let’s get down to business: disney workout playlist

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Aaaaaaannnnnndddd … I’m not even joking.

Okay, so not all of them are Disney, but close enough 😉

–> “I’ll Make a Man out of You” — Donny Osmond (my top favorite!)

–> “Touch the Sky” — Julie Fowlis

–> “Get Off of My Back” — Bryan Adams

–> “You Can’t Take Me” — Bryan Adams

–> “Son of Man” — Phil Collins

–> “Something That I Want” — Grace Potter

–> “When Will My Life Begin” — Mandy Moore

–> “I’ve Got a Dream” — Tangled

{works for a roughly 20 minute workout}

Any others to add to the list, you think?

And if that’s not motivating enough …

{even pascal's ready to get serious here}

Even Pascal’s ready to get down to business. So if you slack off during your workout … consider yourself warned.

donec facies habebimus & some thoughts

{photo credit is unbeknownst to me}

{photo credit is unbeknownst to me}

(rough) latin translation — “till we have faces”, a book by c.s. lewis.

(Woops, mistranslated it slightly. Title is updated with correct Latin, haha)

If I am ever asked what my favorite book is, I think I’d have to say it’s that one. It’s one of those books that I can read a thousand times and still find deeper meanings & symbolisms.

In my Omnibus class, we are reading Dante’s Inferno. The other day I chanced upon this essay that shows ties with Dante and others, and, really, it’s fascinating. I think I’m going to reread Till We Have Faces on my own along with the Inferno.

It’s sort of a seemingly dark, strange, & paganistic book, but the ending is absolutely beautiful, and, as you will read in the essay, this actually has very Christian themes disguised in a Greek-mythological story.

If you haven’t read it yet, you should. I would argue that it’s one of C.S. Lewis’s best works.

Baptizing a Greek Myth

{by kyle sanders}

            Greek myths have captured audiences by their compelling stories at the mythical lessons that they teach.  C.S Lewis, a novelist among many other things, saw that dynamic quality in the story of Eros and Psyche.  So he decided to rewrite the story in his last novel, Till We Have Faces.  Lewis retells the myth with different characters, a different setting, and a different protagonist.  Instead of the two lovers being the protagonists, one of the “mean step-sisters,” whom Lewis names Orual, assumes not only the leading role but the narrator as well.  Orual, the eldest, has two younger sisters.  Orual’s face since birth is ugly while her youngest sister, Istra/Psyche, has a beauty beyond comparison.  Psyche’s mother dies at birth so Orual takes upon herself the role of Psyche’s mother.  A draught enters Glome, the pagan barbaric setting, and Psyche is forced to sacrifice herself to end the draught.  Psyche lives and marries a god, who will not allow her to see his awesome countenance. Orual disbelieves her and blackmails Psyche with her life to show the true identity of her husband.  The god is real and condemns Psyche and curses Orual.  They don’t see each other again.  Orual assumes queen-ship of Glome, a pagan country, and lives out her life in rule of her country, until she enters a small temple dedicated to the new goddess Istra.  The priest then tells a story different than what truly happened, hence, she is inspired to right the truth, a complaint against the gods.  At the end of her life, she has a series of dreams/visions of the things Psyche did to reunite with her husband.  In the last one, Orual is judged by the god who condemned her sister.  Through this vision she finds out that her physical ugliness is parallel to her spiritual ugliness.  She realizes true love and sees her true face just before she beholds the countenance of Psyche’s god, who tells her that she is Psyche as well.  The story is very powerful and emotional, but there is a deeper meaning than the physical story that Lewis constructs.  Despite its pagan origins the novel, Till We Have Faces, is a Christian story.

            Lewis was a Christian.  He wrote a library of books pertaining to questions in Christianity and Christianity in general, and he did not just write novels.  He wrote some overtly Christian works pertaining to apologetics, spiritual warfare, and the bible.  Mere Christianity a work “in perfect harmony with the Christian Orthodoxy,”Problem of Pain “a restatement of orthodox Christian Teaching,” and Miracles, “an argument that miracles are possible,” are just a few of his apologetic works.  The Screwtape Letters is a collection of letters written by a demon to his nephew on how to condemn “patients,” or humans.  “Through Screwtape, Lewis writes of the incarnation, of demonic reaction of salvation, and the quest for the historical Jesus.” Lewis also wrote a reflection on the Psalms which is his only work that speaks directly about the Bible.

            Lewis, along with being a Christian writer, had many Christian influences when he wrote the myth retold.  One of his biggest influences was Dante, “Lewis’ favorite poet.” Orual’s last dream and journey parallels Dante’s journey through hell in Inferno.  First, she is surprised by all the people in the underworld, “In my foolishness I had not thought how many dead there must be,”just as Dante was surprised at the number of dead.  Then, both are led by a mentor Orual by the Fox and Dante by Virgil.  Finally, Dante and Orual are met by their “God bearing images” in Beatrice and Psyche. John Milton also influenced Lewis not only in Till We Have Faces but in many of his other works as well.  The tension between Orual and Psyche is very similar to the tension between Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost.  Eve and Orual, using the guise of love, demand their counterpart to act against God and her husband, a god, respectively. Finally, Lewis is influenced by the Christian philosopher and doctor St. Augustine, mostly by Orual’s “natural creaturely knowledge” that does not transcend into the true understanding the god’s actions, and in seeing Shadowbrute’s true image/ face. Lewis was influenced by many Christian authors when he wrote Till We Have Faces.

            Psyche, even before her marriage with the god, lives a Christian vocation of sacrifice.  The first time she displays her willingness to sacrifice herself for the sake of the community is when the peasants call upon her to heal them of the plague.  Her willingness, “‘Let me go out,’ said Psyche.  ‘They are our people,’” to help those in need, according to the king and Orual, the poorest of the poor, the decrepit of Glome, conveys to the audience a Christian vocation of sacrifice.  She’s willing to sacrifice herself even unto death to help the poor people of Glome, “I saw her (Psyche) growing paler and paler.  Her walk had become a stagger.  ‘King,’ said I, ‘it will kill her.” She lives and so does the plague.  Then, when the Priest of Ungit, the goddess of Glome, chooses Psyche to be the sacrifice to relieve Glome of the plague, Psyche accepts the choice, despite the horror of being eaten by the Shadowbrute, to be the sacrifice for Glome.  Again she is willing to offer herself up for the sake of her country, “How can I be a ransom for Glome unless I die?  And if I am to go to the god, of course it must be through death.” Psyche has an understanding of death that goes beyond the pagan ideas of death; she sees it not as an end to life like the Greeks whom the Fox adores, but as a passage into a better life.

            Lewis adds an eschatological dimension to Till We Have Faces with Psyche’s understanding of death.  She desires death so that she can see where “all the beauty came from.” She sees in the beauty of this world a longing for something greater, something Orual did not understand until her last vision.  “Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I didn’t know where I was to come to.  It almost hurt me.  I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home.” She held the Christian understanding of death.  Psyche realized that the world that she lives in is fleeting, but that will be seen clearly in the fullness of her time, her death.  She, although she does not explicitly say it, believes in heaven, a place greater than that in which she lives.

            Lewis not only shows a journey from life on earth to life in heaven but also a journey, or maturation, of love, especially in Orual.  According to Christian teaching, Love comes in three forms, eros, philia, and agape, each one being more mature than the other.  Everyone starts out with eros, or according to Lewis, need-love, with is the basic physical love that an adult starts a relationship with.  As one matures he or she develops philia, or brotherly love.  Then, one reaches full maturation when, he or she displays agape, or what Lewis calls, gift-love, where a person loves another enough to “die any death for” someone.  Orual’s story is basically about that maturation of love.  For most of her story, Orual displays the need-love of eros.  Her reaction to Psyche accepting the sacrifice to the Shadowbrute shows the need-love, that possessive love, which is again shown when Orual blackmails Psyche with her life.  She contains a possessive love that Psyche never knew about, “‘You are indeed teaching me about kinds of love I did not know.  It is like looking into a deep pit.  I am not sure whether I like your kind of love better than hatred.’”She continues her need love even after she is separated from Psyche.  She indirectly kills Bardia, the chief guard, by keeping him till all hours of the night doing useless odd jobs.  She loved him, as his wife realized, but in the same way she loved Psyche, possessively. Her love did not begin to mature until the last dream.  Her love for Psyche matures into agape, through the mystical experience of the dream, “I loved her as I would once have thought it impossible to love, would have died any death for her.  And yet, it was not, not now she that really counted.  Or if she counted it was for another’s sake.” She finally understood what Psyche felt during the “healing service” and the sacrifice to the Shadowbrute, a love that does not consider oneself but everyone else, a Christ-love.

            Eros is not only the need-love that Orual suffers, but Psyche’s husband in the original story.  Although Lewis does not give a new name to the god who Psyche marries, it is obvious that the god is Eros, the Greek god of love.  Eros is Aphrodite’s son, and the Fox, Orual and Psyche’s Greek tutor, compares Ungit with Aphrodite easily putting the husband with Eros.  Lewis uses Eros as a comparison to God and Christ because Eros is the god of love, and St. John says that “God is love” in first letter.  So Psyche’s marriage goes much deeper than just a marriage with a god but the one and only God.  Lewis weaves the Christian paradox of dying to find life.  Psyche “dies” when she is supposedly eaten by the Shadowbrute only to “rise” to marry Eros/Christ.  She leaves family and house to join Christ in his palace, as Christ calls all Christians to do.  This parallel is brought even deeper at the end of the novel when Orual encounters Eros/Christ.

            Joy silenced me.  And I thought I had now come to the highest, and to the utmost fullness

of being which the human soul can contain . . . Suddenly, from a strange look in Psyche’s face (I could see she knew something she had not spoke of), or from a glorious and awful deepening of the blue sky above us, or from a deep breath like a sigh uttered all round us by invisible lips, or from a deep, doubtful, quaking surmise in my own heart, I knew that all this had been a preparation.  Some far greater matter was upon us . . . The earth and stars and sun, all that was or will be, existed for his sake.  And he was coming.  The most dreadful, the most beautiful, the only dread and the beauty there is, was coming.

Orual encounters Christ in her last vision.  She experiences the presence of the Christ in the flesh.  She realizes the Other, the being greater than all other things, the being that created all things and creation exists “for his sake.”

            Finally, to finish the baptism of this Greek myth, Lewis alludes to the Bible, to a passage in the Old Testament and one in the New.  Orual and Psyche are like Ishmael and Isaac: Orual, the older child, the “child of the flesh,” and Psyche, the younger child, blessed, daughter of the spirit. Psyche and Isaac are the beloved children while Orual and Ishmael are the hated ones.  Both Psyche and Isaac are sent to be sacrificed but live.  Orual is beaten by her father and Ishmael is exiled by his.  However, Orual deviates from the parallel to Ishmael when God says that she “also (is) Psyche” in the end; Ishmael is never heard of again after the exile. Then, Lewis alludes to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 13:12 when he has Orual write, “Two figures, reflections, their feet to Psyche’s feet and mine, stood head downward in the water.  But whose were they?  Two Psyches, the one clothed, the other naked?  Yes, both Psyches, both beautiful beyond all imagining, yet not exactly the same.” Lewis borrows that image from Paul, “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.” Orual only saw herself as an ugly-faced person, so she covered her face with a veil.  She never saw her true self, the way that she was originally made, beautiful, in the image and likeness of God until she gazed into the pool and saw herself as Psyche, beautiful.

            Lewis wrote Till We Have Faces as a Christian story even though the physical story was pagan.  He drew influences from many Christian authors such as Dante, Milton, and Augustine.  He gave Psyche a Christian vocation of love and sacrifice, showed the Orual’s maturation of Christian love, used Eros as a symbol of Christ, and alluded to the Christian text, the Bible.  He rewrote the Greek myth into a Christian story to inspire Christians to live out the Christian vocation as Psyche did and to inspire non-Christians to meditate on the Christian actions of Psyche and Orual.


#one.thousand.gifts.

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–> fresh applesauce

–> misty sunrise

–> sweet family moments

–> the smell of old books

–> quiet time

–> “He is with us” by Love & The Outcome

–> starbucks gift cards (they never expire!)

–> crossfit & the people there

–> my wonderful teachers

–> romans 6

–> chamomile tea

–> the smell after an oregon rain

–> glimpses of chivalry coming back to life

–> listening to someone passionate about the Gospel

What are you thankful for?