Friday, September 22, 2006

Spending time with Wendell Berry and Garry Wills

It has been quite a while since I posted. I have been preoccupied with church business (Charge Conference coming up!) and with some reading I have been doing. I should be reading for my UM Doctrine class, but instead I have been reading some Wendell Berry and finishing What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills. As of today my attention turns to John Wesley and the Way of Salvation!

I want to share a few things that I found particularly interesting from my recent reading:

I loved this Palm Sunday poem Wills quoted from GK Chesterton:

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Wills writes in the chapter "The Death of God."

"All have dressed Jesus in borrowed political robes . They will not listen to the gospels, where Jesus clearly states that his reign is not of this present order of things. The political power they claim to exercise in his name is a parody of his claims, like the mock robe and crown put on him by the Roman soldiers." (p.110)

Related to this, Wendell Berry writes in Blessed are the Peacemakers:

"Any observer would have to say that Christianity is fashionable at present in the United States. This might be a good thing, except that the observer, observing more closely, would have to conclude that it is loosely fashionable. It seems to have remarkably little to do with the things that Jesus Christ actually taught." (p.3)

It seems that both of the above are timely, especially as we approach an election in November! Our Senior Pastor stated in a recent sermon that we need to be careful of politicians who quote Scripture, because they are likely trying to sell something.

Going back to Wills for a moment, he writes about the meaning of the incarnation:

"Perhaps the Incarnation is just God's way of saying that, no matter what horrors we face or hells we descend to, he is coming with us." (p. 118)

Finally, Berry writes about the abundant life Jesus offers:

"We don't need much imagination to imagine to be free of hatred, of enmity, of the endless and hopeless effort to oppose violence with violence, would be to have life more abundantly. To be free of indifference would be to have life more abundantly. To be free of the insane rationalizations to kill one another - that surely would be to have life more abundantly." (p. 63)

Just a few disparate thoughts for reflection. Be Blessed!

~ Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me. (Mark 9:37)

1 comment:

feminist_mom said...

peace comments by wendell are great...... molly also like wendell berry..... and i think i would like this book....... i am going to a peace witness today in grand island..... central neb peaceworkers from 5:30 to 6;30 pm..... hope it makes a difference..... it is bound to for me .... VOTE FOR PEACE, maureen