Desiring Possessions

This is a good quote from Augustine’s The City of God that really challenges me to rethink my attachment to possessions and the affect that desire has on me.

If they owned their possessions as they had been taught by the apostle [Paul], who himself was poor without, but rich within, could say in the words of Job, heavily tried, but not overcome: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; as it pleased the Lord, so has it come to pass: blessed be the name of the Lord.” Like a good servant, Job counted the will of his Lord his great possession, by obedience to which his soul was enriched; nor did it grieve him to lose, while yet living, those goods which he must shortly leave at his death. But as to those feebler spirits who, though they cannot be said to prefer earthly possessions to Christ, do yet cleave to them with a somewhat immoderate attachment, they were sinning in loving them. For their grief is of their own making; in the words of the apostle quoted above, “they have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” For it was well that they who had so long despised these verbal admonitions should receive the teaching of experience. For when the apostle says, “They that will be rich fall into temptation,” and so on, what he blames in riches is not the possession of them, but the desire of them.

Money and Faith

I am currently reading The City of God by St. Augustine. In the chapter I am reading, Augustine is talking about money, the desire for it, and where true wealth lies.

They lost all [the possessions] they had. Their faith? Their godliness? The possessions of the hidden man of the heart, which in the sight of God are of great price? Did they lose these? For these are the wealth of Christians to whom the wealthy apostle said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (emphasis mine)

Biblical Reference In Quote: 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (emphasis mine)

Sister Carrie

Slackness Outed
Re-reading Sister Carrie is probably paying penance for one of my summer sessions at State.

There were a few times during college where I tried to get away with either procrastinating too long or being a little lazy and in this instance, procrastination got the better of me. One of the courses I took during a summer semester was an American Literature course. In typical college professor fashion, my American Lit professor decided to make us read a ton of books in the short four-week span.

I stayed on top of the most of my reading and homework. With Sister Carrie, though, I waited too long to begin reading it. Realizing I was not going to be able to even finish half of this long book before the exam, I did what any good college student would do in the mid-90’s: I bought the Cliff’s Notes version. (Let it be known that I was thrilled they would even have this guide for what I believed was such an obscure book.) I studied the Cliff’s Notes book thoroughly and felt I was ready to go for my exam. That feeling quickly disappeared as I read the exam’s questions.

In the end, it was pretty obvious that I had not read the book and my grade on the exam reflected that fact. I talked with the professor and got a second chance to read the book and take the exam. I passed it and everything worked out, but every now and then I decide it is time to return to Theodore Dreiser’s world and revisit Carrie, Hurstwood, and Drouet.

The Book
Sister Carrie The book is pretty depressing, but is a good read. By the end of the book, you really feel for each of the three main characters and how things turn out for each of them. I would recommend the book solely on the basis that it is an American Literary classic.

What is funny to me is that the book was so scandalous back in 1900 when it was published. In fact, it was so scandalous the publisher did not even promote the book and just gave it a plain, boring cover to downplay it. By today’s standards, though, it is probably pretty tame.

I think this quote sums up the view of the book pretty well. In the end neither money nor love/affection could prove to be security for the characters’ happiness.

It does not take money long to make plain its impotence, providing the desires are in the realm of affection. With her one hundred and fifty [dollars] in hand, Carrie could think of nothing particularly to do. In itself, as a tangible, apparent thing which she could touch and look upon, it was a diverting thing for a few days, but this soon passed.”

Book Cover from Wikimedia Commons

Learning More Wolof

I got my new English-Wolof dictionary and phrasebook yesterday. I bought one before I went on our May mission trip. Right before we left, I had a student ask me if he could have my dictionary. It was a little difficult to hand it over because I had written so many notes; however, after hurriedly copying my notes to paper it traded possession.

I am excited about getting to dig in and learn more Wolof again! So, Nanga def (hello, how are you)?

Wolof-English Dictionary