Summary of Second Meeting…next meeting Monday Sept 14 – 8 pm

Our second meeting was, in the words of Lloyd G. “real”.  We were missing a member, and another was tardy, and all was duly noted.

To business:  Andrew P has been working through Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy.  We noted the immense sub structure of myth Tolkien invented as a context for the trilogy.  Andrew will have more to say next meeting regarding the books…..

I presented one of my favourites, a book, nay, more of a mediation on fishing and what it means to be human.  Its called “A River Never Sleeps” by Roderick Haig Brown.  Brown was British Columbia’s top writer, in my opinion.  This book is fashioned more as a memoir and mediation than a how to.  He chronicles the fishing year giving anecdotes and opinions month by month.  A highlight for me is his rendition of his ‘apprenticeship’ with his relative, a man named Greenhill.  Haig-Brown had lost his father in the first world war and that British culture valued outdoorsmanship so much they commissioned this Greenhill to instruct him in rod and gun.  The strictness of the tutelage, and the intimacy of the relationship, are worth reflecting on.  Our contemporary culture sees teaching mostly as the imparting of information, and perhaps some skill.   This example of learning almost has a discipleship overtone to it,  as Haig Brown learns from a master.  A quote: “I still don’t know why I fish or why other men fish, except that we like it and it makes us think and feel. But i do know that if it were not for the strong, quick life of rivers, for their sparkle in the sunshine, for the cold grayness of them under rain and the feel of them about my legs as I set my feet hard down on rocks or sand or gravel, I should fish less often.”

Lloyd G.  sobered up our evening with “The Reason For God” by Tim Keller.  It is a book which tackles many of the questions moderns ask of the Christian Faith, such as why a good and loving God condemns sinners to eternal damnation.  Good question.   The nature of hell is a frightening topic.  Lloyd related how Keller’s view is somewhat different with what he grew up with and how he was working through his thoughts on the matter.  Essentially Keller views hell as the state of being you die in if you reject Christ.  Keller points out that sinners stay rebellious against God and there is no reason to think anything would change after physical death.  He uses the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to show that the rich man wants relief from the suffering in hell, but does not want to himself repent and worship God instead of self.  Keller says that in hell God removes all his goodness from us and leaves us to our sinful selves.  An existence without God’s grace in creation, his grace in fellowship with other humans, and with only our lusts and sins to keep us company would be truly horrible.  We concluded that Keller’s view is an important nuance, seeing as how God gives us over to our sins.  But we also noted that Jesus says to fear him who destroys both body and soul in hell.  Whatever combination of selfish isolation and burning punishment hell ends up being, the fact that it is terrible should motivate us to speak truth to our neighbours so that some might be saved.

Another great evening of thought-provoking discussion, and we are looking forward to the next evening, scheduled for

Monday Sept 14, at 8 pm. My place

First Meeting a great success

I am very pleased to report that our inaugural meeting was well attended and thought provoking.  A brief summary:

Andrew P.  came out swinging with “God’s Grandeur” by G.M. Hopkins.  Hopkins is my favourite poet for a number of reasons, including his explicitly Christian themes, so I was pleased when Andrew read the poem.   Here it is

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Andrew drew attention in particular to Hopkins’ use of the word ‘nature’.  There is a divine overtone to the word because nature has a “nature” that has been given to it by God, and thus God’s divinity can be clearly seen.  Notice how the word ‘environment’ has usurped ‘nature’ in official discourse,  probably because ‘environment’ is subjective and contextual, whereas ‘nature’ is a fixed entity that draws its ‘nature’ from the one who determined its particulars.
Lloyd G. was next and presented a hefty tome : “Reasonable Faith” by William Lane Craig.  One highlight was Lloyd’s restatement of Craig’s argument for the veracity of miracles in the Bible.  “The causer of a phenomenon can interact with, adjust, and even violate the characteristics of that phenomenon, given that the phenomenon is under the dominion of the causer.”  Well said Lloyd !
I presented “That Hideous Strength” by C.S. Lewis.  I greatly enjoyed this book,  the dialogue Lewis puts in the characters’ mouths is an education on its own.  He gives such lordly, ringing, beautiful phrases to the good guys, and ambiguous, euphemistic, long winded, painful sentences to the main antagonist.
The Bad:
“My dear young friend, the golden rule is very simple. There are only two errors which would be fatal to one placed in the peculiar situation which certain parts of your previous conduct have unfortunately created for you. On the one hand, anything like a lack of initiative or enterprise would be disastrous. On the other, the slightest approach to unauthorised action – anything which suggested that you were assuming a liberty of decision which, in all the circumstances, is not really yours – naught have consequences from which even I could not protect you. But as long as you keep quite clear of these two extremes, there is no reason (speaking unofficially) why you should not be perfectly safe.”
The Good:
“The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now.  However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds:  men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from Earth their Mother and from the Father in Heaven.  You might go East so far the East became West and you returned to Britain across the great Ocean, but even so you would not have come out anywhere into the light.  The shadow of one dark wing is over all Tellus.”
Phil S. closed our session with some wisdom from Dave Ramsey, a financial advisor with several best selling books.  Ramsay’s advice is tough but sensible.  If you are in debt, work like a dog till you are out.  Put some money into an stable investment every month and let the power of compound interest work for you.  Above all, start young!
So the next club meeting will be August 10th @ 8pm.  Same place.  See you then

Inaugural Meeting Monday July 13th 8pm

Gentlemen,  I am pleased to announce that the long awaited Port Guichon Mens Book Club will host its first meeting Monday July 13th at 8 pm at my place in my backyard studio.

Here are two reasons why you should attend.

1.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.   Proverbs 27:17

2.  Books contain knowledge.    Discussing great books can prevent that knowledge from degenerating into information.  And as we ask interact with the texts and with each other we can perhaps gain a measure of wisdom.

Ok, here is the format for the evening.  Each man gets 10 minutes to present and evaluate his chosen book.  Then the group gets 5 min to ask questions and discuss.

Keep in mind as you read, evaluate, and discuss, that this is a Men’s book club, and we are not interested in how books make us feel.  Rather we will ask questions like:  Is it true?  Is it good?  Is it beautiful?  Is it practicable? Can I make money with this?  Is my soul better off after reading? etc.

So what book should you bring?  Well, any good one really.  There is a great list on Chuck Colsen’s website.   If you are stuck try anything by C.S Lewis.

All right best regards and blessings as you seek the mind of Christ.  See you monday