Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Sunday, December 9, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018
"Look at everyone around you and see what we have done about ourselves and what is considered our daily victory. We have not loved above all things. We have not accepted what is not understood because we do not want to be fools. We have accumulated things and assurances for not having each other. We have no joy that has not been cataloged. We have built cathedrals and we have stayed on the outside, because the cathedrals that we ourselves build fear that they are traps. We have not given ourselves, because that would be the beginning of a long life and we fear it. We have avoided falling on our knees in front of the first of us who out of love says: you are afraid. We have organized associations and smiling clubs where it is served with or without soda. We have tried to save ourselves, but without using the word salvation so as not to be ashamed of being innocent. We have not used the word love to avoid having to recognize its context of hatred, love, jealousy and so many other opposites. We have kept our death a secret to make our life possible. Many of us make art because we do not know what the other thing is like. We have disguised our indifference with false love, knowing that our indifference is anguish in disguise. We have disguised the great fear with the little fear and that's why we never talk about what really matters. Talking about what really matters is considered an indiscretion. We have not adored for having the sensible stinginess of remembering the false gods in time. We have not been pure and naive not to laugh at ourselves and so that at the end of the day we can say "at least I was not stupid" and so we were not perplexed before turning off the light. We have smiled in public about what we would not smile when we were left alone. We have called weakness to our candor. We have feared each other, above all. And all this we consider our victory every day."
~ Clarice Lispector ~
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Here then, is the central problem in the communication of Christianity, from the pulpit - on the sidewalk - over coffee - wherever - the utter failure of language and thought to grasp that which is, in the end, ungraspable:
"If you have understood, then this is not G-d. If you were able to understand, then you have understood something else instead of G-d. If you were able to understand even partially, then you have deceived yourself with your own thoughts"
~ St Augustine ~Of course, if this were acted upon by clergy, then churches of all stripes all across the planet would wink out of existence after the first few silence-filled services..
On Friday following Thanksgiving, I visited a nearby faux-farm in Danvers, a place we took the kids when they were wee things. The famous residents from years long ago like Rusty the horse, have all gone on to their rewards. The buildings have become a bit ramshackle over the years as places do.
Still.. on a late afternoon in late November, the place was blessedly free of people. And so, I enjoyed a cold and solitary walk around the grounds with just wind and the crunch of leaves for company.
The gentleman above, one of the representative farm-animals suburban kids come to gawk at, looked at me for a time through an open door in his barn. A groundskeeper came by and closed the Plexiglas door between us. He continued his gaze through smeared dirt, saliva and horn scratches. Putting on a brave front he said quietly, "I'm fine. It's not that bad in here. I mean how many more years can this go on for anyway, really? Won't be long now.. An eye-blink -"
Henry David set too narrow a scope when he wrote that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.."
Art is not
but an urgent understanding-of-oneself.
The closer you get in your most intimate and solitary
contemplation or imagination (vision), the more
has been achieved, even if no one else
were to understand it.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018
It's a luxury to go here.
A confection, really. Here there is no hurry. Here there is silence and a modicum of anonymity. And - gaps in the liturgy where more silence floods in. (Silence is all I've ever known of G-d.) Despite the Christian proclivity to declaim "G-d is this" or "G-d is that" or "G-d wants you to be [whatever]" (as if they knew..) - it all falls back to silence.
And the silence carries me, fortunate - fortunate beyond the telling...
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Compel the poor to live upon a crust of bread, by soft mild arts.
Smile when they frown, frown when they smile; and when a man looks pale
With labour and abstinence, say he looks healthy and happy;
And when his children sicken, let them die; there are enough
Born, even too many, and our earth will be overrun
Without these arts. If you would make the poor live with temper,
With pomp give every crust of bread you give; with gracious cunning
Magnify small gifts; reduce the man to want a gift, and then give with pomp.
Say he smiles if you hear him sigh. If pale, say he is ruddy.
Preach temperance: say he is overgorg'd and drowns his wit
In strong drink, though you know that bread and water are all
He can afford. Flatter his wife, pity his children, till we can
Reduce all to our will, as spaniels are taught with art.'
~ William Blake 1797 ~