Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music from a Garden

My, I've been absent from this blog for a while!
I suppose it's because I've always reserved this blog for essays and book reviews and things of that nature that aren't so personal, and in the past few months life has been pretty full of personal events. Perhaps I'll take some time to blog about all the changes and new things one day, but for the meantime I have a band that I'd love to introduce you to...

The Gray Havens.

The first song that I heard from them was Silver:
When I first heard it, I just thought "Hey, this is a cool song."
But then I read the Warden and the Wolf King, and this song matches the plot surprisingly well. That makes this one of my favorite songs of all time, because the WatWK is my favorite book.
(Can anyone who has read it attest to the similarities?)

This week I finally bought their EP, Where Eyes Don't Go.  I was hoping for another narrative song or two, and was delighted to find that pretty much the whole thing is consisted of folky stories. I love it so much. I feel like these people understand the basic truth that I hold to about the imminent coming of a new home and the nostalgia for that place which we've never yet known. Almost all of the six songs on this EP follow that theme. My favorite by far is Music From a Garden:

I suspect that they took some of their inspiration from The Magician's Nephew (which makes them about 1000 times cooler.) I am simply in love with this song. It's one of the first that I've heard that narrates the creation with an upbeat rhythm, and a chorus that emphasizes an internal connection with the "long forgotten song" to help us put it all into perspective.

I love that they refer to the Trinity as the Dove, the Lion, and the Composer. It's a beautiful picture of the mystery and order that we take so much time trying to analyze. The lines about the Lion speaking combined with the super fun beat bring images to my mind of Aslan roaring Narnia to life (which stirs my soul).

Over all, I fully resonate with that longing and yearning for the Garden to return. As the chorus goes:

I'm still dancing to the music from a garden,
That was so much brighter then,
With the echoes from a long forgotten song,
Escaping from my lungs within,
And you can hear the movement through,
Thee overture that's playing if you listen to the end,
Because the dove and the composer will be dancing,
When the Lion comes again

Just this morning I was reading in Romans 8, and it talks about this very same thing:

    "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with  patience."

Romans 8:18-25 ESV

Creation waits for us, and we wait for Him. In this eagerness, we are patient because we know that we can trust the faithfulness of our God to deliver us back into the creation that He intended for us. We dance to that old forgotten song as the music escapes from our lungs. We were born to the echoes of the rhythm of our home and there is joy in the movement. It thrills my heart that this song is in agreement with that, alongside the rest of the EP. (except for the last song which is stinking adorable. :)

I hope you can enjoy this band as much as I am! I also hope that there's a full length album coming soon. 

~Heather Rose

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The stories are true.

Dearest friends, the time has come. The wait is over, and the final journey is straight ahead. 
The saga is complete. 

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you're at least faintly familliar with these books. (If not, look for the page dedicated to explaining this series.)

The wait for the fourth and final book is finally over. Kickstarter backers are receiving their reward packages, and I am included in that blessed multitude. 

I'm posting to say that I have indeed finished reading the Warden and the Wolf King. Just this morning, actually. I'm collecting my thoughts, because I would like to really concentrate all of my writing ability to put together the best review that I can muster. This will probably take some time... 

However, the book isn't officially releasing until July, so I feel that I have a bit of a grace period. I'm also probably (and inevitably) going to include some spoilers, however vague they may be. I think that taking time to do a well-constructed, justifiable review would benefit anyone else who wants to read it first themselves and not read hints of the details. 

Anyway, there is a review coming. In the meantime, I can wholeheartedly confirm that the book is worth the wait. 

To quote the book's dedication:

"This one's for you, Dear Reader.
You're almost home."

-Heather Rose 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Letter in the Style of Screwtape, I

(This was originally posted on the Table of Contents Blog with a rather lengthy intro. If you'd like to read it, be my guest. I do believe that a blog post on C.S. Lewis' book, The Screwtape Letters, is in order. That is what this piece is fashioned after, and why I loosely call this a fan fiction.)

A Letter in the Style of Screwtape

My dear Legionem,
                I need not inform you of the simplicity of your situation. You, fortunate nephew, have been given of the most practiced tasks available for a devil of your status. The young female mortal with whom you are charged is not unlike a thousand others that have been successfully snatched from the possession of the Enemy and delivered, oozing with sins and self, unto our banquet table. She is, no doubt, ignorant of your presence or the very possibility of a tempter’s presence in her tiny mind. She believes herself to be completely without wrong. This is quite an ideal situation for you, and I hope to our Father Below that you do not let it slip from your grasp. (You are aware of the utter and inevitable failure of your brother, and I would prefer to see you succeed, for the sake your end and of my reputation.)

Now, your professor has informed me that your patient is a devoted church attendee. She calls herself a Christian, and even reads the Enemy’s detestable book and speaks to Him regularly. Do not be daunted by her habits. For that is all that they are- habits disguised as acts of worship. As you were well instructed in the College, this is the result of our own propaganda. Your predecessors have taught the humans to think of “worship” as an act alone. And, as most effective deceptions are, this concept is spun from shrapnel of hideous truth. Worship was created by the Enemy, as were the humans. He, with purpose still unknown to us, fashioned humanity to thrive when immersed in the mental and spiritual act of worship. They are sickeningly filled with superfluous, edifying joys when they worship the Enemy. This is a gateway into His presence, and with it our purposes are virtually lost.

It is quite easy, however, to avoid your patient’s entering to worship (you, I am sure, know that this term applies to the whole of their lives, and not merely to the noisy rituals that they perform before their religious services. They are blissfully unaware of this, and our causes are favored by the outcome of their ignorance). There are two methods: first, to move her object of worship to something more destructive, like her own self or the fickle little things of her cultural surroundings. Humans are naturally going to worship something. Their pitiful little spirits cannot go without living in adoration of something, whether it is the Enemy or themselves. If you are able to trap your patient in a hedge of idols, you will have success. Use this trait of hers to your own advantage, and you won’t need to exhort yourself with tedious deception. All that you have to do is divert her adoration. Most females her age can be diverted from the Enemy for the entirety of their lives by effective work at this most impressionable time.

She is young and stupid and believes that the vast “greatness” of the world will refine her into a greater person. These humorously mislead presumptions are already planted in her mind by her own flesh, and they leave you with the easiest work of your career. Show her the things of the world, and she will no doubt be infatuated with them. You will then, dear nephew, see her in the actual act of worship. She will think of the things of the world, speak of the things of the world, and invest (both her wealth and her own self) in the things of the world, until the thought of leaving it all behind for Eternity terrifies her.

You may call this idolatry “materialism,” as the church calls it to sweeten and hide what the true, ugly sin is. You will hardly hear such a harsh and absolute word as “idolatry” used in context in this age’s churches. Make no mistake: this worship of the world and the things of which it consists is indeed the definition the sin so loathed by the Enemy. It is quite to our advantage, for it requires very little temptation, yet is entirely effective in separating man from his beloved Lord.  Not only does it separate, but it also absorbs a man’s affections and “love” for the Enemy, which causes Him much grief. If you can accomplish this simple task, there is no way for it to not end in your favor.

In summary, you are to insure that her priorities and affections are centered on one of two idols: her own self or the world. Either way, she will be thwarted from the Enemy’s “straight and narrow path” and will seldom be aware of what she is missing. It would also benefit you to convince her that there is nothing desirable about that way in the first place. She is like a moth, whose attention is easily set to whatever is the brightest light. In the style of our Father, you are to disguise the idols as twinkling lights that clutter her view of the Enemy’s penetrating brightness. She is too naive to know the difference.

I am hoping that you will be able to provide me with reason to be confident in your success. My optimism will be hard to obtain. However, this is such a remedial test of your ability that I find myself doubting that you can somehow manage to fail. As your first patient in the art of temptation, do try to begin well. Perhaps you will prove to be worth the schooling that you have so studiously consumed.

Your affectionate uncle,                                                                                                                                          


I plan on writing more of these, continuing the story of Legionem's first patient, and the patient's rise to holiness or demise to the way of the lost. We'll just have to see where this goes. 

~Heather Rose