Lost within the witch’s woods,
The darkened woods, the wicked woods,
Lost within the witch’s woods
Where few shall follow after.
Somber are the witch’s woods,
The vilest woods, corrupted woods.
Somber are the witch’s woods.
I fear the sound of laughter.
Save me from the witch’s woods,
The stony woods, the dying woods.
Save me from the witch’s woods
And all who follow after.
Set me free to Aslan’s woods,
To living woods and thriving woods.
Set me free to Aslan’s woods,
And change these woods hereafter.
Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
We want but are not satisfied in gain,
And so we gain new wants to add to old.
This futile journey is an old refrain
Of wants too weak to trust the Story told.
“Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee,”
The saint once wrote, and still his words resound.
They ring from Africa across the sea,
True both on foreign and familiar ground.
For we were wrought to reckon with our ends,
To know the purpose t’ward which passion points:
Temp’ral desires call for that which transcends;
What leads to life divides marrow and joints.
O LORD, align our wanting with your will,
And turn our hearts to you and so fulfill.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
The quoted line above refers to a line from Augustine’s Confessions.
My friend Atley and I watched Brightburn on Saturday (warning: spoilers ahead). We both enjoyed the movie, but we noticed that the movie left us feeling a bit gross. Granted, that’s not uncommon for horror movies, especially in an age when the horror genre seems to lean heavily on gratuitous violence or sexual content to capture attention. I typically don’t enjoy (or view) such movies. But Brightburn was different. While Atley and I pointed to a few instances of unnecessary gore in the movie, Brightburn left us uncomfortable not because of what it included but because of what it lacked.
James encourages Christians to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). A brief scroll through the average believer’s social media feed may suggest that we as Christ followers struggle to apply James’s teaching. We can be quick to anger when we read something disagreeable, quick to speak our mind on the matter, and slow to truly hear any alternate or opposing position. Our passions appear to be very much at war within the body (James 4:1), and the casualties of war extend beyond the church to the lost world watching us fight.
I watched The Exorcist in high school. While I watched movies often in those days, especially action/adventure movies and comedies, I hadn’t yet explored much in the realm of horror. The movie left an impression on me that remains to this day, though not because the movie itself scared me. No, I remember The Exorcist because, around the viewing of the film, I was told stories of real life events that inspired parts of the story. The story of The Exorcist forced me to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare, the existence of actual demons. The film reminded me that we face a very real, very evil enemy.
In chapter fifteen of The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape writes to Wormwood that humans must be made to look to the future and must be kept from any focus upon eternity or upon the present. Screwtape, a wiser, older demon than Wormwood, explains that “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” (1). By keeping humans focused on the future they will be kept away from the designs of the Enemy, who desires humans to focus upon the present, upon eternity, upon himself, and upon their present work.
I remember finding a used copy of A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis in a back room of a house-turned-flea-market in Natchitoches, Louisiana while I was in college. The price was less than two dollars, I think. I was beginning to venture into the world of Christian thought, and my hunger for truth was strong and wild. Lewis’ name rang a bell in my mind, recalling memories of his Narnia stories. A Grief Observed, if memory serves me well, was my first taste of his nonfiction. I hadn’t a clue what that short book would do to me.
Have you ever felt that you could not, in good conscience, sing a specific worship song?
And thank you, Mister Lewis.
As I above your pages blink,
Your words encourage me to think,
To follow you right to the brink
Where truth can pierce right through us.
Yes, thank you, Mister Lewis.
And thank you, Mister Tolkien,
For he who finds you on these shelves
Will soon encounter orcs and elves.
Still my imagination delves
Into your stories so keen.
Yes, thank you, Mister Tolkien.
And thank you, Edgar Allan,
For books that bear the mark of Poe,
Though oft macabre, still serve to show
A master’s mixture: beauty, woe.
I feel the raven’s talon.
Yes, thank you, Edgar Allan.
And thank you, Mister Shakespeare.
Iambic pentameter tells
Your tales, and each with grandeur swells.
Of deaths and weddings, blood and bells,
You speak, and I lend my ear.
Yes, thank you, Mister Shakespeare.
C. S. Lewis penned something that has long confused me. In Mere Christianity, one of his most influential works, he wrote,
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
While I don’t disagree with him, I’ve never truly understood what he was getting at. I always wrestled with his point here, trying to accept it without truly comprehending it. But recently, I think it’s begun to dawn on me. Continue reading