Thursday, January 31, 2013

an idealized image of ourselves

"...[We have a] desire to see hunting societies in general and Eskimos in particular as an original, primitive image of ourselves. The point is not to replace the image of the peaceful Eskimo with a violent one. To understand interpersonal violence and politically aggressive acts by Eskimos today, however, it is essential to understand the interpersonal hostilities and political alliances that were forged during the period of bow-and-arrow wars. Our representation of the Eskimo is especially important to understand because we have modeled our image of Eskimos, perhaps more than that of any other people, on an idealized image of ourselves."

[Ann Fienup-Riordan, Eskimo Essays]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, righteous

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

[Psalm 19:7-14]

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

those whose soul is intelligent

St. Anthony by Piero di Cosimo, c. 1480 
People are generally called intelligent through a wrong use of this word. The intelligent are not those who have studied the sayings and writings of the wise men of old, but those whose soul is intelligent, who can judge what is good and what is evil; they avoid what is evil and harms the soul and intelligently care for and practice what is good and profits the world, greatly thanking God. 
[Anthony of Egypt]

Saturday, January 19, 2013

pride = deciding what's cool in advance of the rest of the world

Photo from Hipster Christianity

Pride comes from knowing, and deciding, what’s cool in advance of the rest of the world.

[Mark Greif in his article "The Hipster of the Mirror" in the New York Times]

Friday, January 18, 2013

sat down in one soft descended Hallelujah

My friend David shared this with me. What a heavenly poem.
God, best at making in the morning, tossed
stars and planets, singing and dancing, rolled
Saturn's rings spinning and humming, twirled the earth
so hard it coughed and spat the moon up, brilliant
bubble floating around it for good, stretched holy
hands till birds in nervous sparks flew forth from
them and beasts--lizards, big and little, apes,
lions, elephants, dogs and cats cavorting,
tumbling over themselves, dizzy with joy when
God made us in the morning too, both man
and woman, leaving Adam no time for
sleep so nimbly was Eve bouncing out of
his side till as night came everything and
everybody, growing tired, declined, sat
down in one soft descended Hallelujah.  
Vassar Miller

Monday, January 14, 2013

not by efficiency and economy

‎"Order and organization are an essential part of our life cycle with God and one another, but they must be compelled by love and relationship, not by efficiency and economy."'
[Graham Cooke] 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

aspects of a liberal education

1. Ask questions.
"We express our wonder through questions...What kind of a world are we living in? What kind of a world should we be living in?" 
"Questions are the piety of thought." - Martin Heidigger
2. Study the greatest works by the greatest thinkers.
"These authors and ideas have been speaking to one another through all time."
3. A liberal education requires time and space to read, reflect, and discuss.
"It's unfortunate that in the world that we live in today, this digital world, the pace of activity is so great that we're constantly barraged with this relentless activity, but in pursuit of what? We've got to have a purpose, and what this time for reflection allows for students is to take that time to understand the world that we're living in and to prepare themselves for it so that they can go back into it."
4. Our time is not unique.
"The things that really matter haven't changed that much, and you have the opportunity then to go back, to ask the questions that others have asked, to reflect upon them, to read the greatest works by the greatest thinkers, and to learn and think for yourself. This is what a liberal education provides."

Monday, January 07, 2013

i am mediocrity with the name of disaster

I am mediocrity with the name disaster
Called into the chosen ones with a hope in the here and hereafter
[Tim Coons, "The Back Window"] 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

await another voice

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice. 
[T.S. Eliot]