome as the rural life it displays. Berry understands the rhythms of life and death and how these are inextricably tied with the natural order and human nature. A worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in hearing a little homegrown wisdom.

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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry

"We belong to each other. After all these years. Doesn't that mean something?"

...

"I don't know what it means," he says finally. "I know what it's worth."

7 likes1 stack add
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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry

On Hiroshima being bombed:

"It has seemed to him that the years of violence have at last arrived at what, without his knowing it, they had been headed for, not by any human reason or motive or will but by the logic of violence itself."

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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry

"And all this worries me. There seems a possibility of pain in it."

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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry

"She sees now how free he leaves her. His love for her requires nothing of her, not even that she find it useful. He has simply made himself present."

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paulfrankspencer
A Place on Earth | Wendell Berry

"Well, Mat, what I've come about really ain't any of my business. I think it probably ain't any of yours either, really. But the reason I come is that if it ain't our business then it probably won't be anybody's."

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paulfrankspencer
An American Childhood | Annie Dillard
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#friyayintro @howjessreads
1. Loved reading about my hometown, Pittsburgh PA, and Annie's experience growing up here.
2. Too warm. Need fall.
3. Blind date set up by my aunt. Just 0 connection.
4. I am responsible for myself and that's it. I don't even have plants.
5. My Friday the 13th wish is to see @SailorMoon return to us and share her informed opinions on books once again. I hope she is well.

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paulfrankspencer
Social Creature: A Novel | Tara Isabella Burton
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A few of those I follow post about #witchy things. I have been fascinated by the rise of these interests, where they come from, how sincere the beliefs are, and just why.

The link below is for an “orthodox“ Christian podcast. Here, they interview Tara Isabella Burton to discuss the rise of modern occultism.

I would love to hear opinions/rebuttals. I'm very curious about all this. Looking at you @monalyisha, and any others!
https://bit.ly/2m7tG2V

monalyisha My life is sorta nutty right now (switching jobs, starting grad classes), but if I find some spare time, I‘d be happy to listen/discuss! 2mo
monalyisha I *can* speak a little bit to the question of whether “witchy” beliefs are sincere...at least on a personal level. For me, it‘s less about religious *belief* & more about power dynamics (especially along gender lines), intentionality, nature appreciation, &, I‘ll admit it, aesthetic. I grew up loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Practical Magic, & I‘m content to let life imitate art. I think those things (gender, art, beauty) are important, though! 2mo
paulfrankspencer @monalyisha I'm sure every single person will have a different POV. I know you don't speak for everyone. That said, this is exactly the kind of detail I'm interested in. The podcast touches on elements of your reply. Thank you for taking the time to respond. 2mo
3 likes3 comments
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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

I'd say a minority of the collected poems are properly "sabbath poems;" however, in typical Berry fashion, all are brimming with earthly wisdom and profound peace with place. What a joy to read.

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paulfrankspencer
Seamless Succession | Dr Jay Passavant
Pickpick

I wouldn't expect anyone on Litsy to pick this up. Really only applicable for those going through a leadership transition in a religious organization, church or otherwise.

However, it was very affirming to hear my old pastor reveal the inner workings of what made a transition I experienced personally so smooth and unanxious. Truly inspiring to know my spiritual leaders are so grounded, wise, and gracious.

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paulfrankspencer
Seamless Succession | Dr Jay Passavant

"When we skip over celebrating something God has done in our midst, we're that much closer to forgetting. When we forget who He is, we cannot help but forget who we are as a result."
#ebenezer

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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Know much about Christianity? You sure?

McLaughlin's approach to apologetics is easy and accessible. For the religious or secular fundamentalist and all those who haven't spared faith much thought besides what can be captured in a tweet, this book will surely open your eyes.

A fresh perspective is sometimes all it takes to shake up those old assumptions and to make you consider a topic you thought you figured out long ago.

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paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

Meador gives believers the opportunity to share a common vision that will contribute to the common good, true human flourishing. All Christians should be able to agree with his conclusions, for they are ultimately the basics of Christian life.

Full review here: https://www.bgfg77.com/2019/08/13/review-of-in-search-of-the-common-good-jake-me...

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paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

New review is up on my blog, the first book review I've written: https://www.bgfg77.com/2019/07/30/review-of-the-possibility-of-america-david-dar...

It was a pleasure to read this book, write the review, and interact a bit with the author on Twitter. I've never read anything like this. It's lyrical and literate in ways no other cultural commentary is.

A lovely read.

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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Awesome book!

If you're not a follower of Christ, this would probably be a big waste of time, but for those who are trying to go deeper and are frustrated by not experiencing the transcendent reality described by the giants of our faith, this is for you.

Very practical advice on accessing the very impractical and supernatural and profoundly beautiful life God desires for all of us.

But make sure you're ready. The homework is significant.

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paulfrankspencer
Tuesdays with Morrie | Mitch Albom
Mehso-so

I can see why it was popular however many years ago, but I didn't find anything especially revelatory here. Interesting to hear one man's take on life and death, but I find this less than an authoritative text.

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paulfrankspencer
Saturday | Ian McEwan
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I enjoyed Atonement and loved it's literary quality, but I felt Saturday lacked something. It felt like McEwan was trying a little too hard, trying to create literature instead of just creating literature.

But I can't put my finger on the book's faults, so it's probably just in my head and not actually a real thing.

Overall, a respectable modern novel.

MommyWantsToReadHerBook I just found it a very stressful read! 4mo
paulfrankspencer @MommyWantsToReadHerBook It did seem like a foreboding promised travesty on the next page the whole way through. Very tense. 4mo
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paulfrankspencer
Marvelous Light | Paul Frank Spencer
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Apparently it's my Litsyversary. How the time flies! A year already!

Celebrate with me by buying my book and promising yourself you'll read the whole thing no matter how intellectually-challenging or brain-numbing it is.

And/or...

Read a classic for me. There are tons of great old books out there.

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy
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This is Literature.

Tolstoy paints scenes well enough and develops the plot sufficiently (important for a 750 page book), but his real talent lies in understanding and describing the inner lives of his characters. The motivations, thoughts, and interactions are so real and so incredibly varied.

Glad I finally got around to it.

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"He could only think of her as triumphant, successful in her menace of a wholly useless remorse never to be effaced."

With 30 pages left, that about sums it up.

Leftcoastzen Such a great book . 5mo
paulfrankspencer @Leftcoastzen Having now finished it, I can definitively say, "Yep." 5mo
11 likes2 comments
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"Lord have mercy on us!... He repeated the words that for some reason came suddenly to his lips. And he, an unbeliever, repeated these words not with his lips only. At that instant he knew that all his doubts, even the impossibility of believing with his reason, of which he was aware in himself, did not in the least hinder his turning to God... To whom was he to turn if not to Him in whose hands he felt himself, his soul, and his love?"

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"The sun had fully risen, though unseen behind the storm-clouds. The moon had lost all of its luster, and was like a white cloud in the sky. Not a single star could be seen. The sedge, silvery with dew before, now shone like gold. The stagnant pools were all like amber. The blue of the grass had changes to yellow-green."

Part VI Chapter XII is an excellent morning scene in the country. Tolstoy lacks nothing in description.

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"A wife is a care, but it's worse when she's not a wife."

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"Countess Lidia Ivanovna usually wrote some two or three letters a day to Alexey Alexandrovitch. She enjoyed that form of communication, which gave opportunity for a refinement and air of mystery not afforded by their personal interviews."

19th century texting

batsy I think that's why I love writing. At least one can make an attempt at "a refinement and air of mystery", both of which are wholly absent in my awkward social interactions ? 5mo
paulfrankspencer @batsy I used to feel that way about texting. That it afforded me the chance to slow down and say something witty or smart or nuanced. Now I probably prefer face-to-face communication because of the non-verbals and the speed at which one can clarify themselves, which is wholly lacking from social media, unfortunately. 5mo
batsy You're so right. Now that we live text-saturated lives I've come to see the value of face-to-face interaction and being able to gauge a person's body language (no matter how awkward it might be). 5mo
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"The hotel... was one of those provincial hotels which are constructed on the newest model of modern improvements, with the best intentions of cleanliness, comfort, and even elegance, but owing to the public that patronizes them, are with astounding rapidity transformed into filthy taverns with a pretension of modern improvement that only makes them worse than the old-fashioned, honestly filthy hotels."
???

paulfrankspencer I recently stayed at a brand new Holiday Inn Express. I get it. 5mo
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"Levin had been married three months. He was happy, but not at all in the way he had expected to be... On entering upon family life he saw at every step... what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat. He saw it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly... that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult."

This is a classic for a reason.

Severnmeadows Levin - possibly my favourite character in literature? 5mo
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"Twenty years ago he would have found in that literature traces of conflict... He would have perceived from this conflict that there was something else; but now he comes at once upon a literature in which the old creeds do not even furnish matter for discussion, but it is stated baldly that there is nothing else - evolution, natural selection, struggle for existence - and that's all..."

Ah, the old conservative in me appreciates this rant.

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

I'm glad I attended two Orthodox weddings last year (albeit Greek and Eastern, not Russian). I understood the wedding scene completely!

paulfrankspencer Fascinating to see how traditional ceremonies change so little over time. 5mo
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"He saw nothing but death or the advance towards death in everything. But his cherished scheme only engrossed him the more. Life had to be got through somehow till death did come. Darkness had fallen upon everything for him; but just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the darkness was his work, and he clutched it and clung to it with all his strength."

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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"No, you're a lucky man! You've got everything you like..."
"Perhaps because I rejoice in what I have, and don't fret for what I haven't..."

I think this is probably a meme or a bumper sticker somewhere. Or something like it, at least.

Ericalambbrown Definitely one of those inspirational memes or classroom posters with generically peaceful nature photography. 5mo
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paulfrankspencer
Anna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

"He resolved from that day he would give up hoping for any extraordinary happiness, such as marriage must have given him, and consequently he would not disdain what he really had. Secondly, he would never again let himself give way to low passion, the memory of which had so tortured him when he had been making up his mind to make an offer [of marriage]."

Ugh, I feel that in the lower moments.

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paulfrankspencer
Intrepid's Last Case | William Stevenson
Panpan

Before she died, my grandma gave me this book out of the many hundreds in her house. It's like she was bequeathing it to me. Not sure why. Really not sure.
If you're super interested in spy stuff, it might be an interesting read, but I found it exhausting. With all the agent/double agent, missing secret reports, and alternative history, this might as well be entirely fictional. I cannot verify one shred of the truth after reading the book.

paulfrankspencer I learned: suspect everyone. 6mo
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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas
Pickpick

Unlike Man in the Iron Mask, Monte Cristo's intrigue and curious subtlety followed the whole way through the book. Entertaining from top to bottom, with sufficient philosophy of justice to really make you think. This is a classic that will stay with you.

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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas

"Live and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that, until the day comes when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these words: Wait and hope!"

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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas

Love the use of "adorable" in the B&N translation. Used less as just "cute" and more as "adore-able."

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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas

"Morrel started off at a rapid pace. He was thirty-one years of age and was urged on by love; Barrois was sixty and parched with the heat. On arriving at the house, Morrel was not even out of breath, for love lends wings; but Barrois had not been in love for many long years and was bathed in perspiration."

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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas

"He was small and slender; his skin was of that whiteness generally found with auburn-haired children, yet a mass of rebellious black hair covered his rounded forehead."

...

Rude...

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paulfrankspencer
The Count of Monte Cristo | Alexander Dumas

"Danglars alone felt no pang of remorse or restlessness... He was one of those calculating men who are born with a pen behind their ears and an inkpot in place of a heart. He went to bed at the usual hour and slept peacefully."
Reflecting on this very unique quote... Anyone care to offer some analytical perspective?

Velvetfur Ummmm......possibly the description of a psychopath....? (I'm no expert on these kind of things and I haven't read that book!) 6mo
paulfrankspencer @Velvetfur I figure it's something of the sort. It's just such a curious metaphor. I'm not sure what to make of the depiction. 6mo
Velvetfur @paulfrankspencer It sounds like someone who isn't trouble by deep thoughts on an emotional level, hence the lack of trouble sleeping - nothing's bothering him in an emotional sense. So, a psychopath then! 😊 6mo
See All 6 Comments
BigHappiness Thinking this reflects that Danglars is a schemer, he doesn‘t feel, he plots. I think he‘s less “psychopath” and more narcissist or conniver, and a jealous sort who will stop at none to see his evil plans hatched. His concerns are for himself alone, and he doesn‘t like Edmond Dantès from the get-go, so it was an easy thing for him to plot against him. 6mo
paulfrankspencer @BigHappiness I imagine that's closer to the original intention. The pen and ink in place of natural organs/development may be an older way of visualizing a schemer. What do you think the modern-day equivalent would be? 6mo
BigHappiness Modern-Day: Danglars is just a Hater. 😜 He‘s like that person in the bar always being a one-upper, or the silent-person-by-day/internet-troll by night. Unless you mean modern by device, and then probably it would be a smartphone connected to social media, did someone say hashtag feed wars? Tongue in cheek: How else can one continue to employ so much hatred, unless they‘re constantly worried about what everyone else is up to... 6mo
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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

A beautiful depiction of the cost of love. I'm not sure if I'd agree with Mr. Courtney's theology, as he expresses little of it in this book. Preemptive Love is about God's love, expressed through the life of Christ and the Word of God. Iraqis deserve love as much as we Americans do. God does not forget this, though our prejudices might.

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paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Tyler WS presents a vision of peace in light of the victory already gifted to us through Christ. Because the Kingdom of God is at hand, we don't have to toil under the weight of global responsibility, but can instead work joyfully and dutifully in pursuit of human flourishing. A refreshing, practical, and uplifting analysis of Christian activism.

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paulfrankspencer

"The contours of the coming kingdom call to us from the future, like the memory of a reality that doesn't yet exist. When we respond to this call, the present is shaped as an echo or shadow or trace of what will be."

This is poetry. And deals with a topic I studied in depth for my book, Marvelous Light. Just as scientists understand in the quantum realm, in the Kingdom of God we are entangled with our future.