Posts by Ruth Alkema

Touching the soul

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

If there is one word that describes me well, it is ‘curiosity’. I always want to know how things work, in all details, especially what goes on behind the surface, how things are connected, what they really mean. And now my attention is captured by the concept of a soul. My own soul in particular, but also the whole idea of a soul, what is it, how does it work, what is the relation of my soul with my body? Can souls be connected (as in family, friendship, marriage, relation with God), does a soul have various parts, or is it just itself, an indivisible unity? Is the soul a space in which ideas live, or is it the source of the ideas? What is a wounded soul? One question bothers me especially: how can a soul influence a body and vice versa, when they are of such different nature?

You, child

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of all their sins. Luke 1:76-79 No human being can pay full attention to the words that he or she is praying every single day, and apparently this is how God would have it. Sometimes, particularly at crisis points in our lives,…

Meaningful words

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23 Jesus is called the Word of God[1]. Surely this points to the enormous value of words. What is it with words? What do words do? There are so many types of words! From the technical explanation in a manual, to the beauty of poetry. From a heated argument to a formal speech. Last…

Conforming my soul to reality

In the last Christian Classics meeting, we discussed the book ‘The Abolition of Man’ by C.S.Lewis. There was one paragraph that struck me especially, he was writing about the dangers of modern genetics, and wrote: There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the wisdom of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had…

Book Reviews

Ruth Alkema has contributed these three book reviews – all three are highly recommended reading! Confessions By Saint Augustine Wow! What a wonderful book was this! I am so glad that I read it! Everything that I had heard about Augustine was proven false. I really love this man, he is so open and sensitive and honest, and very intelligent and broad minded! For a long time I had wanted to read this book, but…

Innocence

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8) Spring has come. For me this is always a time of exuberant joy when there is so much more light, and the fresh leaves are coming out, and all the little flowers with their freshness that is in such sharp contrast with the surroundings that still remind of winter. It is the time with all the cute young animals, soft lambs, calves…

Wonderful Creatures

A few months ago, I went to the movie ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’. It was tremendously inspiring. Such a wonderful world, with such diversity, magic, and a beautiful display of openness for others and tenderness and eccentricity and loads of humor! There was a dark side too. Without spoiling too much, I think I can say that it seems to me a very apt description of what dark sides always do: oppress differences, make…

Transparency

This contribution is from Ruth Alkema who contributes articles regularly both at Holy Trinity and Jeruzalemkerk in Utrecht. Some two years ago, I came across the book ‘Morals on the book of Job’. It is a verse by verse commentary on the Bible book of Job, written by Saint Gregory around the year 590. For several reasons this book captivated my attention [1], and now I have read almost half of it, and just read…