November 06, 2008

Why Loving the World is a Waste of Time It is not enough to say that we have love. Many would-be reformers of society have claimed a great love for humanity, but their lives tell a different story. Take, for example, the great nineteenth century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley believed that poets were the “unacknowledged legislators of the world” and that poetry could “push forward the moral progress of civilization.” His poetry lived up to his own high expectations of the art, and most of his works were highly moral and political. He wrote of an uprising against oppression, of the freedom and equality of all human beings, and he imagined a mythical being “leading humanity to utopia on earth.” He called his readers “to join him in his righteous utopia.” Shelley’s personal life, however, was littered with the casualties of the men and women who loved him but whom he eventually destroyed. He was estranged from both parents and his first marriage lasted only three years (producing two children) before he left his wife for another woman. After marrying his mistress, he had other sexual affairs, abandoned an illegitimate child, left his debts unpaid, and fleeced friends and family members for money. In his sobering work, Intellectuals, Paul Johnson writes that Shelley was “capable of feeling for, in the abstract, the whole of suffering humanity, yet finding it manifestly impossible, not once but scores, hundreds of times, to penetrate imaginatively the minds and hearts of all those people with whom he had daily dealings.” Johnson is a fan of Shelley’s poetry, but he summarizes Shelley’s life in this way: "Shelley [was] astonishingly single-minded in the pursuit of his ideals but ruthless and even brutal in disposing of anyone who got in his way. Like Rousseau, he loved humanity in general but was often cruel to human...
Live from Malaysia! (Pt. 1) 33 hours of traveling. With two kids under the age of four. Yup. My wife and I are insane. Nevertheless, we made it to Malaysia. The flights were great and Sophia and Norah proved to be natural globe-trotters. We got the front row of our cabin, and, since we strategically chose the two aisle seats of the middle section and one of inside seats while leaving the other inside seat empty, we managed to actually got all four seats of that row to ourselves. Guess no one wanted to sit between a couple of kids. We landed in Singapore at midnight and checked into a transit hotel for a few hours. The Changi airport in Singapore is like one-part 5-star hotel, one-part luxury mall. Too bad we were too wasted to actually enjoy it. Early the next morning we got up and got ready to fly to Malaysia. As soon as we landed, my parents surprised us at the gate. As it turns out, they have some friends who can pull a few strings! Our first stop from the airport was a place that serves my favorite Malaysian breakfast/brunch: roti canai. Instead of plates, meals are served on a gigantic banana leaf-- something Sophia found especially fascinating. I might have overdone it with the eating, but, man did it taste good! The good food kept on coming. My mom pulled out all the stops for dinner. It was so good to be in our home. The one setback has been that Holly's luggage somehow did not get loaded on the plane in Denver-- courtesy of United Airlines. Trying to get a hold of someone who knows what's going on and can help has been an exercise in futility. It seems the airline-airport blame game can produce a run-around of internationally...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

The Typepad Team

Recent Comments