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Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is future and the firewood past. You should understand that firewood is firewood, which fully includes past and future. Ash is ash, which fully includes future and past. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.

-Dogen, "Actualizing the Fundamental Point"
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Ghosts of Rwanda
Laura Lane, consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rawanda from Ghosts of Rwanda.

[Was] your gut feeling [that the killing] was a plan? Did that make you even more resolved to stay personally and to protect?

Oh, absolutely, because I felt very, very strongly that if there is someone who is planning this kind of evil, they need to know that there is also another group; that we, the Americans, will stand right here and stand against them. I felt very, very strongly about that, because otherwise they think they could get away with it, and that no one would notice that. This would just happen, and everyone would turn their back and let it happen. I didn't want to be a part of that. I wanted to be there to say, "This is wrong, and we're not going to let it continue."

Maybe [that's] hopelessly naïve. We were four people in an embassy and a very small embassy community, but I don't know. I think one person can make a difference, and maybe if we just saved one life, that was one life worth saving. Maybe we couldn't save everyone, but I would have rather stood there and stayed, and said, "I am going to stay, because it is worth that risk." In the end, the decision was taken out of my hands. I followed the orders and we evacuated overland.

When I went back to the State Department, I tried to do what I could to help in providing information, because how many Rwanda experts are there in the U.S. government? There's not that many, and I tried to maintain contact with any of the FSNs whose phone numbers I could still have. …

On that final convoy, were there [Rwandans] on that convoy?

There were. We had we had a convoy of over 100 vehicles with over 600 people, only nine Americans. Greg and I were the last two. The ambassador was at the front, and Chuck was in the vehicle just in front of ours. The rest were just Kenyans, Tanzanians, Germans, Belgians, French -- Anyone, because I was in communication with the other embassies, and some of the other embassies didn't have a plan to get their people out. …

We had a long line of cars, and yes, there were Rwandans in there. There were [Tutsis] in there, and in some cases there were Hutus. It's not like we chose sides. We chose people who wanted to live and who were not part of the violence; and not that we chose them, but they kind of came forward on their own, because not every Hutu was part of the violence. Not every [Tutsi] was part of the violence. Some of them were just ordinary people who wanted to raise their families, live their normal lives. So if they [made] it to our checkpoints, and we could hide them, we did. Some of them were -- We dubbed them "Americans for the day." You know what I mean? We made them honorary Americans so that they could be in the convoy. …
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There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks at Him and bad when it turns away from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demonic it will be if it rebels. It's not out of bad mice or bad fleas you make demons, but out of bad archangels.

The Great Divorce
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To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken...(but) the only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of and perturbations of love is Hell.

The Four Loves
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All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible...People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, he meant that we were to lay eggs.

Mere Christianity
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If we neglect our [demonic] duty, men will be not only contented but transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrises this morning, plum pudding this Christmas. ... Only by our incessant efforts is the demand for infinite, or unrhythmical, change kept up.

The Screwtape Letters
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Hence, nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.

The Screwtape Letters
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But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you've taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

The Case For Christianity
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From The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell on the power of Context
p. 162

..Walter Mischel argues that the human mind has a kind of "reducing valve" that "creates and maintains the perception of continuity even in the face of perpetual observed changes in actual behavior." He writes:

When we observe a woman who seems hostile and fiercely independent some of the time but passive, dependent and feminine on other occasions, our reducing valve usually makes us choose between the two syndromes. We decide that one pattern is in the service of the other, or that both are in the service of a third motive. She must be a really castrating lady with a facade of passivity - or perhaps she is a warm, passive-dependent woman with a surface defense of aggressiveness. But perhaps nature is bigger than our concepts and it is possible for the lady to be a hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, feminine, aggressive, warm, castrating person all-in-one. Of course which of these she is at any particular moment would not be random or capricious - it would depend on who she is with, when, how, and much, much more. But each of these aspects of her self may be a quite genuine and real aspect of her total being.

...Character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstance and context. The reason that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment.
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Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one...I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there is no Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.

Puddleglum the Marshwiggle, from The Silver Chair
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The Years of Rice and Salt
By Kim Stanley Robinson

Read more... )

i really, really want more people to read this book, so i can have someone to talk about it with!!! gr.

cs lewis

Jul. 1st, 2003 08:54 pm
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"I have always had a kind of longing for death...No, no, no, you don't understand. Not that kind of longing. It was when I was happiest that I longed most."

Till We Have Faces
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Alan Cumming: "There was quite a lot of gallows humor. Halle and I, we did a lot of me rubbing my tail up against her. I had a little stub. We have little tender moments. We said if we had babies they'd be bruised, because she's black and I'm blue."
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‘A warrior killed in battle could always go to the Happy Hunting Grounds. But where does an Indian laid low by an anthro go? To the library?…

The fundamental thesis of the anthropologist is that people are objects for observation, people are then considered objects for experimentation, for manipulation, and eventual extinction… After all, who can conceive of a food-gathering, berry-picking, semi-nomadic, fire-worshipping, high-plains-and-mountain-dwelling, horse-riding, canoe-toting, bead-using, pottery-making, ribbon-coveting, wickiup- sheltered people who began flourishing when Alfred Frump mentioned them in 1803 in his great work on Indians entitled Our Feathered Friends as real?’
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"'Father,' said I. 'You are right. It is fit that one should die for the people.'"

Till We Have Faces
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The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
Madeleine L'Engle, in New York Times, 1985

That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they've been all along.
Madeleine L'Engle, The Arm of the Starfish, 1965

It is the ability to choose which makes us human.
Madeleine L'Engle

I like the fact that in ancient Chinese art the great painters always included a deliberate flaw in their work: human creation is never perfect.
Madeleine L'Engle

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.
Madeleine L'Engle, "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art", 1980

Conversion for me was not a Damascus Road experience. I slowly moved into an intellectual acceptance of what my intuition had always known.
Madeleine L'Engle

We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love.
Madeleine L'Engle

Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.
Madeleine L'Engle


Mar. 21st, 2003 10:57 am
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children
Dwight David Eisenhower. US General and 34th president of the United States, 1890-1969
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During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form...The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. "What's the rumpus about?" he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity's unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, "Oh, that's easy. It's grace."

After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God's love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law--each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional.

~Philip Yancey, Do You Know What's So Amazing About Grace?
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dancing on bridges -- aurora levins morales

loving deeply across differences of culture is like being an immigrant again, now that i'm finally getting used to this place.
when you stop being a tourist and start to *live* in someone else's country, the real, deep differences become visible... you have to be willing to give up the comfort of knowing what to expect.
and if one of you comes from a more dangerous life and bloodier history than the other, the one who feels safer in the world has to ask over and over again, "tell me everything that has happened to you..." it's the only way to get through the wall of silence opressing the oppressed.
but after seven years together, the intensity of my tone of voice still sounds like anger to him, and i can barely detect he modulations in his, so i always think he's bored.
you buy me plaintains, i buy you black-eyed peas.
throughout the years, it was my father [who was jewish] who remembered exactly who all the morales, moure and diaz cousins were and what they did. he spoke high school latin to people until he learned enough spanish.
while my father cooked tostones, my mother yearned for blintzes and kosher dills, and made latkes for hannukah... she was proud of the jewish history of activism. she took it as a personal gift.... she used yiddish as if it were a new spice invented for puerto ricans like her, and she would laugh with pleasure and affection, shrugging the way her friends' mothers had in new york, whenever she heard jewish music.
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Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Looking Glass is dead. too-Hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are--perhpas freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.


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