Great C.S. Lewis quote

I posted a portion of this quote on Facebook today. Then I found myself wanting to read the context in which it was written. Well here it is!

“But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Our wayward selves

I’ve been reading one of those daily “one-year” Bibles for a number of years. They walk you through the Bible in one year. They give you a little Old Testament, a little New Testament, a little Psalms and a little Proverbs each day.

This really gives one a clear contrast between the Old and New Testaments. The New Testament is full of the love of Christ. All about Him wanting to give us new life.

But the Old Testament seems to paint a very different picture of God. The God of the Old Testament seems to really be a jealous God who is not always that merciful toward His people when they go astray.

So as I read, I’ve been trying to see some sort of balance between the two seemingly different pictures of God.

Yesterday I ran across this in Jeremiah.

“My wayward children,” says the LORD, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” Jeremiah 3:22

This verse comes after a fairly lengthy description of how unfaithful Israel had been to God. In spite of that, God wanted them back.

The neat thing about this is, God appears to be saying that if they return to Him, He will essentially help them to be less wayward.

Even though I may not want to do what is right all the time, I would like to want to. I think that as we turn to God, He helps us want to.

There’s a rule and there’s a judge

There is a new movie coming out about the start of Scientology. It’s called “The Master”. Apparently it’s quite good as far as acting and recreating the 1950 time period goes.

I was just reading another review of the movie here.

The review states that some in Hollywood turn to Scientology to help them have the discipline to combat the temptations of the show biz world. Below is an excerpt where this benefit of Scientology is compared to similar benefits of other religions.

And of course, others will say that traditional religion provides even better answers to eternal human concerns. Those traditional religions, after all, can provide plenty of rigor; indeed, it can be argued that the more rigorous the faith, the longer it survives and flourishes.

A case in point is Orthodox Judaism. Lloyd Green, a lawyer in New York City–and sometime contributor to Fox News Opinion–notes that every day, the observant Jew recites a liturgy that includes the words, Yesh din v’yesh dayan–“There’s a rule and there’s a judge.” Green explains: “We are reminded that there are rules and the individual is not the ultimate self-arbiter.” Those rules were decreed by God, and have been adhered to for thousands of years. Now that’s rigor.

So yes, “The Master” is an interesting movie to see, and Scientology is interesting in its way, too. But for most people, other traditions provide more. Much more.

I really like that Jewish saying… “There’s a rule and there’s a judge“. We are not to be our own masters. Not a bad idea to remind oneself of that daily.

For Your Birthday

I like to think about
God watching over our lives
from the beginning…

…arranging things
so that our paths would cross
and we would realize
we were meant for each other.

God made you for me…
and I bet it makes Him happy
to see what a wonderful husband
you are.

It makes me happy, too…
having your love
and sharing our faith
in the One who knows us so well.

I love you.

—————————————

Above was the verse on the birthday card my wife gave me today. While I’m not entirely sure I’m worthy of such praise… I can truly identify with the idea that our relationship was divinely arranged from the beginning. I know that some people have their faith reinforced after witnessing healings and such. Our relationship is one miracle that has definitely reinforced mine. It was as much an obvious evidence of God as I could imagine.

Civic review

The following is an excerpt from a review of the Civic by a Kelley Blue Book editor. After our trip up the coast yesterday, I can say it’s pretty accurate.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Honda Civic is not the smoothest or quietest car in the category. Nor is it the most fun to drive. Curious, then, that we’d rate it tops in driving dynamics in our shootout of the four newest cars in the category. How does it do it? With the help of steering and pedal response that other automakers could only dream of delivering. It’s easy to overlook excellence in these areas, but just as driving feel is a big part of the magic in a Porsche, the way the Civic gracefully listens and responds to a driver’s input is a key reason we consider the 2012 Honda Civic the connoisseur’s compact sedan.

His and hers

Shawna and I had talked a bit about the idea of his/hers Honda Civics. While we both thought the idea was interesting, she wasn’t really having much of it. Her Chrysler 300C HEMI was quite a bit nicer than a Civic. We also felt we needed a four-door car for occasional passengers.

But then I found out that the Civic EX-L version has leather and heated seats! Once I mentioned that, she was all over it. So we threw out the idea of having a four-door altogether and decided on a second two-door Civic. The EX-L model comes standard with an automatic transmission. So hers is an automatic and mine is a stick. I’m sure that will at least mess me up once in awhile with me either trying to hit the clutch in hers or forgetting to in mine.

The vehicle pictured is identical to the one we got for her today. I call it the “princess” edition. And her Chrysler 300 is going to find a new home somewhere.

While two new cars at once would normally be a little unreasonable. We had very good trade-ins. I think we traded both cars in at a very good place in their lives. And we got a fair price for them.

Actually it really seemed that the two-door EX-L was just meant to be hers. These are very hard to find in the two-door models. We went to the only dealer in the area who had one. We arrived at 10:10am. And when we arrived our salesperson told us that she had an appointment with a man to buy this very car at 10:00am. But he was late because he got called into work. We literally bought it out from under him. He showed up while we were finishing up our negotiations.

New car

A few days ago I parted with my 2006 Mustang in favor of a new 2012 Honda Civic.

Things change a little bit when a single-person one-car situation turns in to a married-couple two-car family.

When we got married, Shawna had a nice 2006 Chrysler 300 with 90,000 miles on it. And I had a 2006 Mustang with just over 80,000 miles. Both great cars. But as I was thinking about practicality and the future, I sort of figured that one really nice car is enough. Our other car should be more sensible and more economical.

While a smaller two-door car would be ok for us most of the time, we know there will be times when we need something larger with four doors. So the logical choice was to trade in my Mustang on an economy car. Then just keep the Chrysler 300 for those times when we need a four-door.

So I started thinking about trading in the Mustang on something more lower-end. I was initially leaning toward a Nissan Versa or a Toyota Yaris. But we decided to go a notch or two up with the Honda Civic. We found one online at a local dealer that was two years old and “certified pre-owned” with only 12,000 miles on it. A four-door Civic with an automatic.

We went to the dealer with a pretty solid plan for negotiating. We decided if they didn’t meet our price requirements that we would just flat walk out. Turns out they had sold the car we wanted. So instead we started eyeing a brand new bright red two-door Civic with a 5-speed.

Oddly enough, the price of a two year-old used Civic was not very different at all from the price of a new one. After talking to a number of people about this, it seems to be true. The used car market is weird right now when you’re looking for low-mileage cars.

Their asking price for the new car wasn’t bad. But they initially made a pretty low offer for the trade-in allowance on the Mustang. However we knew exactly what it was worth. So we held firm and sent the sales person back to his boss about four times before they finally came back and gave us a good price.

While we said yes on the deal, we said no on virtually all the options and extras they wanted to sell us. There was an extended warranty, undercoating, clear bra, and a bunch of other things. We said no to everything except one. That was the theft protection where they etch a serial number into all the glass in the car so that it makes identification and recovery easier. Since Honda Civics are near the top of the list of cars being stolen these days, it made sense.

So far Shawna has been driving the new Civic to work each day since she has the longer commute. And we’ll probably take the Honda on most longer trips like up to the Portland area. Should work out rather well and also prevent adding too many miles to the Chrysler 300.

Yippee!

Communication in the modern age

I recently read a little article titled something like “Phone calls are rude”. The point of the article was that calling someone on the telephone demands immediate, undivided attention. Whereas other forms of communication we use today like instant messaging, text messaging, email, and many others do not. I find this to be an interesting topic.

Then a few weeks ago I was working on a fairly urgent project. I was waiting on a file from someone that worked for another agency. I emailed him to ask if he would please let me know just as soon as the file was available so I could do my thing. I then went to work from home for the afternoon because I was expecting a delivery.

Well, I never received notice the the file had been made available. So our deadline came and went and there was a fair amount of hardship caused as a result.

The following Monday I came into the office to find a voice mail from this person at the other agency. They had called my on the telephone to tell me that this necessary file was available. Gah! Had I received that message in a timely fashion, I could have met the deadline. But I did not receive the message until it was too late.

I don’t ever check my work voice mail from home. Compared to email… I almost never use the phone at work period. I might receive one phone call every couple of weeks if that. So checking my voicemail from home would never occur to me. Nothing important ever gets done that way anymore.

In addition to that… I made my request to this person via email. I can’t really avoid the blame for not getting the message. But when you ask a question in email, don’t you normally expect the response to come via email?

Malice

A couple of months ago, Shawna got in a bit of a fender bender. She changed lanes and didn’t see the car next to her. It seemed like fairly minor damage, but the repair bill was around $2,000. So a couple of weeks ago we paid the $500 deductible to get it fixed. The body shop did a wonderful job. It looked great.

Then a couple of days ago… I noticed that someone had KEYED her car… right where the damage had been. We’re talking a significant wavy scratch about two feet long. We got an estimate on fixing the scratch… $780.00!!

This makes me pretty angry. I don’t think a complete stranger would have done this. Hard to say. I guess I just don’t understand the motivation behind it. It’s probably not fair to suspect anyone specific without evidence.

Every time I see that scratch, I get a little angrier. I just cannot fathom that level of malice. The idea of karma comes to mind. While that term is derived from eastern religions… the concept is true. Whoever did this will reap what they have sown.