Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Mystical Realms Newsletter for January, 2008

Expand Messages
  • jef.murray
    Greetings! Happy New Year and welcome to my newsletter for January, 2008! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 9 7:39 AM
      Greetings!

      Happy New Year and welcome to my newsletter for January, 2008! Please
      feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in
      keeping up with me. To receive these newsletters regularly, please
      drop me an email or subscribe online at:
      http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of new
      paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.


      Epiphanies =========

      I'm in the waiting room at the courthouse annex. Two probate court
      clerks have lines of folks in front of them: one for weddings, the
      other for pistol licenses.

      The weddings are losing this afternoon.

      Lorraine and I live in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Decatur
      reminds me of Hobbiton. It's known to be a safe place to live in, with
      a "small town" feel to it. There are flocks of families, most
      reasonably well off, but not what you'd think of as rich. Now and
      again a patrol car lazes through our streets, and we wave at the
      officers as they pass by.

      This is all by way of lulling you to sleep. Because, in reality,
      Decatur is no less a haven for evil than anywhere else. Looks can
      bamboozle.

      A 24-year old woman disappeared north of Atlanta on New Year's Day
      this year, and her body was just found. She was abducted and beaten to
      death, then left in Dawson Forest, a remote tract about an hour's
      drive from Blood Mountain. They've got the murderer, but that doesn't
      make me breathe any easier.

      The truth is that our whole world is steeped in evil. C.S. Lewis
      nailed it in his "Screwtape Letters": there are plenty of Wormwoods
      and Slubgobs out there, and many aren't content just getting people to
      commit a few venial sins. The ambitious demons goad folks to deeds
      that not only damn them, but also fill the rest of us with dread.

      In the Lord of the Rings, all of Hobbiton was paralyzed by Saruman and
      just a few dozen of the Big Folk. Why? Because, after a few killings,
      everyone became too fearful to fight. They shut their doors and tried
      to blot out the bad stuff. The good folks locked themselves in, and
      those who had consented to evil were free to do as they pleased.

      This is a whole lot of unpleasantness. Turning the other cheek is OK
      in theory, but if evil is real, and if we want to spare the "least of
      these" some of the vast suffering available for the dispensing, aren't
      we obliged to kick up a fuss?

      C. S. Lewis thought so. In his essay `Why I am not a Pacifist," he
      methodically lays out the moral need to resist evil. Thomas Aquinas,
      likewise, helped to define what a "just war" was. And if a saint says
      we should defend the innocent, who am I to argue?

      I don't live in medieval times. Like it or not, I'm pinned to the 21st
      century like a moth to a mounting board. I've got a friend who denies
      she's living in the here and now; she takes fencing lessons and claims
      she can protect herself if need be. But a foil will fail you in a
      pinch. And if they're coming over the walls, give me a 12-gauge.

      Believe it or not, what all of this boils down to is the nature of
      hope. J.R.R. Tolkien described the Catholic worldview as a "long
      defeat". That is, the Christian believes that things will continue
      getting worse and worse here on planet earth until the final days.
      But, that doesn't mean we can just hole up and wait things out. There
      are plenty of Sarumans still out there, plenty of Slubgobs and
      Screwtapes. And they may win a lot of skirmishes over the next months
      and years and even centuries, but they've already lost the war.

      In the mean time, there will be plenty of opportunities for some of us
      to fend off the next murderer in the woods.

      So, here I sit waiting my turn in the pistol packer's line. It may not
      be as compelling as having a human skull sitting on my desktop, but
      thoughts about life and death come packaged with a Glock right
      alongside the instruction manual.

      And it seems to me that mulling over the final things, the important
      things, in life, is as hope-filled an activity as any I know.


      Eru laita ar tiralyƫ (may God bless and watch thee)

      Jef


      Events =========

      - I have five new paintings posted on my website. These include two
      new Tolkien images, two religious works, and one newwildlife
      silhouette. You can see these by clicking on the following links. Do
      let me know what you think of these!

      o "Many Paths to Tread" -
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/tolkien/388_Many_paths_to_tread.html

      o "Outlandish Folk" -
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/tolkien/390_Outlandish_folk.html

      o "Queen of Heaven" -
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sacred/387_Queen_of_heaven.html

      o "Proclaiming the Kingdom" -
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sacred/391_Proclaiming_the_kingdom.html

      o "Great Blue Heron" -
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/wildlife/386_Great_blue_heron.html

      - The first-ever Heren Istarion Shire Reckoning calendar (see
      http://www.JefMurray.com for details) is now out, and looks great! It
      features paintings by Ted Nasmith, Catherine Sparsidis, and myself,
      with full colour Middle Earth images and B&W sketches for each month.
      This will definitely be a collectors' item, and I'd encourage
      interested folk to snag one ASAP.

      - The first-ever issue of Silver Leaves, the journal of the White Tree
      Fund (see http://www.whitetreefund.org/ ) features my painting of
      "Amon Hen" as its cover image (see
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/tolkien/195_Amon_hen.html
      ). This is a lovely inaugural issue of a journal that includes
      scholarly articles, fiction, and artwork. Well worth a look!

      - I feel greatly honoured to have been asked to develop the logo for
      the MythCon 39, the Mythopoeic Society's annual conference, scheduled
      for August 15-18th, 2008 at Central Connecticut State University. You
      can see the logo at:
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sketches/Sketch_mythcon39_logo.html
      . For more information on the Mythopoeic Society or the convention,
      visit http://www.mythsoc.org .

      - I am delighted to have been named a guest of honour at the upcoming
      Tolkien celebration, "A Long-Expected Party" (ALEP) in Kentucky in
      September, 2008. I was also asked to develop one of the logos used for
      the event. You can see it on my website at:
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sketches/Sketch_ALEP_logo.html
      . The official website for ALEP (and registration info) can be found
      at: http://www.alongexpectedparty.org/ .
    • John D Rateliff
      ... Um, do I really need to point out that the whole turn the other cheek thing was a direct instruction from Jesus Christ himself? And that when Peter tried
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 9 4:39 PM
        On Jan 9, 2008, at 7:39 AM, jef.murray wrote:
        > Turning the other cheek is OK in theory, but if evil is real, and
        > if we want to spare the "least of these" some of the vast suffering
        > available for the dispensing, aren't we obliged to kick up a fuss?
        >
        > C. S. Lewis thought so. In his essay `Why I am not a Pacifist," he
        > methodically lays out the moral need to resist evil. Thomas
        > Aquinas, likewise, helped to define what a "just war" was. And if a
        > saint says we should defend the innocent, who am I to argue?

        Um, do I really need to point out that the whole 'turn the other
        cheek' thing was a direct instruction from Jesus Christ himself? And
        that when Peter tried to meet force with force, Christ told him to
        knock it off in no uncertain terms? CSL and Aquinas may win some over
        by claiming that Jesus didn't really know what he was talking about
        (this seems to be Gov. Huckabee's position re. the death sentence),
        but I'm not buying it.

        --John R.
        Christian, therefore Pacifist



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        ... Do you really think _that_ is either CSL s or Aquinas s claim? (I.e., that Jesus didn t really know what he was talking about ?) Or could it perhaps be
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 9 5:46 PM
          On Jan 9, 2008, at 7:39 PM, John D Rateliff wrote:
          > Um, do I really need to point out that the whole 'turn the other
          > cheek' thing was a direct instruction from Jesus Christ himself? And
          > that when Peter tried to meet force with force, Christ told him to
          > knock it off in no uncertain terms? CSL and Aquinas may win some over
          > by claiming that Jesus didn't really know what he was talking about
          >

          Do you really think _that_ is either CSL's or Aquinas's claim? (I.e.,
          that "Jesus didn't really know what he was talking about"?) Or could
          it perhaps be that CSL and Aquinas don't think that what is right and
          admirable when chosen as a personal response to personal threat, is
          either right or admirable when it comes to defending _others_ from
          threats? (Which, you know, is pretty much the _purpose_ of
          government.) In other words, do you think Jesus enjoins us not to
          defend others? If so, do you think that Jesus meant that governments
          should not defend their citizens?

          Carl
        • John D Rateliff
          ... I m afraid I ve never read Lewis s essay ( Why I Am Not a Pacifist ), though I m now going to search out a copy so I can read his argument for myself. I ve
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 9 11:44 PM
            On Jan 9, 2008, at 5:46 PM, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
            > Do you really think _that_ is either CSL's or Aquinas's claim? (I.e.,
            > that "Jesus didn't really know what he was talking about"?) Or could
            > it perhaps be that CSL and Aquinas don't think that what is right and
            > admirable when chosen as a personal response to personal threat, is
            > either right or admirable when it comes to defending _others_ from
            > threats? (Which, you know, is pretty much the _purpose_ of
            > government.) In other words, do you think Jesus enjoins us not to
            > defend others? If so, do you think that Jesus meant that governments
            > should not defend their citizens?

            I'm afraid I've never read Lewis's essay ("Why I Am Not a Pacifist'),
            though I'm now going to search out a copy so I can read his argument
            for myself. I've also not read Aquinas, and don't know where within
            his voluminous works he discusses this topic, nor the details of how
            he reaches his conclusion.
            With that caveat, it's right and admirable to defend others from
            harm (especially by offering yourself in place of another). I am
            dubious that this is 'the purpose of government' (i.e., that
            governments arose from such benign and altruistic motives). The
            example of Peter, who is rebuked for meeting violence with violence
            in order to protect an innocent man from torture and death, seems
            pretty emphatic that, so far as the gospel is concerned, there is no
            'good violence'. Obviously, the majority of Christians have disagreed
            with this interpretation, so Lewis is firmly in the majority here.

            --JDR
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            ... I didn t say that governments arose for this purpose (though many did, at least in part). I said this _is_ (pretty much) the purpose of government:
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 10 5:52 AM
              On Jan 10, 2008, at 2:44 AM, John D Rateliff wrote:
              > I am dubious that this is 'the purpose of government' (i.e., that
              > governments arose from such benign and altruistic motives).
              >

              I didn't say that governments "arose" for this purpose (though many
              did, at least in part). I said this _is_ (pretty much) the purpose of
              government: present tense, and in the specific context of this
              discussion concerning CSL and Aquinas. It has certainly been the
              primary purpose of esp. democratic governments. Tolkien also saw it as
              a primary purpose of (legitimate) monarchies.

              > The example of Peter, who is rebuked for meeting violence with
              > violence in order to protect an innocent man from torture and death,
              >

              Is that all Jesus was? Is that all Peter was doing here? Peter was
              earlier, and more forcefully, rebuked for simply urging Jesus not to
              see through his mission of dying for our sins. ("Get thee behind me,
              Satan!") Isn't that what Peter was doing here, too?

              > seems pretty emphatic that, so far as the gospel is concerned, there
              > is no 'good violence'.
              >

              Have you read Revelations? In light of which, it is well to remember
              that Jesus also said "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a
              sword". Now, one can argue that Jesus was not speaking of a literal
              sword (I would make the same argument) but no matter how you interpret
              it, it is clear that Jesus's message was not simply one of "peace".

              Carl
            • John D Rateliff
              Hi Carl Afraid I ll have to wait to respond until I have a chance to find and read CSL s piece, or else we ll drift entirely off-topic. --JDR
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 10 8:57 PM
                Hi Carl
                Afraid I'll have to wait to respond until I have a chance to find and
                read CSL's piece, or else we'll drift entirely off-topic.
                --JDR


                On Jan 10, 2008, at 5:52 AM, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
                > I didn't say that governments "arose" for this purpose (though many
                > did, at least in part). I said this _is_ (pretty much) the purpose of
                > government: present tense, and in the specific context of this
                > discussion concerning CSL and Aquinas. It has certainly been the
                > primary purpose of esp. democratic governments. Tolkien also saw it as
                > a primary purpose of (legitimate) monarchies.

                > Is that all Jesus was? Is that all Peter was doing here? Peter was
                > earlier, and more forcefully, rebuked for simply urging Jesus not to
                > see through his mission of dying for our sins. ("Get thee behind me,
                > Satan!") Isn't that what Peter was doing here, too?

                > Have you read Revelations? In light of which, it is well to remember
                > that Jesus also said "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a
                > sword". Now, one can argue that Jesus was not speaking of a literal
                > sword (I would make the same argument) but no matter how you interpret
                > it, it is clear that Jesus's message was not simply one of "peace".
              • Lynn Maudlin
                I think you re falling into the other extreme, John-- Yes, Jesus told Peter that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword - but He also told them But
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 11 1:24 AM
                  I think you're falling into the other extreme, John-- Yes, Jesus told
                  Peter that 'he who lives by the sword will die by the sword' - but He
                  also told them "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along,
                  likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and
                  buy one." (Luke 22:36)

                  The 'turn the other cheek' instruction is personal and not corporate
                  (it doesn't apply to nations or armies or police) and it does *not*
                  mean 'allow the person to kill you, if they so desire' - it's
                  specifically allowing a slapped cheek to slapped again. And I think
                  there's some real truth to the following anecdote:

                  A successful Irish boxer was converted and became a preacher. He
                  happened to be in a new town setting up his evangelistic tent when a
                  couple of tough thugs noticed what he was doing. Knowing nothing of
                  his background, they made a few insulting remarks. The Irishman merely
                  turned and looked at them. Pressing his luck, one of the bullies took
                  a swing and struck a glancing blow on one side of the ex-boxer's face.
                  He shook it off and said nothing as he turned the other cheek. The
                  fellow took another glancing blow on the other side. At that point the
                  preacher swiftly took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and
                  announced, "The Lord gave me not further instructions."

                  And considering that Jesus Himself is pictured in violent and military
                  terms frequently throughout scripture (both Hebrew and NT), I just
                  don't think it's a 'one-size-fits-all' equation, you know?

                  -- Lynn --

                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Jan 9, 2008, at 7:39 AM, jef.murray wrote:
                  > > Turning the other cheek is OK in theory, but if evil is real, and
                  > > if we want to spare the "least of these" some of the vast suffering
                  > > available for the dispensing, aren't we obliged to kick up a fuss?
                  > >
                  > > C. S. Lewis thought so. In his essay `Why I am not a Pacifist," he
                  > > methodically lays out the moral need to resist evil. Thomas
                  > > Aquinas, likewise, helped to define what a "just war" was. And if a
                  > > saint says we should defend the innocent, who am I to argue?
                  >
                  > Um, do I really need to point out that the whole 'turn the other
                  > cheek' thing was a direct instruction from Jesus Christ himself? And
                  > that when Peter tried to meet force with force, Christ told him to
                  > knock it off in no uncertain terms? CSL and Aquinas may win some over
                  > by claiming that Jesus didn't really know what he was talking about
                  > (this seems to be Gov. Huckabee's position re. the death sentence),
                  > but I'm not buying it.
                  >
                  > --John R.
                  > Christian, therefore Pacifist
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • kittycrowe@aol.com
                  Lynn - What a great story!? I love the final comeback line! Thank you! -Kitty ;-) ... From: Lynn Maudlin To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 11 8:41 AM
                    Lynn -

                    What a great story!? I love the final "comeback" line!


                    Thank you!



                    -Kitty ;-)


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Lynn Maudlin <lynnmaudlin@...>
                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 1:24 am
                    Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms . . .

                    The 'turn the other cheek' instruction is personal and not corporate
                    (it doesn't apply to nations or armies or police) and it does *not*
                    mean 'allow the person to kill you, if they so desire' - it's
                    specifically allowing a slapped cheek to slapped again. And I think
                    there's some real truth to the following anecdote:

                    ???? A successful Irish boxer was converted and became a preacher. He
                    happened to be in a new town setting up his evangelistic tent when a
                    couple of tough thugs noticed what he was doing. Knowing nothing of
                    his background, they made a few insulting remarks. The Irishman merely
                    turned and looked at them. Pressing his luck, one of the bullies took
                    a swing and struck a glancing blow on one side of the ex-boxer's face.
                    He shook it off and said nothing as he turned the other cheek. The
                    fellow took another glancing blow on the other side. At that point the
                    preacher swiftly took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and
                    announced, "The Lord gave me not further instructions."?

                    ? -- Lynn --


                    ________________________________________________________________________
                    More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail ! - http://webmail.aol.com


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Lynn Maudlin
                    Thanks, Kitty {grin} Jason, I d love to respond and discuss but She Who Must Be Obeyed has spoken and it behooves us to remember the guidelines of the list.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 12 2:24 PM
                      Thanks, Kitty {grin} Jason, I'd love to respond and discuss but She
                      Who Must Be Obeyed has spoken and it behooves us to remember the
                      guidelines of the list.

                      Although, if we look at it as the *Christian Myth*, we would fall
                      under the Society's genres of Myth and Fantasy rubric... {double grin}.

                      -- Lynn --

                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, kittycrowe@... wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Lynn -
                      >
                      > What a great story!? I love the final "comeback" line!
                      >
                      >
                      > Thank you!
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > -Kitty ;-)
                      >
                      >
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Lynn Maudlin <lynnmaudlin@...>
                      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      > Sent: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 1:24 am
                      > Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms . . .
                      >
                      > The 'turn the other cheek' instruction is personal and not corporate
                      > (it doesn't apply to nations or armies or police) and it does *not*
                      > mean 'allow the person to kill you, if they so desire' - it's
                      > specifically allowing a slapped cheek to slapped again. And I think
                      > there's some real truth to the following anecdote:
                      >
                      > ???? A successful Irish boxer was converted and became a preacher. He
                      > happened to be in a new town setting up his evangelistic tent when a
                      > couple of tough thugs noticed what he was doing. Knowing nothing of
                      > his background, they made a few insulting remarks. The Irishman merely
                      > turned and looked at them. Pressing his luck, one of the bullies took
                      > a swing and struck a glancing blow on one side of the ex-boxer's face.
                      > He shook it off and said nothing as he turned the other cheek. The
                      > fellow took another glancing blow on the other side. At that point the
                      > preacher swiftly took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and
                      > announced, "The Lord gave me not further instructions."?
                      >
                      > ? -- Lynn --
                      >
                      >
                      > ________________________________________________________________________
                      > More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail ! -
                      http://webmail.aol.com
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.