A Quote from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

I have begun reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolsoy, one of my favorite authors.  I hear that a new well-anticipated film version of the book will be released in the US this fall.  Tolstoy’s wealth in understanding the human condition makes him Master of character development.  The reader learns to love these characters as Tolstoy loves them and understands them.  They are timeless. One may find himself or learn to understand another, maybe to the point of reconciliation, through these living characters.  It has happened for me before in reading Tolstoy; now it’s happening again.

Here is a quote that won’t leave me.  I’m sure there will be more to share.

“He lived (without being aware of it) by those spiritual truths that he had drunk in with his mother’s milk…”

From Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, part 8 page 828 of the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky English translation from the original Russian, Penguin Books

[I confess; I read the last part first, a bad habit of mine.]


Susannah Wesley’s Talents

Susannah Wesley wrote in the 16th century:

…As I am a woman, so I am also the mistress of a large family. Although the superior charge of the souls contained it lies upon you; yet in your absence, I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as a talent committed to me under a trust by the Great Lord of all the families both of heaven and of earth. And if I am unfaithful to Him or to you in neglecting to improve these talents, how shall I answer unto Him, when He shall command me to render an account of my stewardship?   

The mother of John and Charles Wesley in a letter to her husband (1)

When a society loses its respect for motherhood,
it makes a mockery of motherhood’s provision for future generations,
and it loses its regard for the family.
That society sees people no longer as individuals,
but only as members of the corporate world body.
This is an affront to natural order and to Nature’s God.

Apostle Paul speaks to Timothy the young pastor:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house… (2)

Just as God planted within a young woman the desire for a husband, he also placed within her the desire to bear children. Although our society mocks and denies this innate desire, the truth aches within the heart of every woman who has submitted to its denial.

Children are a gift from God. They are the greatest blessing we will ever know in this life. As Susannah Wesley expressed to her husband, they are the greatest responsibility we will ever have. More than any other person, parents have the opportunity with their children to form them into –

  • faithful servants of God, or
  • reckless servants of hell.

Is there anyone who has excelled in any field without encouragement from another person?
Children can and will be molded.  Parents should see themselves as responsible for their children’s development.

Susannah Wesley saw her children as the talents of Jesus’ parable (3).
The talent was a piece of money. It was something that had worth when it was given to the servant. Each servant was expected to improve the good thing the master had given. This is an appropriate picture in which to place ourselves and our children. We have two choices. We may choose only to supply our children with food, clothing, shelter and a little advice now and then until they reach the age at which they go out on their own. Or, we may painstakingly observe each of our children’s strengths and weaknesses, praying and doing all within our ability to encourage the good and to help each child to overcome his faults. 

Parents are admonished to train their children.
Training goes much deeper than good advice. As with athletes, training involves setting a goal and practicing daily, repeatedly, until that goal becomes second nature to the trainee.

The Bible promises that if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he will not depart from it (4).
Why?  -Because he has been trained in it. The way he should go has become second nature to him. Is this degree of training really possible?

In truth, parents are responsible either directly or indirectly for their child’s behavior. Ideally, parents must not allow immoral influences upon the child before he is sufficiently trained. In the days before the internet and cell phones, this level of protection was more feasible. Today, our children cannot even ride down the highway without some immoral influence being perpetrated upon them. I do not advocate monastic seclusion for rearing our children. But we must remember that parents are accountable to God, if not to society, for the way they rear their children. Let us fear, as did Susannah Wesley, lest we neglect to improve these talents.

More to come on this topic.

(1) The Journal of John Wesley, Moody Press, Chicago, IL 60610, p. 102
(2) 1 Timothy 5:14
(3) Matthew 25:14-30
(4) Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The above is an excerpt from Womanhood and God’s Dominion Call available as a free  e-booklet on this website.

Solomon -The True Entrepreneur

It is a gift to humanity that we do not know the future. We are forced to live and to act by faith. 

Solomon said,
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand. 
For you know not which will prosper -this or that-
or whether both alike will do well.”
Ecclesiastes 11:6

Spoken like a true entrepreneur! 

God doesn’t expect us to know the future, only to act by faith on what we do know.

KJV or Newspeak? Trading Poetic Expression for Bald Prose

Trading poetic expression for bald prose has the effect of shrinking the range, “not just of expression, but of thought itself.”

[The following are excerpts from Martin Cothran’s article What the King James Bible Hath Wrought
In the first excerpt Cothran is referring to a character, Syme, from the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s

Syme, the editor of the Newspeak Dictionary, explains to the novel’s protagonist Winston Smith the purpose of the Dictionary. The word “bad,” for instance, is redundant, and should be replaced by “ungood.” Likewise, words like “excellent” and “best” are to be replaced by the “plusgood” and “doubleplusgood.”

“You think, I dare say,” says Syme, “that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone …”

“It’s a beautiful thing,” he says, “the destruction of words.”

Traditional language, which Syme refers to as “Oldspeak,” has no role in the brave new utilitarian world, where all things must be judged at the bar of efficiency. It lacks simplicity. It contains too many words with too many shades of meaning. “Don’t you see,” asks Syme, “that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?”

Syme explains where it will all lead:

By 2050 earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be.

The antidote to Orwell’s Syme is Aldous Huxley’s ironically named John the Savage. In his novel Brave New World, Huxley introduces us to an illegitimate child born into a world where pregnancy is no longer allowed, and who lives with his mother on a reservation for people who have violated the law and given birth. Both birth and books are banned. One day, John opens his mother’s trunk and discovers a volume entitled The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He reads it over and over. The poetry of its words take root in his soul, and the literary vocabulary he acquires not only equips him with words to express feelings he formerly had no words to express, but helps him to discover feelings he didn’t know he had because he had no words even to think them. While the effect of Newspeak acts to “narrow the range of thought,” the effect of the literary language of Shakespeare is to widen the range, not just of expression, but of thought itself. So it is too with the King James Bible.

The translator of 1611 wrote with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond. The modern translator writes with Word, published by Microsoft. And it shows.

Both modern Protestant and Catholic translations suffer greatly from the misguided attempt to serve two masters. There are two selling points on modern translations: their readability (or understandability) and their accuracy. But any attempt at being “understandable to the modern reader” can become a threat to accuracy—at least if by accuracy we mean sticking with the original words of the text. All this talk is a vain oblation, Greek scholar N. T. Wright seems to suggest. Remarking on its lack of fidelity to the original Greek, he has called one of the most popular Protestant translations “appalling.” The favored modern Catholic translation is no better.

The problem seems to be that modern translators simply do not understand poetic expression, and since much of the Bible—even in what is otherwise prose—is given in poetic expression, they are ill-suited to translate it. If they did understand poetic expression, they would not assume that non-metaphorical language is somehow more “accurate” or even “understandable” than metaphorical expression.

Removing the poetry of the Bible, far from making it more understandable, does the exact opposite. This is why good writers like C. S. Lewis use frequent metaphors. People who write with clarity use more, not fewer, metaphors.  Read more…

Follow Me – Graphite Painting

Father God on Cross

Copyright 2009

He is the image of the invisible God…
Colossians 1:15

Jesus said,

“He who hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
John 14:9

The face of God the Father gazes upon the viewer from the body of Jesus Christ, the Son.

Jesus also said,

“The Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
John 5:19

Therefore, in this picture we see Father God in the form of Jesus Christ giving His life on the cross for us.

His grandfatherly face hints of a smile, and He seems to be bidding the viewer,

“Come, follow me”

original by Ector Ward
copyright 2009
Graphite pencil on Bristol paper
12″ X 15″

3 Easy Steps – A Guide to Bible Reading in Chronological Classical Approach

You’ve heard that onions and parfaits have layers.  Well, God’s Word has layers, too.  God has revealed Himself to us a layer at a time from one age to the next.  Chronology is the Key.  This FREE DOWNLOAD “How to Study the Bible” is your road map to unfold the layers of God and His Plan from Genesis to Revelation.  It’s easy, it’s proven, and it works.

Open BibleIt’s a proven 3 step method for learning anything, and it’s called The Trivium.  All you need are the right tools. Click to Continue…