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Tag: History

Strolling the French Way

French couple taking a stoll
A Stroll by the Seine, Paris by Henri Victor Lesur Public Domain

You have been cooped up in your writing room, hopefully for hours, in a state of flow. Or maybe not, maybe you have stared at the screen or paper not knowing what to scribble. Or maybe you need some inspiration, some window shopping for ideas. Take a stroll with me down memory lane on the French word flâneur.

A flâneur, or a “man-about-town” according to Miriam-Webster, was coined in 1854, during the reign of Napoleon III’s rebuilding of Paris. Eric Maisel, in A Writer’s Paris, writes it is a “French invention of strolling as an art form.”

Many of my haiku ideas were conceived strolling the beach in my neighborhood. Pegging the changing colors of the Pacific from day to day, like a kindergartner changing the weather chart, clears my head and rolls any stress off my back. Strolling sets my mind mulling over what I have written or read, and/or opens my eyes to the details around me.

Writing is an interior exercise, but strolling becomes an external exercise. We see our natural history roll right before our feet. Just as the ocean changes daily, observing your environment intimately will enlighten our routine stroll. It grounds us in the reality of our physical bodies and physical, concrete world—perhaps giving us ideas for metaphorical writing. For the introverts, and most of us writers are introverts, it is a way of blending in without interacting too much with others, so we can think and plan and observe sans cell phones.

Now you are ready to write those ideas down to start the process of flow. The wind of the Holy Spirit flowing through your mind with ideas to flow onto the screen or paper. He can supply the ideas, and we supply the unique expression of those ideas. We co-create.

It is through him that we are able to live, to do what we do, and to be who we are. As your own poets have said, ‘We all come from him.’ Acts 17:28 ERV

FaithWriting

An Eagle and a Snowy Mountaintop

The bald eagle symbolizes America. It resides in North America, but this word reaches beyond this side of the earth. As such, I see some similarities between our national symbol and what is transpiring today. I will give this word loosely and hope that the Lord gives you wisdom as you read it.

The bald eagle is not obviously bald. Its white head contrasts with its dark body. Psalms 68:14 also contrasts Zalmon in a similar manner. It was a dark, volcanic mountain covered with snow. In this scripture passage, it was snowing when the kings of the earth were scattered by Him. It was a sign of timing.

Eagles can fly roughly two miles high in the air. The eagle has pinpoint eyesight and can see its prey from far away. Satellites, ditto, only they are not bound by biology, but technology.

They feed on schools of fish. Fish symbols were drawn to identify Christ followers during the persecution by the Roman Empire.

Their numbers are increasing because they are a protected species.

The numbers, precision, and protected status of others are overwhelming to those of us crying out for help. There are no man-made answers. There are some strong citizens doing what they can, but it is so widespread that only God can cleanse and heal our nation. Only God can restore our national symbol of the nation to us in a foundational way. Only God can deliver us from the eagles’ talons. Only God can transform the predator side of our national symbol into a symbol of hope and restoration of our republic.

The Psalms 68 passage note of my NASB study bible states that the battle had already been won before the Israelis had suited up for battle.

Ezekiel, the prophet, spoke for the Israelis then, and for Christ followers hurting now, no matter where we live. Verses 34:8, 10, 14-15, 17, 25-26, 28 speak encouragement for the days ahead:

“As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;…Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”….“I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD….”As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats….I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. “I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing….“They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid.

Faith

Lighting the Way Home

The book of Genesis begins with a chaos of darkness. Then God hovered over the waters, created the light, and separated the light out of the darkness. And He saw it as good.

An angel of God blocks the Egyptians with a cloud of darkness on their side and a fiery light on the Israelite’s side. He sets the scene for a miracle using dark and light from the same cloud the night of their deliverance.

Ezekiel sees a valley of dry bones. The bones are so dry, no blood or marrow is inside them. Then God steps in, raises and breathes on them. He creates an army out of dead dry bones. He separates death from life.

Josiah shatters the idols of Judah. The darkness of Manasseh and his son Amon’s reigns, according to Halley’s Bible Handbook, obliterates the thought of God. Josiah separates the darkness of demons from the holiness of light.

Mary Magdalene looks into the tomb of Jesus, crying because His body is missing in action. She turns around and asks Him, where is her Lord’s body? She is focusing on the darkness of death until she hears His resurrected voice say her name, “Mary.”

The American colonies rebel against the darkness of British tyranny. A revolution ensues with a home-grown Continental army of soldiers. They are far outmatched by the most powerfully polished nation on earth. Fighting for the light and hope of freedom keeps the soldiers from giving in and giving up.

To rebuild a person, place, thing or idea, it starts with the death of the old and the resurrection of the new. As the Cambridge Dictionary defines it, it is “to build something again that has been damaged or destroyed.”

Our purpose is to work in keeping with the gifts and talents that God has given us to rebuild. We do our best, despite the obstacles, and leave the results to God. If we control the results, we invite distraction from starting new projects and invite an unholy manipulation of God’s work. Our projects fly to the destinations that God alone knows.

We bring to light Father’s business. Once we release our offering to the Lord, He uses every small and large offering to weave a tapestry of beauty. He weaves in the mistakes that are made along the way.

Rebuilding from a scale that incorporates both a worldly stage and individual lives, the work of our hands benefits ourselves and society by making us vessels of God’s love to each other. Stepping out in faith — be it personal, cultural, or political — we achieve God’s purposes. That was how the West was won and how it will be won again.

Faith

Cusp of the Cross

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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

When praying for the healing of our broken bodies and forgiveness of our sins, we usually cite Isaiah 53:5 (ESV):

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

One phrase struck me this year of our turmoil – for no one is untouched: upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.

No one knows what the truth is. We write posts, articles, and podcasts to publish our opinions, trolling, news, encouragements, or propaganda. Confusion reigns even for those who try to do their best to find out the truth.

Our peace does not lie in the facts. God does not give any person the whole truth. He gives us His truth in what soldiers know as “on a need-to-know basis.”

Our peace lies in the hands of God — the peace that passes all understanding. He’s got this. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands.

And He sent His son on a cross to give it to us.

Faith

Celebrating Our Events

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Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

During the dedication of the new Jerusalem wall, all the Levites throughout the land came to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies and to take part in the joyous occasion with their thanksgiving, cymbals, psaltries, and harps.
Nehemiah 12:27 TLB


Occasional poetry is, as the name suggests, poetry written for an occasion. The emotional range is wide: it can be celebratory or a time of grief. German writer Goethe (18th through the 19th century) wrote that occasional poetry was “the first and most genuine of all kinds of poetry.”

United States poet laureates are assigned the task of writing occasional poetry.

Though Robert Frost wrote The Gift Outright in 1942, he read it at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. And although most Americans don’t think of The Battle Hymn of the Republic as an occasional poem, it is.

Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. And when it was finished, they celebrated.

Poets' Pavilion

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