Tuesday, June 23


A shred of it pierces you, fills you, encourages you to go on.  Maybe I call it hope, but I wonder if it something more, more like a promise.  And that promise of hope to me is that if we repent, and be baptized, then: "the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord God calls to Himself."  (Acts 2:39)  

Sure, maybe the face value gives comfort in the fact that the Promise so freely given is also extended to our children, and what a hope by the way.  But tonight the Hope goes further than that.  The Hope is in the Promise of knowing that all I have to do is repent.  That is it.  There is nothing more, and indeed, nothing less.

Saturday, June 20

Wendell Berry Picks Jail Over NAIS

This is a very interesting development from the Department of Agriculture.  Thanks Bonnie, for sharing this as I had not yet seen this snake rear its ugly head.

Wendell Berry Picks Jail Over NAIS

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Tuesday, June 16

the dark planet

Re-reading A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle is a remembering of all the truth ideas I learned from her back at the intense ages of 12 and 13.  One of the main characters, Proginoskes, is a cherubim whom the little boy Charles Wallace took for a host of dragons, and Meg his sister describes: "She had the feeling that she never saw all of it at once, and which of all the eyes could she meet? merry eyes, wise eyes, ferocious eyes, kitten eyes, dragon eyes, opening and closing, looking at her....And wings, wings in constant motion, covering and uncovering the eyes.  When the wings were spread out they had a span of at least ten feet, and when they were all folded in, the creature resembled a misty, feathery sphere.  Little spurts of flame and smoke spouted up between the wings; it would certainly start a grass fire if it weren't careful" (54).  

It is of Proginoskes that I think when I read of the Four Living Creatures assembled around the throne of God:  "And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind....And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!'" (Revelations 4:6-8)
And then we sing the song "Holy, Holy, Holy" and I remember Progo and think of the Four Creatures with all their eyes blinking and wise and if you read further, you find that it's a not a few creatures alone, but "the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands," are all shouting or singing or just speaking as if one thunderous voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" (Rev. 5:11-12).  He's worthy, because he died, and he died because he alone was worthy to redeem us all out of this dark, comparatively silent planet.   And we with our weak and wobbly voices and kid voices off key are not alone when we solemnly sing "Holy, Holy, Holy."  We have Proginoskes, dissolved in a shimmer of air next to us, joining with his much more heavenly voice and spurts of flame burning our hands as if mimicking the sparks of the Spirit blistering our heart.  

Monday, June 8

The truth of each of us

From Wendell Berry's book about a mouse:

"She lived at the center of the world.  This is one of the things every mouse knows.  Wherever she was, she was at the center of the world.  That one lives at the center of the world is the world's most profoundest thought.  So firmly was this thought set in Whitefoot's mind that she did not need to think it.  Like humans, she lived in the little world of what she knew, for there was no other world for her to live in.  But she lived at the center of her world always, and of this she had no doubt."
~p. 11, Whitefoot

Yet it takes me so long to know that about myself, even a mouse knows more than me!

And this at the end I see as one of Berry's repeated messages in his novels:

"Her sleep was an act of faith and a giving of thanks."  ~p. 21

Always, he throws in the refrain, and give thanks.  As if that were the whole point of it all.  All the humans, with the mouse, are summed up in one reason for being, the sacrifice of thanks for the joy set before Him, enduring.

Saturday, June 6

the curtains left open

And again, I see a big house sitting on the hill as I jog by on the asphalt road near the river.  The house is one of the big mansion sort, the kind I never get invited to, but love to look in curiosity.  In fact, the house is so big, I think it might be a city, a multi-level complex of something like an Italian villa surrounding a garden in the middle.  In the middle of the garden I think is a tree, as I'm peering through the night at the branches overarching this house from its center, the fiercely green leaves lit up as if by a spotlight hidden in the nest of branches.  Reminds me of the tree of Life, that old legend.  

In a slow trot as I run by, I gaze over at one of the windows, off across a wide yard on this hill, and notice that there seem to be shadows in the house, shadows of people and I can hear the laughter of voices and the bark of a dog or two.  Light beams out of each of the many windows in the wide wall of this mansion, as if seeing stars sparkle on the wall of the sky on a moonless night.  I peer into the closest window and see that the curtains have been casually pulled aside, revealing merrymakers dancing, and they are singing as they keep rhythm to something further inside the house, a pulse I can almost hear as far as the street upon which I run, and vibrating back from somewhere beyond my road in the deep darkness of the forest on my other side.  

I glance away, checking my path ahead, dimly lit by the light from the big house.  "Only sixty-nine more miles," I say to myself, and with impatience, "sixty and nine too many."  I look back over at the window, but the curtain has been drawn and I can see only dimly--fuzzy shadows wobbling.  

Tuesday, June 2

what color is your curtain?

Kermit put up curtain rods this weekend. I put up the white curtains in our bedroom. I woke up to see the half-transparent eyelet-like sheets blowing gently in the breeze through the window, which struck me as surprisingly beautiful, winsome, like a girl's dress blowing in the Easter wind, like something out of a Jessie Wilcox Smith illustration of Little Women, full of the emotive sentiment of young girls and breezy spring days. Otherwise, the curtains are like walking into your own familiar room of no surprises and finding a mannequin staring at you from the corner. Nothing to make one startle.

We say there's a curtain between us and the Other world. Our eyes cannot behold the Lord because our window to the soul is dim, curtained off, thus we think it an evil that we cannot access the spirit world as we might like. But we dress our windows for comfort, for visual delight, for practical protection from extreme temperatures and snooping night eyes. Perhaps the drapes between us and the Other protect us, shield our mortal eyes from something, the things we cannot bear to see, not for their horror but for extreme goodness, the holiness of Him who is brighter than the sun.