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What I Read: 2021

  Reads of 2021 This is a little late (only three days to go in February as I begin this, but here it is nonetheless). As always these are in order of reading not in order of goodness. Three Cheers for the Paraclete * Thomas Keneally I got through three chapters and put it down. It just didn’t grab me. The Compleat Angler * Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton Interesting as a primary source, but about 50+ pages too long for pleasurable reading. There were some worthwhile pieces in it–poetry, etc. Entangled * Martin Sheldrake I listened to this as an audio book, so I probably missed some things, but overall it was fascinating. All about fungus and how “There is more in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy…” The Lost World of Genesis One * John H. Walton Another audio book; Walton asserts how the first chapter of Genesis explains that the earth is a temple and all creation has a function in this temple, rather than some pseudo-scientific creation myth. My last Protestan
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Skywoman v. Eve

Early on in Braiding Sweetgrass author Robin Wall Kimmerer compares the Great Lakes people’s story or Skywoman with the Bible’s account of Eve. She does this to compare how indigenous people viewed the world versus Western ones who had been Christianized. She thinks Eve’s story is unfair. But Kimmerer compares fruit to vegetables as Eve is a created mortal, whereas Skywoman is at least some kind of demigoddess. The comparison is unfair as well because she only focuses on a part of the Biblical story. The Bible has been regarded as a story in four acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration/Glorification. Eve is centerstage only for the Creation and Fall, she doesn’t live to see redemption, though she receives the promise of it. The icon of the Resurrection depicts a risen Jesus pulling Adam and Eve from their tombs as he smashes the gates of Hell and death. This Kimmerer doesn’t mention at all. It should be noted that Kimmerer is Potowatomi. The rest of the book is good. S

Adjectives, Like Junk Food, Should Be Limited

There was (probably still is for all I know) a sub-current in Evangelical Christianity that derided using “Christian” as an adjective. Looking around the ghetto that Evangelicalism created for itself one could find “Christian’ magnets, movies, and music, ”Christian” t-shirts and toys, “Christian” books and baubles of all kinds. The problem was baptizing and separating things that didn’t necessarily need that kind of labeling.  So a friend of mine sent me the link to a podcast episode about Christian Animism. Christian Animism? What is that? Noel Moules explains on the Nomad February 2020 podcast. To start with, what is Animism? Many indigenous religions can be seen as Animist. Moules cites Graham Harvey, a British professor of Religious Studies, who says Animists are people who recognize that the world is full of persons, but only some of whom are human and that life is to be lived in relationship with others. That leads to the question of what is a person? Online dictionaries aren’t

Worth Quoting

 Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.                                                                                                             --Simone Weil      Man, is that hard to do. I don't know about you, but even the most interesting and enriching conversations' spells can be broken by some flash of something that catches my eye.   

Another Publishing Triumph 2021

 Here's the first one for the year. What's cool is it's being picked up by the Planet Detroit newsletter . Anyway, this piece is a bit of a love letter to my friendly-neighborhood river.

2020 Reads O' Mine

      Aside from a plague, 2020 turned out to be a good year for reading, what with the abundance of time on my hands. All books are listed in order of being read, not necessarily in ranking of quality. Methodical Realism * Etienne Gilson--a short, relatively accessible primer on philosophical realism. Parts of this were interesting, others, not so much. Ian Pollock's Illustrated King Lear by William Shakespeare --While I didn't appreciate Pollack's illustrative style, I did like that the play was visually presented with the unabridged text. Essentially, this was a graphic novelization of Lear. This was better than just reading the play, though without helpful notes, it still falls short of experiencing the play live. By the way, did anybody catch the Stratford Festival of Canada's streaming of many of their productions in late spring through midsummer? Lear happened to be one of them and it was the first time I saw the whole piece. Gravity and Grace * Simone Weil--Ye

Adventures in Social Distancing 4: Holy Week

Spring ephemerals began their yearly appearance during Holy Week. The lock-down had afforded me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with some species that I hadn't seen in several years. I allowed my time for wildflower viewing to be restricted to the weekends for far too many years. Time is gift so easily squandered, isn't it? The following photos were captured at Maybury State Park in Wayne County and Oakland County, MI (which incidentally contains the highest point in the Rouge River watershed). Pre-blooming trillium (probably Trillium grandiflorum ) Early stage of May-apple ( Podophyllum peltatum ) Blooming bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ) Cutleaf toothwort ( Cardamine concatenata )   More bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ) Hard to tell, but I think this is a wood frog. I haven't ID'd this one yet. Bueller?...Bueller? Anyone? Mourning cloak ( Nymphalis antiopa )