9 martie 2014
Schweitzer’s book on Bach (which he first wrote in French and then rewrote and doubled in German) made him a lot of friends throughout the world.
My Romanian readers will be glad to find out that Queen Elisabeth (29 December 1843 – 3 March/2 November 1916), wife of our first king, Carol I, was among his numerous correspondents.
Carmen Sylva, Queen of Romania, wrote me a long letter because I had made her beloved Bach still dearer to her, and it was followed by a whole series of others. The latest of them, directed to Africa, was painfully written with a pencil because her hand, which suffered from rheumatism, could no longer hold a pen. I could not accept the frequently written invitation at her castle in Sinaya, which carried with it the obligation to play the organ for her two hours a day. In the last years before my departure for Africa I could not afford the time for a holiday. By the time I did return home she was no longer among the living.
8 martie 2014
Unde sunt glorioasele vremuri de odinioară, în care Societatea Biblică Britanică tipărea, prin filiala ei rusă, Scriptura pentru românii din Basarabia (și nu numai)?
Astăzi, organizațiile protestante nonguvernamentale occidentale sunt aprig strânse cu ușa de către regimul autocratului Putin, iar Biserica Ortodoxă Rusă, care după 1990 a redescoperit gustul dulce al puterii, nu dă semne că ar avea insomnii prea mari din cauza mariajului trainic cu puterea laică.
Evident, cei care cunosc istoria Societății Biblice Ruse știu că idila ruso-britanică de factură biblică s-a făcut scrum (la propriu) nu după multă vreme. Dar în scurta sa existență, „soțietatea biblică rosinească” a publicat câteva ediții importante. Am scris cândva pe scurt despre acest subiect. Recent am găsit un mic fragment care îmi dă ghes să reiau cândva problema.
Textul provine din G. Bezviconi, Profiluri, colecție de articole publicate în 1943.
8 martie 2014
This week I had a very interesting conversation with professor H.K. about Barth and Schweitzer. I find the latter a very intriguing figure, one I cannot utterly comprehend. Schweitzer wrote a few masterful theological works, was a consummate musician, and famously worked as a missionary in Africa for a long time. For most of us, it’s hard enough to get a small measure of accomplishment in one field, let alone three! I am amazed that he could achieve so little during a period marked by two world wars, so much disease, dissolution of values and death.
I have read large chunks of his The Quest of the Historical Jesus and now I am browsing through his Out of My Life and Thought. Here is one excerpt which deserves special mention. Emphasis is mine.
The Gospel of Jesus that tells us to expect the end of the world turns us away from the path of immediate action towards service in behalf of the Kingdom of God. It urges us to seek true strength through detachment from this world in the spirit of the Kingdom of God. The essence of Christianity is an affirmation of the world that has passed through a negation of the world. Within a system of thought that denies the world and anticipates its end, Jesus sets up the eternal ethic of active love!
I find that stimulating because, as a Pentecostal, I find myself surrounded by people who are so much eschatologically-oriented, that they tend to neglect the “ethic of active love”. Small religious communities living on the verge of the eschaton tend to negate so much (and sometimes so violently) the world, that they have no time for Bach’s music or for medical ministry in Africa. Schweitzer’s interpretation of the Gospel feels so compelling because it was embodied in a robust and authentic manner by a man who, though perceived as “liberal” by his detractors, strikes me as a Christ-like figure who was passionate for the truth and who lived a life worthy of his Master.
Here is another excerpt:
The true understanding of Jesus is the understanding of will acting on will. The true relation to Him is to become His. Christian piety of any and every sort is valuable only insofar as it means the surrender of our will to Him.
Analyze your will scrupulously in light of this quotation and, if you are honest, you will be dismayed upon realizing how much “unsurrendered” will there is left in the recesses of your heart!
8 martie 2014
Given the Socialist origins and overtones of the International Women’s Day, I am not really a fan of this red-letter day.
But if we are to celebrate, let us celebrate by remembering a woman composer of Eastern music: Kassia. I bought this excellent album a few years ago and I am glad to see it is on youtube.
8 martie 2014
These days I no longer have the energy to post on my blog. When I manage to insert a youtube clip, it feels like a great achievement.
So here is a piano concerto by Schumann.
I hope to be back soon with a short review of The Butler or a poll about the death penalty.
28 februarie 2014
A song on which I stumbled recently and which recalls the convoluted history of the “gallant South”.
Powerful lyrics, great delivery.
For details about the events leading up to the composition of this song, see HERE.
A better version below.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.