Monday, December 31, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Breaking Bad


Santa sat down with his pipe and thought:
"Should little Jimmy get a lump of coal?
He's been super bad, and I've seen the hole
in the middle of his soul. To fill it with a lot
of toys and shite will do him none good;
what he needs is coal. Coal, coal to ignite:
that pre-diamond, old as death wood;
the black pressure of time to light."

"Yes", thought Santa as he ruminated
with his pipe while stroking his beard.
"I've seen in my globe: Jimmy has hated,
he's not a good lad, he's filled with fear;
much to be pitied. But that's all stubble
burning before my deeper vision:
I see Jimmy burning his bad, untroubled;
self-shadows breaking down in radiant fission."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Adding Up


Poplar for the fence;
town was for coffee, tea, sugar
and selling fur. The natives
were unreliable workers.
Not that they did bad work,
but they had an intractable
sense of time and after
a day and a half would disappear. I remember
something about migrating rabbits.
So many they were like a carpet
flowing to the warp of the floor
under the shell of the moon.
What sticks out the most is Lutz.
At least I think that was his name.
Him and the necessity of hitting
squirrels in the eye. Anyways,
Peter and Lutz would sit around
doing nothing, as such times of leisure
were generously given homesteaders -
perhaps with tobacco, thinking about
potatoes - and after some time
Lutz would get up, and Peter would say:
"Lutz, where are you going?"
He asked this to amuse himself,
for every time Lutz
like clockwork would answer,
"I am going to do sometinks."
This exchange was ritual every visit -
Lutz, where are you going?
I am going to do sometinks -
a Dane and a German,
some English between them,
adding up hearth stones in the wilderness.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Winter of Discontent


More than any year previous - or perhaps unlike any year previous, I have been annoyed, burdened, depressed, and plain turned off by the Christmas preemptives. I have always been able to let it go and chalk it up to the world's sort of naive festive way of anticipating Christmas. It has never been from the standpoint of a snob, or "taking it in stride", but simply seeing the positive in it, and really I have never had to make an effort. I like the charm as much as anyone.

I'm not one to boast about how I put up decorations on Christmas Eve (I typically decorate around Gaudete), and while I give a spontaneous dearth-like sigh at the first lights going up at the start of November, I have never gone into the fray as it were. But I can't do it any more. By that I mean I don't have the strength any longer to deny or fend off the weight of depression that hits me, as when for instance someone wishes me a merry Christmas in the first week of December. You just kind of want to go under a rock and die. One of the stupid ironies of the conservative campaign to get corporations to say "Merry Christmas" to their customers is the banalizing of what a Christmas greeting ought to be. Really, I would actually be happier if someone in the time of Advent, which is not Christmas time, just cheerily said to me, "Season's Greetings!" Exactly.

I want Advent. I've always loved Advent, and have always wanted it be slowed down to the slowest possible capacity. And I don't like the warm purple Advent candles; I like the cold purple Advent candles.

I simply want to have the quiet presence of Jesus born in my heart - in the deep stillness. From that everything flows.

And those images of immigrant children and families in cages...how can one justify that?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Unruly


"He is Argentinian and unruly," a laughing Pope said to his private secretary, Georg Ganswein, who was seated next to him.

"Leave him, leave him to play here," the Pope said as the child rolled around in front of him on the carpet.

As the gathering continued, the child was allowed to stay roaming around the podium.
''This child cannot speak. He is mute, but he can communicate," Pope Francis said.

"He made me think of myself. Am I also so free in front of God?" the Pope asked.

He then prayed for the boy.

ABC News - 'Unruly' young boy runs on stage to Pope Francis


"He made me think of myself. Am I also so free in front of God?"

I love this Pope so much.

But Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." --Matthew 19:14

This means something









Not sure if it's a piece of the spaceship that broke off and landed in the field behind the backyard, or if it's one of their incubating pods. Maybe I should keep it watered. But who knew they used such low grade technology? They clearly know something we don't.

Love It






Love going to the Dollar Store, that last twilight outlet of the store rows, closest to the train tracks. 25 nifty brushes for 3 bucks. You pay that and more - far more - for just one brush at the art store or some ostentatious online Rusky outfit. "But, but!" LOL. Trust me - it's not so much the brush - though sometimes it is (especially with egg tempera) - it's how you use it. You can paint with just about anything. You have to bend that fork. In fact, it's the same with the fine brushes too - it's how you use them. The quality of an instrument does not subsume its proper and most fruitful use. It is the other way around. I love that arts and crafts section and the whole store with its Snickers and Mars bars doppelgangers. It's a place to dream in. Maybe it conjures that old A-Team feeling in me. Going to the Dollar Store is so Chestertonian.

You go too far


To artisan bakers.

Air pockets are desirable, but one needs surface area on which to put stuff, like jam.

Friday, November 30, 2018



In the kingdom
eternal, charity is a sphere;
faith and hope will dissolve, they
will not be needed; everything will be
clear - by charity, in charity, for charity.
A sphere that can only expand - just like
the universe expands - always, but clear.
Now is eye's oblong - opening to sphere.
In the ordinary parish mission we pass
round this circle of brass and clear
glass: a mote, Maria Goretti,
who lives in charity.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Better to Drink


Amber segues the speedway at night
and lamps apace illuminate naught
but glistening pavement trailing away;
superfluity of silence and space
coyotes yammer in, pigeons sleep-talk.

What's unfulfilled from day collates
in the hollows of bat ears, acoustic
grottos - the waiting wealth of prayer;
the singing of the coin down the well,
the soggy wool of somnolent clouds,

the stripes down the spine of the skunk.
Dark enriches that prolongs the thirst,
the better to drink the daily of day.
Young John held back to let old Peter
go first, into the empty, tingling cave.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

South Facing Rancher


The wisteria's ropewalk is ample
that winds up not broad enough yet.

Vine says to the house I'll support you
where once I was braced by your frets.

More is in store of my plaiting cords
than the windlass or trebuchet.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

And no blame to local establishment businesses who shut down shop because the offer is just too rich and are replaced with rows of communist-era-style condos


But we need borders to protect the public interest! Immigrants must come through the proper way! We must have national sovereignty!

Alright.

And what about foreigners laundering their money across the border and inflating real estate so that the legal citizens who actually work here are subject to a foreign-interest feudal rent economy in which the value of their productions and labours is sucked dry and they are forced into debt just in order to be able to have a place to live in and food to eat?

But the inflation of real estate is good for the economy!

LOL.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cohere with Atoning


The hammer on the headstone at last
will delete the two dates and the dash
which signified your running in brief,
a century or decades, or a few weeks.

It will be like a family reunion:
Hitler and the pizza delivery guy,
the Walmart cashier and Albert Einstein,
Goliath, the entire Nephilim bloodline,
the autistic child from three pews behind;

but everyone will be in their birthday suits
while something like a layered cake of truth
appears to each as the party horns
roll out scrolls of their labours born.

The mattocks of the angels will sink the six feet;
you will lift out like a balloon in the street.
All you wondered about shall million fold;
if there were the little screens to hold

when answers sound to the what's and the why's
the invariable tweet would tweet TMI.
Some will wish they were turned to powder.
Some their earth's pride will make them yet prouder.

Your lifetime a labour determines the hue,
if glistening fresh or stillborn blue,
what you sowed intends to blazon true.
Each flaking of dust will have been a seed
you took captive for love, or nuked with greed.

The grave-breaking - hear! - has already begun:
not a sledge, but a quiet key, has undone
the lid: now's to cohere with atoning,
now to the last, all of creation is groaning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sucked all the oxygen out of the room


Everyone was choking and gasping for that which had sustained them every second of their lives but which they had taken too easily for granted, all too easily. Too bad for them. It was like a giant robotic maid was hoovering the entire planet.

But then they realized they were all being a bunch of narcissistic drama queens, and that, indeed - yes, indeed - they could breathe after all! And there was much rejoicing!

The End.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Stone






Stone bends - huh, imagine that.






Oh, you can't tooth it out like that say the experts - LOL.

Two absolutely beautiful paragraphs


"Jesus unmasks this perverse mechanism: He denounces the oppression of the weak made instrumentally on the basis of religious motivations, saying clearly that God is on the side of the least. And to impress this lesson thoroughly in the disciples’ mind, He gives them a living example: a poor widow, whose social position was insignificant, because she didn’t have a husband who could defend her rights and therefore became an easy prey of an unscrupulous creditor, because these creditors persecuted the weak to make them pay. This woman, who puts only two coins in the Temple’s treasury, all that she had left, makes her offering, hoping to go unnoticed, almost embarrassed. However, in this humility, she in fact carries out an act charged with the religious and spiritual meaning. That gesture, full of sacrifice doesn’t escape Jesus’ attentive gaze who rather sees shine in it the total gift of self, to which He wants to educate His disciples.

"The teaching that Jesus gives us today helps us to recover what is essential in our life and fosters a concrete and daily relationship with God. Brothers and sisters, the Lord’s scales are different from ours. He weights differently persons and their gestures: God doesn’t measure the quantity but the quality, scrutinizes the heart and looks at the purity of the intentions. This means that our “giving” to God in prayer and to others in charity must always shun ritualism and formality, as well as the logic of calculation, and be an expression of gratuitousness, as Jesus has done with us: He has saved us for free. And we must do things as an expression of gratuitousness." --Pope Francis, Angelus Address Nov. 11, 2018

Snowflake


"You're not made of sugar" - that's what my Mom would tell us kids in the face of having to bear the elements, as for instance, when I had to do my paper delivery route in the rain.

Imagine that.

I've been long acquainted with rain, with doing strenuous and unpleasant labour in it - in sleet, snow, hail, frozen and soaked to the bone, when your body core is still shivering even after a long hot shower.

And that sort of thing pales to what soldiers would have endured in the trenches.

So, uh, just from a PNW guy with moss in his veins: the POTUS is a snowflake.

And all the talk I've heard heretofore about how he's so tough and just too much for the PC snowflakes to handle and how he's a "bull in a china shop" who makes all the snowflakes melt - all that - yeah, it just melted.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Specifically designed


to make certain pre-millennial folk go into a catatonic state.







It's kind of like those memes:




Only different.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Of Nepal


"Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (born 22 February 1952), more commonly known by abbreviated name K.P. Oli, is a Nepalese politician and the current Prime Minister of Nepal. He is one of the two Chairmen of the Nepal Communist Party, formed by the union of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre)." --Wikipedia


"The Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is the ruling political party in Nepal and is the largest communist party in South Asia and third in Asia. It was founded on the 17th of May 2018, from the unification of two leftist parties, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). The unification was completed by the Party Unification Coordination Committee, after 8 months of planning. The two predecessor parties subsequently dissolved, making way for the new united party. The party retains the electoral symbol of the CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the sun. The party is the largest political party in the House of Representatives, National Assembly and in six of the seven provincial assemblies. Khadga Prasad Oli, the Prime Minister of Nepal since 15 February 2018, is co-chairman of the party along with Pushpa Kamal Dahal." --Wikipedia


"Nepalese internet providers have begun blocking thousands of pornographic websites as part of a government directive aimed at stopping sexual violence, officials said Sunday.

"The government issued new criminal and civil codes this year that include regulations against the use, broadcast and publication of pornographic materials with punishment for violators of up to one year in prison...

"...'We are following the government order and have blocked the list of websites that was provided. However, it is not practical and technically not possible to block every pornographic website,' said Binay Bohra of Vianet Communications." --CTV


So government rulers in Nepal, who are majority Communist Party, are ordering porn sites blocked.

In the Great Last Bastion of Free Democratic Capitalist Enterprise and Western Civilization all porn sites are completely accessible to everyone and no rulings about blocking have been made.

Huh, imagine that.

Peach pit carving: rose


This one is from several years ago.




The other side:


Monday, November 5, 2018




Peach pit carving: rose


Some different shots.










On the other side I carved a sort of sea wave sort of spiral kind of thing, which I didn't spend as much time on.




Mass, Friction, and Gravity


Beware the leaven of the Pharisees. Beware of those who are rigid. They are classic manipulators who distort the faith.

In dry-stoning you have three principles to work with: mass, friction, and gravity. The key to why dry-stoning is upheld as such a long-lasting method of construction is that it allows for movement, while absorbing it, because it is not fixed with cement. It is not rigid. Ground swell movement will not bring the construction down if the three principles are followed well.

Foundation stones, both large and small, follow the same principles. They are proven in how they bear the brunt of antagonistic elements by the living interaction of the three phenomena: it is not actually the supposed rigidity of any rock, that makes strong foundations, but rather its singular mass, combined with gravity and friction.

Friction would imply a number of these masses. And the very mass of the biggest piece of bedrock you can think of would imply great friction with the next largest. Think of tectonic plates; the same principles apply to the sure foundation of building into solid bedrock: mass, friction, and gravity, just on larger scale. The real reason why sand (which is just many very tiny stones, each one having the same supposed "rigidity" as the huge piece of bedrock) is bad as a foundation is because, not having any great singular mass, or numbers of great masses, and too much regularity between particles, it produces no friction by means of gravity (hence hourglasses).

In fact, there is an argument to be made that each "grain" of sand, which again is just a very little stone, is even 'harder', or more 'rigid', than the huge mound of bedrock, for you can strike a chunk off the meat of the bedrock, but good luck breaking a piece off the little stone of sand.

Friction implies opposing irregular forces, not rigidity. Think of the arch: it is two weaknesses making a strength. That was Leonardo of Vinci's definition of the arch, which is absolutely true. And the principle of the arch is so seminal that it provides the root for the word 'architecture'.

None of this has anything to do with rigidity. Mass, friction, and gravity - these are true phenomena; but rigidity is merely the opposite of pliancy. It is mere frozenness - rigor mortis. While a certain level of rigidity is a feature and by-product of all construction, it is not the heart or foundation. It is a mere result of fixing four or more posts together with horizontal beams, and the relativity of that rigidity to other prevailing forces is - how does one say - lameduck: the rigidity of four posts tacked together by horizontal beams is merely four posts that instead of falling down individually, can now fall down all together. That is not foundational at all. Indeed, any degree of soundness and solidity comes with the mass of the roof bearing down via gravity onto the structure.

That is because rigidity is weakness; it is brittle. It has no dynamic. Rigidity and brittleness are always synonymous; it is dead wood as opposed to pliant, living wood. Dead branches snap. That is why in modern-day construction, where concrete is the main building material, they have to put in rebar. Otherwise the rigid concrete just breaks - it snaps.

Proving this point even further is the fact that concrete is stronger, not to the degree of its 'hardness' or 'rigidity' from lime, but to the degree that irregular aggregate sand is used - as opposed to a fine sand. This is why the ancient Romans built their roads with several layers of differing aggregate masses. This is why they would build reverse arches in the foundations under the arches of bridges. And even the particular hardness of their concrete, owing to the addition of volcanic ash, has the paradox of literal living rock with dynamics, of densifying with time, and not fixed rigidity.

So foundations, such as the foundation of the rock of the church, has nothing to do with rigidity, let alone the members who build on the rock. It is not the sign that one has built their home on the rock. Anyone can assume a rigid stance.

Or look at power lines - the big ones that go across empty fields. They require those little X's at intervals of the cables so that wind movement will not carry on down the lines (think of the tin can telephone), gathering momentum and force as it travels, and bring the whole construction down. The rigidity of the metal towers those lines run across will not do a damn thing to prevent such an occurrence.

Speaking of snapping, it reminds me of some statistic that was cited a number of years ago on the neo-schismatic site Rorate Caeli that said more people who attend the Roman Rite in the Ordinary Form had mental problems than people who attend the Roman Rite in the Extraordinary Form. On reading that, I immediately thought, "All what that statistic proves is that of all the people to be found with mental afflictions across all walks of life, those who attend the Ordinary Form are more likely to seek help, while those who attend the Extraordinary Form - yeah, they'll let that pressure cooker go until freaking doomsday and-- snap, you name it, all kinds of shit comes out: the terrorism of gossip, accusation, divisiveness, anti-Papism, instrumentalizing of the Mass, anti-Semitism, etc.

It is part of the territory too - that the absolutist fundamentalist regards mental science, and its consequent diagnoses and methods for healing, as an anti-religious, secularized delusion of the devil. They will be quickest to diagnose their mental affliction or mental disorder as a direct spiritual attack, which is simultaneously a form of self-flattery as they then double down on their rigidity.

This has popularity in the pro-life movement too, where some pro-life warriors (bless their hearts) have a penchant for bragging about how much the devil hates them and their work, and consequently how much they get attacked.

You cannot carry the cross, which implies walking with the cross, when you are rigid. Rigidity is a kind of neo-gnosticism - or promethean neo-pelagianism.

The mass of the cross comes down onto the reception of your shoulder and plants your feet solid onto earth as you step forward in tenderness.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


Zombie movie fast-moving
zombies stay away from us and our zombie movies
proliferate like fast-moving zombies
breaking down fences glass doors fast-moving
smell you see you your sulphur hair implants
in the fast-moving zombie movie
lost everyone lost everything everyone infected
in the zombie movie fast get some guns
caravan breaching homeland security
worse than zombies in zombie movies
threatening capitalism vaccine against poverty
only enough for now we need time
in our zombie movies to drip down vaccine
off shore corporate transnational gangs
provide homeland security but threatened
caravans worse than zombies
in fast-moving zombie movies

Foothold


West of the cascades, like a whale's vault
out of water chop, angular sunlight
freely casts in a last lap, untethered.

Roots are aerial, on stories tertiary,
or hovering on empty spaces they
keep a preview of the unsealing of the graves.

Cascadia keeps no time capsules - they say
even the bedrock is a migrant from Mexico;
a froth's fixidity, and goat-knowing foothold.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

In Generosity


Was he like flint
coming down to that kindling day
where the cleanest lambs were being gathered?

Doubtless like flint.
Yet for a beggar man's wild blind holler
he tarried along the way.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Misc.


Thumbs up for A Quiet Place.

It is such a Pro-Life film, and I love that so much.

More like this please.

*

I am so looking forward to the mid-term election popcorn fest.

I am going to watch it on Fox and get pizza and popcorn.

*

To hell with perogies that contain cottage cheese. So disgusting.

I love cottage cheese, but in perogies it just becomes this rubber rancid sort of thing.

That's fine because the cottage cheese ones are the most expensive.

I've been buying this local brand that uses simple ingredients.

My favourite perogy is just potato with onions. It can have dill as well - that's nice.

I don't care much for the cheddar cheese ones. Or the ones with bacon and potato.

The bacon just makes it taste like dog food.

*

Stop it with the bacon. Bacon is nice, but it doesn't make everything better.

It's good by itself with eggs, on BLT, moderately with baked brussell sprouts (be obedient and eat your brussell sprouts!) and moderately on certain pizzas, but that's pretty much it.

Bacon on burgers is just dumb.

*

Oh look, your own private apocalypse!

Huh, good for you!

Well did Christ speak when he said, "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the wilderness,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."

Just think about what "wilderness/desert" and "inner rooms" represent.

Just imagine.

*

Oh, Popes come and go. It's about the office, not the man occupying the office.

Yeah, and this from the champions of the Domestic Church.

You call your homes the domestic church - a kind of sub-church, which is modeled on the Church.

And for some reason these heroes think Christ wants the family of his body, the church, to be addressed with,  "Ah, you see, Popes come and go!"

Right.

Moms and Dads, they come and go.

I respect your office as Dad, but unfortunately you are in error. I duly expect a Peter and Paul moment anytime soon.

Eat your brussell sprouts.

LOL.

*

On one American apologist's twitter page I came across a meme that featured Roy Scheider from Jaws with the words, "We're going to need a bigger Dubia."

Right, "We're going to need a bigger doubts."

Okeeydoekeey then. Good luck with all that.

LOL.

*

It is amazing the amount of relativism and gradualism over the course of the Hero's Three Letters (and probably counting). I guess when you deal in absolutes you're allowed to leave a mega slime trail and not have to address any of your shiftings?

Huh, imagine that.

*

Amoris Laetitia contains no errors.

All the parts must be understood in the whole. Which is par for the course for anything. It's like trying to pick apart a Tarkovsky film. Your starting point of approach must be from the departure point of having taken it in its entirety.

But will the prophets of the inner rooms and the desert admit to their audiences that it was they themselves, and not the Pope, who was in error?

Don't count on it.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Escalation


After Jesus' body is scourged, the torture escalates in the crowning with thorns. Where before they ripped apart his flesh, they seek now to humiliate his dignity; their hatred is focused upon his head. The scourging of Christ's body escalates upwards to his head.

As those with proper liturgical formation, they provide Jesus' body with none but the finest cloth: a scarlet robe reserved for royalty. As those who preach about giving God our finest, they actually dress Jesus in the finest garment available. Nowhere else in scripture do you see Jesus dressed in royal garb. Only here.

These are the same people who have just scourged his body. They proceed to crown his head with thorns; they bind his head with a blindfold; they cover his head with spit; they beat his head with rods.

Of all the garments in their possession, they give to Jesus the one that is most fitting for who he is - the robe of royalty - and their worship of him is a mockery.


"Jesus Christ, therefore, appointed Peter to be that head of the Church; and He also determined that the authority instituted in perpetuity for the salvation of all should be inherited by His successors, in whom the same permanent authority of Peter himself should continue. And so He made that remarkable promise to Peter and to no one else: 'Thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church'" --Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum

 "How can you celebrate the Holy Eucharist and pronounce his name in the Canon of the Mass?" --Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Soon Again


Those books without bookends
are like falling over bean poles,
full of beans in their bloated
bound parchments shelved.

We are back to the scroll, and the wheel
turns the scroll. The screen is only for
folding time, more than any visual.
Soon again words will be spoken

and their paper will be the trance,
more than atomic weapons
these words will refute dominions
that no man made in advance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Revisited Our Lady of Kaluga icon




Title: Our Lady of Kaluga

Medium: Egg tempera on wood

Size: 8in x 10in

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We could take care of that for you


Perhaps the most God-fearing person I know is a tough old Jewish lady whose many hedges I trim and prune on her acreage. A great wall going around the front yard and into the back, around fifteen feet high that takes days just for one side, cylinders down the snaking driveway, separate huge boxes, outer parameters with lengths of solid wall, backyard boxwood, all the individual specimens, etc. She likes things squeaky clean and I'm OCD OCO(rder) so things work out great between us.

She's the kind of lady you can picture coming out of her house in a bathrobe and carrying a shotgun for any intruders. She speaks her mind no matter who you are, and it's upfront and somewhat loud, somewhat boisterous, and, I don't know how to say it, she gets it out there, especially if there is something she sees that is wrong. She's the kind that bureaucrats cannot stand.

Though I've always liked her, I remember the time when I grew especially fond. A number of years ago, somewhere around late September, I was working away on the boxwood (the majority are cedar) and it was getting toward evening when she came hurrying out and spoke with emphatic energy.

"You gotta go! You gotta get all the equipment up and get out of here!" And then she said it was - I can't remember what Jewish day it was - it was a big one. At the time it was quite hot and I welcomed the sudden command to quit for the day and go home. If I'm working on a Friday I make sure to pack up before sunset.

But the way she expressed it - this urgency that had to do with something greater than any of us, or any thing. Why did I feel such joy under that fiery and fierce injunction to pack up?

We never talk religion though.

Another time my fondness for her grew - let's call her D. - was when she told me about some of her family coming up to visit her from the US, I think her niece. She had her boyfriend along (cohabiting), and they were assuming they were to share a room at night, when D. said to them, point blank, "Not under my roof you won't!"

I wish I could describe the way D. said it - "Not under my roof you won't!" I laugh about that when I remember it.

Just last week we got to talking about the Hell's Angels and the CIA (D. was explaining to me how the Hell's Angels originated after the Second World War), and in the conversation she told me how she worked as an accountant for a mill at the age of eighteen doing payrolls for an exceedingly large number of workers in a very short period of time.

There was a man who worked there, and D. went on about how nice of a man he was: he was the nicest man she had ever met.

One day she started complaining to this incredibly nice man about her boss, and the nice man said to her, "Would you like him taken care of?" To which D. - quite shocked - said, "What?"

And he said, "I can get him taken out for you" as he went on to explain in his nice manner about how he belonged to a group that existed precisely for doing such things - that is, killing people. He wasn't kidding.

D. of course emphatically told him NO, and as shocked as she was by this, what shocked her even more was the way this man broached the subject. He talked about it like someone might talk pleasantly about the wine tour they were looking forward to on the weekend, or about the local coffee shop whose lemon squares come highly recommended.

Long story short, I started thinking about that story today; and that there are many, many very nice doctors.

Some of the nicest doctors you could ever meet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Running Man


The messenger goes out because he is sent by one in authority, and he runs because the message is urgent. He does not stroll in pomp like one of the king's dignitaries, and he doesn't mete out his message to other runners in order to shirk off the duty from his own hands and feet.

The angels that are messengers do not need to run, because they are like lightning in obedience to God who they perpetually adore. But we as messengers are runners for a greater reason than that we are obeying authority: we run because of love - love personified.

The messenger of old who delayed would have faced severe penalties, the more severe in proportion to the urgency and gravity of the message being sent. This holds true, but the good news we bear, while not cancelling the gravity, outweighs the gravity in our being and bearing, as victims of mercy; the messenger of the Gospel is running because he himself has been set afire and has been set free. He cannot not run. The goodness and mercy of God is infinitely greater than all sin.

An urgency that has not the spirit of this joy - the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life - should be aligned with the work of those who tie up heavy burdens and lay them on the shoulders of others, making them twice the children of hell that they themselves are.

If running with the message is the context in which we realize our own salvation, then what is foundational is not a padding out, but a sweating out. The first connotation of running in this instance is not the motion of running per se, but what is shed in order to be able to run. Running is easier when you don't take an extra cloak; running is hard to near impossible when, for example, you drag an entire seamstress shop behind you so that you need two serving boys to take up the slack.

Each one of us is supposed to take up the position of the Crafty Steward. Perhaps the main thing to take from the parable of the Crafty Steward - or the Dishonest Steward - is Christ's bold underlining of the provisional nature of the steward's circumstances: this is our own circumstance.

He is thinking on his feet, and calling up the king's subjects in order to make a radical reduction in what they owe. Note that the steward's alleviation of his coming poverty is not by way of accumulating wealth, but is tied with alleviating other people's debts, even though he has, practically speaking, already lost his position, and has no more actual legal hand, or authoritative say, in the wealth of the king's subjects. You can't get any shrewder than that.

He is thinking about himself, and yet his worldly self-consideration has the animation of one fully recognizing the poverty of his situation in trying to alleviate it looking forward. He doesn't seek to repurpose other people's goods towards either himself or the king. Rather he repurposes his position, knowing he is as good as dead, in order to be received into people's homes once he gets fired.

The king praises the dishonest steward. The steward was bad to begin with, but now he has gone and with audacity used his position to gain favour, which creates a further loss to the wealth of the king, for he has called the subjects up to reduce their debts to the king - but the king praises him! What do you think Christ is doing there? Just adding a little detail to the story? Good grief!

If the shrewd dealings of a rascal such as the dishonest steward earns the praise of the very king who has called him up, then what of those who are not mere subjects having their debts reduced, nor stewards going to the dock, but subjects and stewards completely forgiven and washed clean in the dock of mercy and made the King's adopted children?

Christ here is showing us BOLDLY that the way we deal with our present circumstances - which is to say, the way we put ourselves into a position of divestment - not only reflects how we receive the eternal things of God, but is the way he has willed for us to receive and proliferate the kingdom of God. And Jesus consummated this way, outside of the parable, by his own practice on this earth, so the repurposing of our positions has an immense security in the One who has made himself the first and perfect model of that urgent divestment.


"To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." --John Henry Cardinal Newman


"For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light." --Luke 16:8


There is a kind of vast stupidity in trying to fortify your own foundations. Who are you to do such a thing? Can you who are human add one minute to your lifespan? God who is himself the foundation has gone down to the wood of the cross, which no one could have foreseen. In the eyes of those who were most edified, who were most secured, who were most knowledgeable and learned in tradition, the children of Abraham, this was the complete opposite of foundational.

And if that is the foundation of the Church, then what in the world could you possibly know for certain about where the Church needs to go? That is not a subject upon which you are to "edify" your salvation, let alone the salvation of others. And this is the problem of the absolutist-fundamentalist. The absolutist presumes to be faithful in the greater things first, foregoing the smaller things. Indeed, he actually thinks he can be faithful in the greater things by relativizing the smaller things. The absolutist is merely a relativist that relativizes the matter that Christ is forming.

If you look at the directionality of the phrasing in Christ's parable, everything points in the way of faithfulness in small things first leading to faithfulness in greater things - not the other way around. For there is no other way around.

But the result of the absolutist, in effect, is that he ends up turning the smaller things into monoliths as the means of manifesting his "faithfulness" in great things. In order to serve his delusion of being faithful in great things, he makes the small things insurmountable, blocking the way to the sanctuary. He ends up in the position of a micro-manager, which is the very image of the phony good steward, calling up the king's subjects and telling them in great minutia and gravitas how they are to go about managing their funds in order to reduce their debts to the king, as though the king was interested in nickle and diming.

He lays it upon others and allows none of the harrow to lay into his own self. He has no capacity for repurposing his position - for he has absolutized it. Not only does he distort his own mission; in doing so he distorts the nature of the King. And wonder of wonders, the absolutist even ends up distorting the seriousness of sin! He does so because he doesn't really believe in God's outgoing mercy, which would like to percolate and spring up in all kinds of small avenues; he thinks such things relativize the greater things of God. The channels for the springs are clogged.

And now they come to the point of stoning the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. Some of the more moderates of them try still to hedge around wholesale stoning by talking about respecting "the office of Peter" etc. and all kinds of weird talk that they never talked about before when Benedict was Pope, about how it's not just one Pope, etc. Any way they can to abstract the here-and-now present concrete personhood of that office as willed by Jesus Christ in one particular man who has particular things that Christ wants us to learn and know, and moreover to be in union with in order to learn and know - not just intellectually, but in the practical will, begun with a heart of flesh. Are you docile to the King's message because you love his messenger? Or are you contentious with the message because you have abstracted the King's messenger?




Sunday, October 7, 2018

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

Redwoods


What were these two seedlings in 2009:



Redwood - Giant Sequoia



Redwood - Dawn Redwood



Are now these:



Redwood - Giant Sequoia




Redwood - Dawn Redwood


If they had been in ground they would be a lot bigger at this point, but I've kept them going in pots, and I don't fertilize. Only occasionally with fish/kelp stuff, plus I mix in new soil when putting in bigger pots.

I know the parent of the dawn redwood, and while I know the grove from which the giant sequoia came, I do not know the individual parent. But they are both from seed from the same park/forest.

I have meditated sometimes in the evening about where I would plant the trees, going over all the places that I know of where I could plant them and they would escape the hundreds of ways that people would kill them. This is the kind of thing you have to think about carefully, going over and over very deliberately in your mind - meditating like one of the Australian Aborigines traveling their forest paths in fine detail while sitting stock still.

I figure maybe I'll donate them to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver to be kept as bonsai specimens, or one of the Buddhist temples that do bonsai - as an act of ecumenical outreach?

That's probably the best option.