Friday, August 23, 2013

The first breath of Galatea
as a coal first taking flame,
to see through eyes that see an author
to feel a presence through the frame,
Patient are the patients,
being born from tin to flesh;
who would have thought by crucifixion
we could become immune to death?

Monday, August 19, 2013


Indwelling fire from a higher plane
You who hovered over first waters
intercede, please, for me.
You will funnel me towards
the well's living mouth
to see His words.
But now, I am trying to speak
break through my frail utterings
and carry my thought to God
tempered with salt to rise
acceptable, pure,
something worth saying
with weight and draw-
nothing vain;
to turn your ear to me
my Father, Father,
to hear.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Peace when there is no peace.

Why is it that peace in most situations means simply "people not bothering me"?  As long as the wheels of an organization are turning, anyone that points out an injustice are labelled disturbers of the peace.  If you're at work and point out harassment to or from coworkers, it might be forgiven by management once, but any more than that and you'll be labelled as "not a team player."  A government can fine you for something you didn't do, and place the burden on you to prove you didn't do it or else you're stuck with the fine.  And this is peace, as long as they aren't bothered by your protests.

As long as the powerful aren't feeling bothered, there is "peace".  If the weak protest against abuse, they have disturbed that peace.  This is not "peace".
Was reading and interpreting some of T.S. Elliot's "Four Quartets" to the kids this afternoon before work.  They've memorized the ending line, which reads as follows:

"And all shall be well

and all manner of thing shall be well
when the tongues of flame are infolded
into the crowned knot of fire
and the fire and the rose are one."

(Which I take to be referring to the great Restoration of All Things/Descent of the Heavenly Jerusalem to the New Earth.)

So today we were working on a passage previous to that which reads:

"Ash on an old man's sleeve,

is all the ash that the burnt roses leave
dust in the air suspended
marks the place where a story ended."

Jaelle already knows that bit pretty well,  I've explained it to her as the resolution of the human body (after death) into dust/ash, the end of the story of our bodily life on this present earth.  As best as I can figure out what Elliot was writing about, the quartets are about creation, fall, redemption, death, and re-creation.   The rose seems to be a symbol for human bodily life, and the fire is a symbol for God's power of life (in the spirit of "our God is a consuming fire").   

We also read and recited together a really neat section (as we threw a medicine ball back and forth) which I take as describing the Spirit's work in death to self/life to God (preempting the "final death" of the lake of fire), referencing the "fire" Jesus said he came to cast on the earth.  We read through that bit too.

"The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire."

Prior to all this my mind was really cloudy, not sure if that was because I'd slept too long, or eaten too much last night; but somehow the poetry cleared it up considerably.  It's been a while since I've gone through any poetry aside from constantly reciting "Jabberwocky" with the kids. 

Speaking of which, we just finished "Jabberwocky" by Daniel Coleman.  It was really good, surprisingly so - especially for a young-adult novel I got free on Kindle.  He's since re-published it on paper and there's no more kindle edition.  It's $15, but very much worth a library trip.

But back to the poetry - or at least the clarity of mind it lent...

My presence of mind was restored enough to deal with Josiah's crisis on the porch, as the contractor's little terrier/terrorist charged him as he was playing near a tree.  It was all bark, but did its best to act threatening, and didn't respond until the owner had spent some fifteen seconds calling it off.  It had scampered off before I figured out what was going on and came over to the scene of the crime.  Josiah was pretty shaken up, which surprised me because when I'd arrived he kept up a brave front and was smiling.  Brandy could tell he wasn't quite all right though and as soon as mommy started asking if he was all right the tears came.   I talked with him for a while, asked if there was anything he'd like me to do about it, and he hesitantly suggested I ask the owner to put it on a leash. I thought that was a very reasonable idea and asked the owner to put his dog on a leash, and he complied.   I reminded Josiah he could easily kill an animal that small if he picked it up and threw it or gave it a good kick, and I had him try and work it out on a punching pad until the shock of dog-attack wore off.  It's rough being a kid.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Urge of Him Who Lives Forever & Ever.

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created."

What is the meaning of life? Why did God create the Universe? Who made God? What's it all about?

All these questions are shadows, haunted hollows.  It is these and more that the vision given to John on Patmos fills and answers with fire.

"You Created all things" 

This is Divine data, written on the fabric of the Universe like a watermark and received by  all, though suppressed by some.  This is the "what".

" your will they existed and were created."

What is deeper, further back, more fundamental than the will?  When we speak of causes, reasons, and the like ("I did this because I was low on sleep/had too much coffee/grew up in a broken home/didn't take my meds etc...), we aren't talking about the will.  

The will is uncaused, it doesn't exist as a cog in the mechanical cause & effect realm (though it dialogues with it).  The will perceives possibilities, and chooses.  God's will, the source of all created wills, is infinitely more so uncaused.  There is no sense in asking what caused God to will the universe, seen and unseen, into existence.   

This is not to say that God's decision to create was arbitrary or frivolous.  We call decisions without thought arbitrary, and decisions without serious purpose or value we call frivolous. But this cannot be applied to God, and may be misleading even when speaking of human wills.  God is personal, and is the ultimate ground and source of thought and purpose.  If such a being has a desire, it will not (by nature of its source) be thoughtless or purposeless in the sense connoted by "arbitrary/frivolous". 

The will (θέλημα, in Greek as used in the verse above), is synonymous with desire. And persons desire. Mechanical flowcharts (of the kind many neuroscientists and psychologists want to reduce us to) do not.  The will is a fundamental thing, which is a source of other things - it is not a product,of other things. Our wills are informed and presented with possibilities by the external created universe, but God, at the point of Creation, was limited by no such externals.  Only the council of the Father, Word, and Spirit.  The desire of God.  His Love - for what is Love but a fundamental preference, or desire?

As God showed Julian of Norwich:
"He showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand; and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding, and thought: what may this be? And it was answered thus: "It is all that is made". I marveled how it might last, for I thought if might suddenly have fallen into nothing for its smallness. And I was answered in my understanding: "It lasts, and ever shall last, because God loves it."

Or as George MacDonald says it:
"We do not, I mean, to speak after the manner of men, come of God's intellect, but of His imagination. He did not make us with His hands, but loved us out of His heart."

And as such things loved into existence - or even, thank God, more than things: persons with wills in God's own image! - what can we do but say with those in the vision:

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power!"