Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blessed Winter Holy Days

SnowyPath1 by paynehollow
SnowyPath1, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.
Some thoughts from Wendell Berry (from a variety of sources)...

"I don't think it is enough appreciated how much an outdoor book the Bible is. It is a "hypaethral book," such as Thoreau talked about - a book open to the sky. It is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it.

Passages that within walls seem improbable or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. This is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread.

Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine - which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes..."

"No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it.

Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one's partiality..."

“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot...”

“I thought, [God] must forebear to reveal His power and glory by presenting Himself as Himself, and must be present only in the ordinary miracle of the existence of His creatures. Those who wish to see Him must see Him in the poor, the hungry, the hurt, the wordless creatures, the groaning and travailing beautiful world.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed Winter Season!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Disagreement is not an assault on the Gospel

HousesWatercolor2a by paynehollow
HousesWatercolor2a, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

Just a quick post to state the obvious.

Stan, over at his blog, noted today that the whole "Robertson crisis" comes down to whether we follow the Gospel. In speaking of the "Duck Dynasty" kerfluffle, over one of the Ducks saying he loves folk, whether they're gay, terrorists, drunks or practice bestiality, and his declaration that homosexuality is a sin, Stan concluded...

Remaining silent when the Gospel is under attack cannot be the right response. It's not Phil Robertson at issue here. It is sin, Scripture, and the Gospel on the chopping block. And for that I will not take a pass.

The problem with this reasoning (of course) it is conflating "The Gospel" NOT with a teaching of Jesus, but with a particular view on a particular behavior - as if you can't disagree about various behaviors and remain a Christian. Of course, this is almost certainly what many folk like Stan thinks - you CAN'T be mistaken on that particular behavior and be a Christian. They are wrong.

As I've said before, the Gospel is NOT a call to have perfect understanding in order to be saved (whether or not they're right on this topic - and they're not), it is a call to a salvation and a life of Grace and of the Love of God.

Conflating "the Gospel" to some particular opinion about a behavior's sin status is - as oft noted here - a mistake and is undermining of the actual Gospel, which is the Good News of Jesus, not the Bad News of the fundamentalists.

Just to repeat this point yet again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


My fall has been full of floating
from geese overhead
to water beneath my feet
to dragonflies and dandelion puffs
and golden autumn leaves...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Peace: Mandela

CLOUT - Hand in Hand by paynehollow
CLOUT - Hand in Hand, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

Nelson Mandela died today. I think his Prisoner to President story is one of the most powerful of the 20th century. He certainly was not a perfect man, but I think he was a great man in a great movement. Some of his words...

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

"There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires."

"We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

"If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness."

"In my country we go to prison first and then become President."

Rest in well-earned peace, sir.