Wyrde and Wicked by Charlotte English

House of Werth, Book 2

I read it in one sitting, which is to say that Charlotte has once again kept me up far too late, or early, as the case may be. It is wickedly wyrde. Highly recommended. But don’t start with this one, read Wyrde and Wayward first or you will be thoroughly lost. You may be lost anyway, but such is the nature of the House of Werth.

From the Smashwords blub…

‘When it comes to the Wyrde, there is no such thing as harmless. Every single one of us is a walking disaster.’

Winter has come to Werth Towers, and brought a deal of trouble with it.

Not that any of it is the fault of Miss Gussie Werth. To be a one-woman catastrophe might be seen as a misfortune, but really, there can be no hope of a cure.

What with murderous Books on the rampage, Lady Maundevyle brewing plans for Christmas, and a couple of dragons on the loose, a quiet life is not likely to be had.

Still, in times of crisis, there is always Lord Felix. The disreputable old revenant might have a few odd ideas; but you’re at Werth Towers, now. The merely unusual comes as a matter of course.

Welcome to the strangest family in Regency England. Find out just what Gussie did next…

Witchcraft by Charles Williams

First published 1941.

Williams himself states by way of introduction, These pages must stand for what they are—a brief account of the history in Christian times of that perverted way of the soul which we call magic, or (on a lower level) witchcraft, and with the reaction against it. That they tend to deal more with the lower level than with any nobler dream is inevitable.

This was a painful book to read, as any sane and even-handed history of the times would have to be. As another reader stated, it is neither hysteria nor propaganda, but a carefully written history by a master thinker, researcher and writer.

Highly recommend, but be prepared for a tough slog. Do not expect a Harry Potter prequel. The evils and perversions committed by both those purporting and those prosecuting witchcraft were real and terrible. Yet there were bright lights as well, and Williams gives them due credit, as partial and imperfect as they may have been.

What do you have in your hands?

Our “Connection Group” at Rochester Christian Reformed Church meets twice a month. We take turns coming up with a sharing question for the group. Jim’s question for this evening’s get together was this. It concerns the first of the beatitudes in the fifth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This is the one Anthony asked toward the end of his sermon last Sunday: What personal abilities or resources are you bringing to Jesus in a vain attempt at self-justification? What do you value about yourself that you should instead put aside so you can be poor in spirit and come to Jesus empty-handed?

Since I had to miss the meeting, I wrote my response so I could mail it to the group. This is what I wrote.

The beatitudes admit to multiple interpretations. Such is the nature of proverbs.

Pastor Anthony and Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy) take different but parallel approaches. The key element for both is that the beatitudes are not a new set of laws to beat ourselves up with, but a proclamation of grace.

For Willard the point is good news for those who knew they had nothing in their hands and knew they had to get their act together in order to be acceptable to God. Jesus says, “No, you are blessed / happy / flourishing just as you are because the kingdom is my gracious gift to you.”

For Pastor Anthony the point is good news for those who know they have some pretty good stuff in their hands to present to God to gain his approval. To them Jesus says, “No, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it gets in the way. Let it go. You are blessed / happy / flourishing with your empty hands, because the kingdom is my gracious gift to you.”

Jesus’ original hearers certainly included both groups. I expect most of us are a mixture of of the two.

The past few years have done a number on my self-confidence. What I have the hardest time letting go of is the nagging feeling that I need to do something more to be acceptable, to truly flourish in the kingdom of heaven. The monkey on my back sings, “Oughta oughta oughta.”

Snake

#Inktober52 prompt for January 23.

Snake coming in,
low and hot;
the infantryman’s friend.

(The Bell Helicopter Attack Helicopter AH-1 Cobra was known as “the Snake”.)

Inktober is doing a 52-week challenge. For those of us who don’t do pen and ink drawings, they work for writing prompts too.

I will always remember…

I went on a HikeYoga outing back in July 2018. The instructor incorporated a pair of short sketchbook sessions, one to draw or write about an object close by, and a second with a prompt.

Her prompt was, “I will always remember…”. She gave us two minutes, so it had to be off the top of the head.

I will always remember…

  • I will always remember that I am one finite human being, with assorted weaknesses, and that’s ok.
  • I will always remember that I will not live forever on this earth, and that’s ok, too.
  • I will always remember that Jesus loves me, and that is enough.

Those three statements have kept me going through this last year, infected disk, major surgery, recovery, my Mom’s passing, and all.

Brick

#Inktober52 prompt for January 16.

A solid thing,
a thing for building;
a camera,
a thing for building dreams.

(Thanks to its shape and heft, the Argus C3 was affectionately known as “the brick”.)

Inktober is doing a 52-week challenge. For those of us who don’t do pen and ink drawings, they work for writing prompts too.