Greco-Roman Backgrounds Study Guide

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C.S. Lewis – Success in Prayer

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“Even if all the things that people prayed for happened, which they do not, this would not prove what Christians mean by the efficacy of prayer. For prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them. Invariable “success” in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something more like magic—a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature.”

… C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer [1958], Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, p. 4

Sonnet 29

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This has long been my favourite of his sonnets.

Never more so than in these days…

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

– William Shakespeare

C.H. Dodd – The Adventure

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“That appearance on earth as an individual is the crisis in the history both of Christ Himself and of the humanity He saves and leads. The ministry of Jesus, therefore, culminating in His death, is essential to Paul’s whole thought. If in certain aspects of his theology it is the death that bulks most largely—because it seemed to him to be the purest and most moving expression of what the whole life meant—he is quite aware that the ethical impulse given by the example and teaching of Jesus is of the very stuff of the Christian life. He alludes to the Gospel story but sparingly, but those who study his teaching most closely become aware that he is himself acting and speaking all through under the impulse of the life and teaching of Jesus. If he refuses to “know Christ after the flesh,” it means that he will not risk a harking back to the temporary conditions of the Galilean ministry when the Spirit of Christ is clearly leading out into new fields. The issues of that ministry have been gathered up in the new experience of “Christ in me,” and that experience gives a living Christ, who leads ever onward those who will adventure with Him, and not a prophet of the past, whose words might pass into a dead tradition.”

… C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 92

NEEDTOBREATHE – More Heart, Less Attack

Be the light in the crack
Be the one that’s been there on a camel’s back
Slow to anger quick to laugh
Be more heart and less attack

Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack

The more you take the less you have
Cuz it’s you in the mirror staring back
Quick to let go slow to react
Be more heart and less attack

Ever growing steadfast
And if need be the one that’s in the gap
Be the never turning back
Twice the heart any man could have

Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack
Be more heart and less attack
Be more heart and less attack

I stuck my hat out I caught the rain drops
I drank the water I felt my veins block
I’m nearly sanctified I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river I’m near the open

I stuck my hat out I caught the rain drops
I drank the water I felt my veins block
I’m near the sanctified I’m near broken
I’m down the river I’m near the open

I’m down the river to where I’m going