God-given rhythms

God gives us rhythms.

We don't pay a lot of attention to life's rhythms. We work from home, eat food shipped from around the world, use birth control. And all this makes life a little more comfortable.

Until you hit a day like today. We've had almost two feet of snow in Lexington. Everything but the wine shop in Buena Vista is closed. Life is slower. Boring.

Proverbs 19 talks about gaining and cherishing wisdom, seeking out instruction. I've been thinking about that today, as I've been experiencing the forced slow-down caused by the snowy rhythms of God's Nature.

My mentor - Bill - jokes that there are three different ways to learn...
- you can go to school
- you can learn from your mistakes
- you can learn from my mistakes

I think Solomon wanted me to listen to Bill (and folks like him). And Bill says that God gives us rhythms. And I believe him.

It was Bill who introduced me to the question "How are things with you and God right now?" The implication behind this is that God and I have a relationship, one with ups and downs, moment of intimacy and distance. The ancients carried this idea in their themes of consolation and desolation. (Note that this is the subjective plane of which we are speaking. Objectively, God is always present and the relationship is never truly at risk).

So, then, "training wisely" would require an awareness of our God-given rhythms.

These rhythms are caused (in the proximate, not the ultimate) by things as natural as how we sleep, what we eat, the frightful weather outside, and seasons and by things as unnatural as sin. Some days, we are more able to pray. Some days, God's words leap from the text and shake us with power. Some days, even the small act of smiling at a stranger requires Holy Spirit power. That's how rhythm impacts discipline, our "training wisely."

I wanted to leave you with a quote from my old, dead, never-met friend CS Lewis. In his book Letters to Malcolm, Lewis writes to his friend Malcolm Muggeridge about rhythm. Unfortunately, I can't find the book (story of my life). It might be lost in my truck or it might be in the good hands of Luke-the-wonderful-and-wild-west-virginian-bear-scarer-Ellis. I'll leave you with this attempted re-creation:
I go wrong when I make the mistake Pascal called "The Error of Stoicism": thinking we can do always what we can do sometimes.

4 comments:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

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  2. Steve

    What is your source for the idea that Letters to Malcomb is written to Malcomb Muggeridge? I don't know hwen Lewis wrote that book, but it had to be before he died (Nov 22, 1963). I though Muggeridge's conversion came much later than that. Buckley had him on Firing Line in the late 70's I think, and his conversion was still news - as I remember it.

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  3. Larry,

    Sheepishly, I'm going to have to say I parroted something I heard in a class that, upon further research (prompted by your question), appears to be false.

    Although you will find Amazon reviews that say Lewis' friend was Muggeridge (which makes a little bit of sense..."Malcolm" is Catholic, presumably British, educated, etc...), the correspondent in "Letters" is either someone else or (according to the prevailing academic opinion) fictional.

    Muggeridge might have began his conversion before 1963, but he certainly wouldn't have considered himself a Roman Catholic until much later (1982ish). Additionally, his wife's name was Kitty (not Betty, as was the spouse of Lewis' interlocutor).

    Great factcheck

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  4. Nonetheless, you are right on the beam, man. These guys - Lewis and Muggeridge - are two of the most important figures from the 20th century. If you are bringing your flock to their works, then "good on ya."

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