All posts for the month May, 2010
Posted by unknowing on May 31, 2010
Just got the latest Time of Nick.
As an unrelated observation, I wonder about the poetic merits of the line:
“And on the eyeballs of the blind
To pour celestial day.”
The focus of attention on the eyeballs doesn’t seem right, you know? for all they’re blind.
Posted by unknowing on May 28, 2010
It’s almost a year since I last drove a car . . . it was a Dodge station wagon on steroids, or a sort of shrunken SUV, and ideal for what we were doing those last days: trying to donate the desk to Bibles for Missions Thrift Store, hauling books to be sold, etc. I remember filling it up with gas at the gas station and throwing away my sun glasses before driving the last bit.
Don’t drive, don’t need them.
Threw away an awful lot of stuff besides the sun glasses, but they were kind of the last thing to go. There is a landfill in Minnesota with all my files, the thrift stores of the area surely have not finished selling all our goods, and elsewhere in the USA—I’m thinking Granite Falls, MN and Dallas, TX—our former stuff is carrying on its existence. Our former stuff: it reminds me that we had a lot of towels.
And you know, of all life’s comforts, it seems the cloth ones are the ones I value most. I had a lot of cardigans, we had a lot of blankets, and we had some fine, good table cloths. Ten years of Minnesota comfortable were good years—not to mention all the stuff you get as a result of having a wedding.
The change was radical, but the change was good, and we are actually getting comfortable once again.
Soon the books will come. I am extremely grateful to the friend who decided to store for me 300 of the cream of all my old crop of books. I was hesitant to ask anybody to volunteer to help me out, as one is taught that people say a lot of generous things but very seldom mean them, and so much less does one ask for them. But probably thinking it was a chance to rescue me from my own folly, the old girl volunteered herself, and how glad I am for it.
Tomorrow she should arrive, with Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis and the remaining 170 lbs. A good bit of my books, if not the final settlement.
We were walking around talking about it, the wife and I. How things have changed in a year, how there is very little to regret. How easy it was to leave Minnesota.
Why was it easy to leave Minnesota? It was easy not because it was an awful place. Minnesota is an awfully nice place and I love Minneapolis a lot as well as Duluth (Duluth! Duluth of the Unexamined Life!). But it was easy because the ten years there were a completed phase of our life. The training was over, the fellowship of Gravitas had broken and was breaking, and we were eager for another place. I know that what my soul craved in the scant rain of Minnesota Bogota has in true and real proportions. Here I have been longing ever since I left this country when I was twelve for steady rain for days and days—which sometimes we had, especially in Ohio, but not on the same basis we have here. And what else?
And what else indeed. I just went to buy an English teaching book and came away realizing I understand that vaina too. Pre-Intermediate? As long as the book has three or four lessons on the Present Perfect, it’s pre-intermediate. Discount? I begged like a Colombian: till I was ashamed of myself. And walking home it was hard to imagine living anywhere else.
So here we are, and almost one year, and our first visitor. And I’m paying for the visit. That seems the only drawback in all this. Why don’t people want to come and see Colombia, eh? Well, the good part is that the longer you wait, the better we’ll be at showing you around. We are saving for a trip back: at this rate in seven years. But I hope you’re saving for a trip out. It’s nice here.
Posted by unknowing on May 27, 2010
I saw the pilots in a group, concerted and in training. They glanced up at me and then went back to their preoccupation. They were not full-fledged; before them was a simulator and a possible career.
We of the human race become engrossed, and in our dignity—when we are seriously intent—we rise from being the rich and spoiled youth of yesterday to something of manhood and even perhaps of consequence.
How is it we assume responsibility and manhood? It must come all metaphysically, in gradual storms we do not realize till it is dark and the possibility of light has mostly all departed. We burrowing creatures, and erect.
They were not real pilots yet, and all the problem of it lay before them in long days, high concentration and a lot of tedious work. The prospect of holding other people’s lives was before them like a long, dark tunnel. So there was a weight on them, a sense of rite of passage on their shoulders.
Posted by unknowing on May 27, 2010
A beautiful grey dawn in which the gentle rain is coming straight touches the sleeping city. The grass is soaked and emerald green and all its former drought forgotten. It reaches up the poles and strives in unruly tufts down where the trees harbor their gloom. Soft, nearly silent rain is whispering in drops each bearing its own light into the darkness of the grass, through the harboring foliage of the trees in small, assorted flashes.
By afternoon it clears away. The light-bearing clouds retreat to the eastern hills and little white ones soar in the sun’s triumphant field. He shines rampant, and all the pigeons lift up victorious wings and go like hymns ascending. While down below the grass continues growing, furtive, waiting for the clouds and for the secret music of the night.
The concrete has its mossy graces in the rainy season. The steel shutters mimic the blind puddles, each in their respective faces: horizontal one and vertical.
The sky absorbs the vapor from a factory into its limitless and nondescript expanse. Water everywhere, and yet it is as if there were no sky, only an emptiness diffusing light.
Posted by unknowing on May 25, 2010
On 73rd Street, just below 11th around the U. Pedagogica is a little old place called El Faro—The Lighthouse. The entrance is unprepossessing, with a glass counter full of empanadas and such and on the other side of the narrow entryway an arepa machine for arepas Boyacenses. Inside it seems narrow, until you pass the bar and find a dingy dining room. It is an ancient greasy spoon with posters of Charlie Chaplin, Cantinflas, some kind of coffee poster from the 80′s—to judge by the girl’s hair—something from the 60′s to judge from the font, a poster advertising Coca-Cola for five cents as the thing to have with your partner after doing the theater—in English—and various other pieces of random interior decoration, besides the soap operas constantly running in the extreme background. The waiters look like this has been a lifetime career for them, and like perhaps it is reaching the end therof; behind a rectangular opening in the wall comes the rattling of the kitchen, and business seems brisk enough, but not frenetic.
I set the last interlude in the place because it deserved it.
I actually meant to order an arepa that last time and said empanada, and had I not, we would not today have the interlude we have. Anyway, we went in because the coffee is so good one is left regretting not ordering a second tinto, and this time I said, “ Y una arepa.”
“Con queso, cuajada o dulce?” she asked.
Huh? “Queso,” is said. Hoping it wouldn’t be a regular arepa with a slice of cheese in it. I wanted one of the dark yellow, sweet, round and oddly cooked arepas Boyacenses. They have the sweet corn meal—though not too sweet—with the sourish, strongish cheese mingled into the dough. We’ve had them elsewhere and they are one of the great things about Colombia and the glorious department of Boyaca. The arepas came to us, and then the tintos.
It was a thin crust of arepa and all cheese within—a good inch thick. Wonderful and awfully cheap—and the excellent coffee is awfully cheap too: made in an espresso machine, essentially an espresso but not quite so strong.
Best place in the world. Could spend the rest of my life there writing. Especially with all this rain.
Posted by unknowing on May 24, 2010
One can imagine that it was the great Earl or Sir Philip Sidney that gave his imagination its moral and practical turn [Edmund Spencer's now], and one imagines him seeking from philosophical men, who distrust instinct because it disturbs contemplation, and from practical men who distrust everything they cannot use in the routine of immediate events, that impulse and method of creation that can only be learned with surety from the technical criticism of poets, and from the excitement of some movement in the artistic life.
Posted by unknowing on May 24, 2010
What Lillback needed to educate Beck about was the reality that evangelicals, like Charles Erdman and Robert Speer (who were effectively New School Presbyterians), and who like Lillback regarded humanitarian good deeds as an implication of the gospel, were opposed to Machen and what he was doing at Westminster.
D. G. Hart. Read it all.
Time for somebody to write a book on Christianity & Mormonism?
Posted by unknowing on May 21, 2010
This is a bit of a diversion and possibly unrelated to the rest therein: a longish short story that may have achieved a satisfactory ending. It began as something for Olivia but has not tended in the direction which I supposed. Here’s the mutable table of contents.
It is in the vein of the Hallowe’eners, which has made considerable progress. I spent two hours reading through it all yesterday. I ought to keep chipping away at it. If you like the notion of The Queen’s Boots, let me know and I’ll see about working on the Hallowe’eners: that last has a goal and purpose and plan, and just requires some hammering away at.
Posted by unknowing on May 20, 2010
Some of you may be interested in this essay in First Things I came across by way of A & L D. It is about the guy in charge of SS in the USA and how he’s a poet.
I’m not sure the representation in the article does him justice, unless he aint what the guy writing cracks him up to be, but then, the guy writing is perhaps more qualified to make that judgment than I am.
I don’t find the formalists all that convincing, but I’m not sure why.
Posted by unknowing on May 19, 2010
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The exchanges that take place early in Luke are unusual, characterized by joy and poetry and extra-terrestrial interlocutors. And the extra-terrestrials apparently so appeared: nobody asks Gabriel, how did you get in here? His face was like the face of an angel, Luke says of Stephen when he is about to speak; or at least he appeared so to his adversaries. What was that like?
What is there in the visage of such a spiritual being and how did it appear in Stephen’s visage? How do they appear, what do they look like anyway? And then the even more interesting question, how do things appear to them?
That is what I begin to wonder about when I read Gabriel’s reply to Mary’s odd question (what was there in what Gabriel said that made her think what he foretold would not take place by the usual means when she eventually got married?). What Gabriel says can be interpreted to mean that there would be divine intervention. But he seems to be trying to do more than describe a miracle: it is as if he wants to explain. He even seems to borrow language from the 91st Psalm in an effort to clothe his understanding in terms that Mary can accept.
The question is, did Mary understand? I wonder. No doubt she was in a better position to understand than I am, and perhaps there was a longer conversation than Luke records (how does Luke know it was Gabriel?). But my interpretation—though I believe that meditation on the words of the angel will be fruitful and of value and should be undertaken—is that more than anything Gabriel is expressing something which shows us his sense of reality and not a human one. How does that “therefore,” for example, really follow from anything said before? It gives me the idea he really thinks he’s putting things in terms that are comprehensible, but it does not leave me understanding what exactly it is he describes.
Perhaps he is and I’m missing it. I wonder though, if it isn’t something that has more to do with angelic participation, and reality as a spirit apprehends it.
Posted by unknowing on May 19, 2010
Juice with peppermint blended in.
Lemon juice made of blending up the whole lemon (what in the USA they call a lime, a small one) and then straining it out. Very green, slightly foamy, and a bit of bitterness from rind. Good.
Tradition will heap you carbohydrates. Yucca, arracacha, potato and platano all together, repeated and with rice added to the main dish and desert. Not sure why the meal didn’t include bread of pasta, except that they represent more processing.
Arroz con leche for desert, cinnamony and unusually sourish. Or some sort of lulo custard, eminently repeatable. All with coffee.
One can usually get enough coffee, and some serve it with a pitcher of hot milk. Nothing like sitting around a long table in an A-frame out in the country after a rainstorm and while the daylight dwindles drinking coffee.
Discussions with Lebanese-Colombians and an etymological dictionary about the Arab origins of Spanish words: almuerzo, almohada . . . many things al–.
Teriyaki dishes and neurosurgeons wielding chopsticks deftly.
Curious the things you hear: from Strauss on down to Vivaldi on up. Heard a German shepherd thumping at the door. Montana State University tennis champions imitating Nadal.
Two hours after the large carbohydrate intake, hard toast dipped in hot chocolate: the idea was not to drink the hot chocolate, but absorb it all through the bread.
Imagine the A-frame all full of books. Life too, CDs, but many books. Imagine elsewhere the obligatory porcelain figures and lace, the tiled floors obligatory to the middle class.
Posted by unknowing on May 18, 2010
Space Oddity: bigoted criticism of a connoisseur on the latest freak show to appear on the stage of fundamentalism in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and yes, even 6 parts with everything you could want, absolutely free of journalistic malfeasance or things that might be interpreted of taking that tact, including, should the occasion arise, plenty of self-comments posted in the spirit of brilliant afterthoughts, with a special thanks to WordPress for allowing the gratuitous proliferation of titles beyond all sense and usefulness and also thanks to Antonio Vivaldi whose music surely dampened some of the effect
The lilrabbi is confused. He has not penetrated, achieved understanding, or been able to wrap his mind around one of my blog posts. Now aint that something? and it appears the point of difficulty was the expression of David Bowie staring from the screen with all the intensity and shenanigans of the age of glam rock. I thought it made perfect sense, so let me try to shoot a few rays of understanding into this.
Lets get one thing crystal clear: I will never sacrifice wit to clarity. Never. When it comes to an alternative between making a joke and saying something important, I will always say of the latter along with the excellent Sir John Suckling, “the devil take her” whether or not you understand me, and that’s final.
And, speaking of the devil, one thing we have to make clear in this is that the point is about fundamentalism. Fundamentalism has developed threee internet stooges and they seem to be going in frenetic high gear—especially the first two: Mou Lartuneac, Flash Gordon—from North Dakota, no less—and our own beloved (and I like him, honest, and let me be clear about one thing: I would never say of him that he’s going around in high gear, never) Jonald CS Donson.*
What has happened? Well, it has become apparent to these threee that something aint right and their randomly chosen target is now the Young and the Restless: fundamentalists with as much right to the name as they . . . or anybody who wants to scrutinize association out of all proportion and make the practices of fundamentalist separation the test of fellowship or play along. I dare you to find anything in print that shows that fundamentalist notions of separation are not like the Australian boomerang which comes back to bite its thrower in the butt—as the saying goes.
And if you do, I won’t believe you anyway.
Now it aint my aim to gun down fundamentalist practices of separation: these can fall of their own accord without any intervention of mine or of Ben Wright’s, though he’s welcome to vent his personal ax.** No, the enemy of fundamentalism aint me, the enemy of separation as known and practiced in those circles where so many of us grew up is being able to think your way out of a wet paper bag, because the day you start doing that, rather than exerting blind loyalty to the Lord’s anointed boys, to their ways, their realms, the peculiarities of their imaginations, on that day fundamentalist practices begin to look like the practices of a squirrel whose behavior leads you to suspect it may possibly be deranged.
And this is the problem. Well . . . the problem is not that people think in-and-of-itself, you see. No, because thought is not more powerful than sentiment whatever our domed brethren may think. But thought can and does serve to order sentiment and it is useful—awfully so—in bringing about a change of heart one way or another.
Hearts and minds are sometimes hard to get a hold of, especially if you use the blunt methods used in some circles.
Now I would not put things the way Ben has put them, being of course far more intelligent than he, not to mention precise. He said something about the sound of things imploding: I’d say its the sound of the toilet flushing because I think the connotations are more accurate.
Actually, I wouldn’t even say that. I’d say Nothing Ever Changes, but lets go with the sound of the toilet since the sound carries more meaning than the dull roar of everything always. So can you picture in your mind’s eye that sound? (If you aint got the skill for that, you probably ought to be reading a less intellectual blog than this one.) Now that you got that sound pictured in your mind’s eye all clear, ask yourself: What does it mean?
Obviously it means that the Young and the Restless are undermining the solid foundations of fundamentalism as has been amply shown repeatedly in post and commentary on the blogs of the first two stooges, aided and abetted by the third (now who’s your favorite stooge from the original slapstick original that gave birth to my allusion? The first person to have the same favorite stooge as me will receive free of cost a complete set of the collected works of Charles Grandison Finney bound in cat skin and with the word “Calvin” and any of its derivatives printed in a hideous shade of yellow). Yes, the young and the restless are doing nothing of short of making a subtle case for fundamentalists associating with persons who clearly are not fundamentalists. And they’re calling into question solid fundamentalists, launching personal, vitriolic, unimaginably uncharitable and clearly blown out of proportion (for an example of how they should proceed, read fundamentalist statements on compromising, communist, Bible-denying, non-KJV neo-evangelical intellectuals) attacks on the unimpeachable history and tradition of fundamentalism, and betraying the ethos and spirit that for so long has reigned serene, dominant and unassailable. And the question is, why?
Why can’t these young and restless chaps invite authors like Lartuneac to speak instead? Ask yourself that in all honesty: book in its second edition, solid fan base, and, as the globe orbiting on his blog clearly shows, an international phenomenon. Why are they enamored of John Piper and his books instead? They don’t have a leg to stand on.
At which point, in the logical sequence I am here developing, comes the glam. Yes, the glam. Hence the David Bowie, you see. Do you see it?
Maybe not. “Space Oddity” is a subtle work of art and things aint entirely obvious. What is it about? A guy staring at a camera and being weird, or at least trying.
What is the message? The chaps in the control room are sending the poor spaceman out to space permanently and deliberately. Why? They’re clearly deranged. They’re like the guys in a cartoon who sit on a limb sawing it off . . . well, in a manner of speaking, because it really doesn’t matter what end of the stick they’re sawing, it aint attached to no tree. I mean, that’s not obviously part of the song, but they did have cartoons back in the 80′s so you can see the connections. Its like the camel in the tent: the tent has to be collapsed to prevent it getting in.
Space control to Major Tom . . .
Space control to Major Tom . . .***
Maybe if you let your mind wander around the annals of the Chronicles of Fundamentarlia (which clearly have a space theme) you’ll arrive by a flash of intuition at the connections. At least, try listening to the song in the background while you read one of Flash Gordon’s postings with the sad, resigned, weary tone of glee, the lucid and irrefutable argumentations, the apt and incriminating quotations, the unimpeachable hermeneutics and historiography, the patterns of sanity and sober consideration and then see if any parallels clearly emerge; you’d have to be an idiot to miss it, I think).
I can’t make it any clearer.
Ok: here’s the bottom line. Next come the footnotes.
*The scholars in our mists might be all wondering to what to attribute the spoonerisms. Well, that’s a mighty fine question. Obviously it aint in an effort to conceal the identities of the parties involved, as I’ve just given away the crucial fact that there’s some spoonerisms alleged. But one of them aint! And you got no idea who if I don’t tell you, which effectively protects the identities of all three. Which, after all, it’s my sworn duty and obligation as a bona fide journalist.
Ben: I say it with a grin. Fundamentalists: and I mean that. Men: have you explored the potential expose?
The Chronicles at this point are a bit overcrowded, but I have been toying with the idea of killing more of the characters off and introducing Major Tom . . . perhaps Kameldeergard can bump into him at some point, and they can hatch a fiendish plot. Major Lartuneac too . . . but that might be confusing.
Posted by unknowing on May 17, 2010
I offer this as a polite suggestion, before the Time of Nick or anything go to press, just in case persons whose name has been taken in vain by certain creatures (Gordon–shall we call him Flash? and the strange creature whose proclivities do not incline him toward understatement flourishing in the curious, toxic atmosphere in the regions of Chicago), just in case, I say, said persons–not the parenthetical chaps–wish to have something in the way of a full and unmitigated response to the recent higher criticism that has rushed like devastating wildfire through vain and pilfering attempts to . . . to what? well, rescue John Piper from himself, for one, and foist poetry on a world that neither needs or wants it and has been doing rather well with the solid old hymns of poor, blind Fanny Crosby, and which—the higher criticism, now—has no doubt baffled them and thereby caused no end of consternation.
(I am actually not Bro Revival Fire, but wouldn’t it be great if that person put this up as a final plea to Doran and Bauder to walk in the right ways of their Lounar forebears? It is just so versatile and apt for many things . . . but then, that’s the way of art, you know?)
Posted by unknowing on May 13, 2010
Whittaker Chambers’ Witness is truly one of the best books. It is hard to put down. Have you read it?
* * *
During the rest of the time I’ve been watching and reading on the BBC and the London Times about the changes in London. I really wonder if it isn’t a new era, and I’ll be keen to find out. I really want to read some intelligent thinking on it. These pragmatic alliances fascinate me, and it seems they signify something about our times. What does it mean?
Well, it may wash out to be just a bunch of politics, but I’m pretty hooked.
* * *
For the early chapters of Luke I’ve got Raymond Brown. There isn’t much available here; we have a library for pastors with some things and a lot of devotional commentaries. One is grateful for anything, but I wish the zeal for translation of some had not focused on the unimaginative contributions of Hendricksen and Kistemaker (at least Hendricksen, the only one of that set I’ve used so far, strikes me as unimaginative as a lump of rock from the Louniar Wastes of Fundamentarlia—which is harsh, I know). Odd what you end up looking at, and I never thought J. C. Ryle would end up being my first choice—though if I had a choice, I don’t think I’d go back.
Looks like our first visitor, at the end of the month and for no reasonable length of time, will bring me something on Luke (Marshall). I never thought I’d miss the wealth I formerly enjoyed, when it comes to aids to Bible study. Many things are available online, and I ought to make more use of them, but I still work with pen and paper, printout and book, and haven’t any desire for the limitations of technology.
* * *
Things that beckon now that my coffee is brewed: a transcription of a lecture from an Endocrine Convention, another go through my Lukan pericope (I’m going to introduce ‘relaticos’ as a terminus technicus one of these days), my online course stuff, Chambers, and if there’s time, more work on my stories and such. My morning class for tomorrow is canceled, so I have a free day.
Posted by unknowing on May 13, 2010
Perhaps you know, but with my situation this is nice and free. (If I try to buy a music download from Amazon, they shut me down because of my IP.)
Posted by unknowing on May 12, 2010
The Ochlophobist with some thoughts on Minnesota.
The main reason I left was the summers, but I wonder if even I can’t be brought to miss those. Not too long ago I put a picture of shinning Minneapolis on the desktop.
And why can’t there be more of this sort of blogging?
Posted by unknowing on May 11, 2010
This guy is serious. It is worth reading and very, very funny.
Posted by unknowing on May 10, 2010
We have a chap in our congregation who’s finishing his degree in theological studies, probably with exegesis as his emphasis, at one of the Catholic universities here. He’s started teaching on the Psalms on Sunday evenings at church and tonight he had some difficulties.
I enjoy him because he’s still involved in the academic world and after an absence, I find I miss some of those things. Because he’s still involved in the academic world and is probably as inexperienced as I am, he has some difficulty making the transition into a position of teaching where the learners are very removed from the academic world. I think he’s a good teacher and will make the adjustments, but I understand the difficulties it poses for him (I also wish I could assume more when I teach).
Tonight, for example, he taught something that has been otherwise been developing along in discussions at church and which he’s been thinking about along the way. He found the idea in a commentary by a Dutch guy, it seems, and presented it to us. The idea is that to understand the Psalms we need to understand that there are two kinds of people within the covenant community and these two people are the righteous and sinners. The righteous are those who not only enjoy corporate election but also personal election. Sinners only have corporate election. In other words: in Psalms these two terms are very clear labels for believers and unbelievers within Israel. He believes this is distinction is clear and necessary for understanding the Psalms.
This may be true (I’m going to read this Dutch guy’s remarks on it, and I want to find out what other associations there are on the idea; ever heard of it?), and it certainly sounds plausible. I think the mistake he made though, was to assert it on the basis of the Dutch guy’s authority and then support it with a systematic theological argument: we are justified by faith, we have righteousness and are saints, let us no more call the saints sinners—or at least be careful.
If it is true that this hard distinction prevails in the Psalms, then it surely has consequences for the way we think and speak. But before we are going to accept this new wrinkle (part of the problem is that we have—inevitably—people in the congregation who confuse the category of a wrinkle with that of a heresy crept in unawares) or even think through its theological implications, however, we need to proceed by way of exegetical proof. That is the part that was missing: but it was illuminating for that reason.
Even though the congregation has some problems always suspending judgment, considering, and refraining from bringing in the heavy artillery of the systematic theology they are in possession of before doing the work of exegesis, considering context, progressive revelation and Biblical theology, had he proceeded in the proper order, he would probably have avoided some of the dissatisfaction. (If you make it through that sentence, then you get a Hermenaut award.)
He is terribly quick on his feet. How many times when confronted with a spontaneous question have you been able to pull a reply out of a verse in a book like Ezekiel? I am usually useless if I have to depart from my notes. And he knows his theology. But what I think he forgot was to proceed in proper order and this resulted in a perception characterized by a lack of proportion.
I have been away from my M.Div long enough to have no clear recollection, though no doubt I was taught the right procedure. I may have been foolish or I may not have seen how it was supposed to go. Weighing the foolishness option is the consideration that those seminary days were the days when my interest was not at all in the pastoral matters since I wanted to be an academic. In seminary, were you ever taught the rationale for the proper order for presenting something to the congregation? (What has most influenced me in this reflection, was actually a conversation with the teacher as we whiled away the end of the class in a post-graduate seminar. I learned more about pastoral theology from that casual conversation that I remember learning in all the courses I took in Bible school, Bible college and seminary.)
The answer is in our confession, and in our regular assertions: the Scripture is our only rule of faith and practice. I understand that exposition is necessary, and exposition is my preferred mode of teaching, but tonight I was able to see a bit more clearly how crucial exposition is to the persuasion that a teacher hopes for. First you have to show them what the Scripture unambiguously means, and then you develop the implications.
Posted by unknowing on May 9, 2010
The Criten walked in and sat down. He watched the soap opera playing on the flat screen at the end of the room. He scratched his leg. Eventually a man in an apron shuffled up and stood staring at a point two inches above the Criten’s left shoulder.
“No, just—” the Criten hesitated, “coffee and an arepa.”
The waiter departed.
Looks like the kind of place Bud used to run—the Criten mused—only grander. It had Charlie Chaplin and Cantinflas posters on the walls, a knock-off Dutch landscape, an old color photo of the Alpha Centauri way station and an even older sign for Jix-Jax Cola.
The coffee was really good. The Criten drank it, eyeing the donut.
He had not asked for a donut, but he was wondering if challenging the waiter would be worth it. He listened to the plates rattling in the kitchen and enjoyed the coffee until the waiter passed. On an impulse, he flagged him down.
“I wanted an arepa.”
The waiter stared at the donut. It looked as if originally, maybe three days ago, it had been glazed. The waiter’s eyes shifted; his head remained hanging. Then he stirred, darted to another table, picked up a bowl of sugar and set it down beside the donut.
The Criten watched this and then sat thinking for a while. He scratched his leg, lifting his pant leg to get at the bare skin. After a while he finished the coffee and surveyed the clientele.
They were mostly short, hangdog-cheerful men in shabby suits. They were the one’s who scurried about the city, its messenger pigeons, brokers of pettiest transactions, grubbers and wheedlers and shysters. They had small feet, shiny shoes and tended to walk very carefully.
The Criten asked the waiter for another coffee and prepared to take up the subject of the donut again. But then a female waiter, a hardwoked woman with red hands and rolled up sleeves brought his coffee.
“Oh,” the Criten said, “Hey, uh . . . I didn’t want a donut.”
“I’ll tell Bill,” she said, and left.
Strike two—the Criten thought. He watched another customer nearby. The man was clumsily shoveling rice into his head. But then he looked up and their gaze met; the man’s fork paused. Glancing away, the Criten met Bill’s shifty gaze and beckoned him impatiently. Bill came.
“Why did you give me a donut?”
“Ain’t you asked for one?”
“Thought you asked for one.”
The Criten waited. Bill began to sidle away.
“No you don’t. Get me an arepa . . . instead—” but Bill had departed, and the donut rested beside the sugar bowl still. The Criten sighed and moved the sugar bowl away from the donut, as if that would make the whole thing clear to Bill on his return.
“I don’t want that donut,” the Criten said before Bill could put down the arepa. The other customers glanced over, and the Criten sighed and gripped his forehead with his left hand. When he opened his eyes again, the arepa was near his coffee cup. The donut had been moved to the far corner of the table, but not removed. The arepa steamed.
In a listless way, the Criten began to eat the arepa. One piece was too hot and he had to spit it out awkwardly. He noticed the rice eater was watching him, so he glared back. The man responded by tossing his head in an aggressive, inquiring way, as if to say: What? The Criten glanced away and went on eating his arepa.
When the other customer was paying, he made some altogether unflattering comments about the Criten to the proprietor which the Criten chose to ignore by pretending to scribble important thoughts on a napkin.
On the Criten’s table now, were six empty cups of coffee, an empty plate with arepa grease, a wadded napkin, a napkin dispenser, salt, pepper, a bowl of sugar, ketchup, mustard, pink sauce and a bowl of hot sauce with a little wooden spoon . . . besides the donut at the corner of the table.
Next time the Criten looked up he saw the janitor Angelicus coming out of the restroom. He leaned back and waited as the janitor looked around, spotted him, started, and then approached.
“Hi,” the janitor said. He sat down and fidgeted.
“What are you doing here?”
“I come here a lot.”
“Can’t argue with that. Can’t say the same about the service thought.”
“That your donut over here?”
The janitor helped himself to the donut. Bill approached silently and stood facing the table, staring at the ketchup.
“Coffee,” the janitor said.
“Two,” the Criten added.
After the coffee came, the janitor said, “Nasty business—the Canapia episode.”
“Are they identical?”
“I think so.”
“Don’t know, eh?” which the janitor ignored. The Criten said, “What do they do?”
“Have more drawers now,” and the janitor guffawed like a jackass.
The Criten shot a hostile glance around the restaurant and then looked back at the janitor.
“You work for him.” It was not a question, but meant to sound not entirely unlike one.
Cunning—the Criten thought. His admiration for the slippery janitor went up a notch.
“Do you work for him?”
“Them?” the janitor said with a grin, but he didn’t answer the question.
The Criten decided to drop it.
“Duplicated better than I did,” the janitor observed, brushing sugar off of his fingers.
“Seems to have affected my keys.”
“Not the same. Sometimes I end up in strange places . . . lately. Which is how I found this one actually.”
“How are the donuts here?” the Criten asked.
The janitor eyed him strangely, then he groaned, then he flopped onto the floor and started gasping like a fish.
The Criten jumped to his feet, bumping into Bill who had come up with a fire extinguisher and was preparing to use it on the janitor.
“Are you insa—” but the Criten broke off. One of the small, hangdog-cheerful men had leapt over, torn his jacket off and was attempting to cover the janitor with it. He also kept saying, “There, there.”
The rest of the customers were chattering excitedly and shouting advice, while the proprietor was hastening to get a bucket of ice.
“Stop!” the Criten roared, but they all looked at him as if he were insane.
And then something truly unanticipated happened. Into the cafe, wearing extremely useful-looking boots, strode Kat, the woman part of the Criten was married to.
She wasted no time in kicking Bill across the room, slinging the proprietor through the service hatch into the kitchen and scattering the remaining clientele. She picked up the unconscious janitor and with him over her shoulder faced the Criten.
“Come on, you idiot.”
“To the TA, of course.” She headed for the restrooms.
“Uh, what’s wrong with the janitor? and where did you come from?”
“Will you shut up for now?” She kicked the door in and pressed one of the studs fastening the mirror above the sinks. The mirror vanished.
“Quick, it’s only a ten second opening,” she said as she climbed into the TA.
Hesitating only briefly, the Criten scrambled after her.
Posted by unknowing on May 8, 2010