24 November 2009

a sermon

i "preached" at a friend's church this past sunday. I needed to address John 18:33-37 and speak to my farm life. Now, I'm no biblical scholar, but here's some bits of what I came up with:

In preparing for today, I was particularly struck my Jesus’ response to Pilate's question if he is king: “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

From the get go, there are a couple of things that the word truth reminds me of. My first thought is usually that earlier passage in John where Jesus says he is the way, truth, and life. It's a verse I memorized in my childhood church (http://www.ghfc.org/).

My second thought is this Thich Nhat Hanh song I like to sing. The second verse goes:

Breathing in, breathing out

I am water reflecting what is real and what is true.

And I feel there is space deep inside of me

I am free.

I only heard of Thay last summer when I stayed at http://www.taize.fr/and then this past Christmas break I spent at http://www.deerparkmonastery.org/.

My third thought is my meditation group. It meets at the http://www.centerfortheworkingpoor.org/ in Echo Park on Tuesday nights at 7. We practice “Centering Prayer” which is a twenty minute time period set aside to focus on a “sacred word” and to let all other distractions go. My sacred word happens to be “true.”

As you might be able to tell, the word “truth” or “true” is complicated for me. The above references to truth have very different contexts. As I paused again to reflect on the readings for today and on how to incorporate in my farm life, I think Ive been able to break it down even a bit further. I came to the conclusion that the meaning of the word truth has changed even more since I’ve become a “farmer.”

Last year I was a CSU, Long Beach English Instructor and Chaplain, and at least in the world of academia, "truth" is something objective and is grounded in tradition. A conversation from an academic point of view meant persuading through rhetoric using Aristotle's Ethos, Pathos, Logos toward a TELOS, or end. This is what I taught in English 100. I used my head mostly and saw life as a ladder to climb from lowly adjunct instructor toward being more "king like" -- the top, the head, tenured professor, leader, etc. My sense was that we are climbing toward truth and helping others to climb as well.

However, now I a "farmer" and truth is so much more physical and embodied. Conversation is about sharing our experiences and coming to an understanding of the truth in each of our lives through relationship. The end goal is the process of understanding. In my farm life world, I use my head so much less and instead, I use my hands, my body, and my heart more now. Life seems much more weblike and is about interconnectedness, empathy, understanding, love. The difference between last year in academia and this year at the farm seem to speak so directly to the reading today -- a
movement away from a hierarchical conversation to what I see as a process-relational conversation .

Moreso, Jesus' words reminds me of Laura Riding's Unposted Letters to Catherine. Riding talks about a “muddle” of "doing," and this looks like what Pilate and the people are all about. Riding asserts that we cannot fight the muddle of do-ers by "doing." Instead, we must step outside of the muddle and just be ourselves.

Jesus appears to be just that and refuses to become a part of the oppressive muddle that would call him King or crucified. It's about something more I hear him say.

21 November 2009

Running on lawns

Although I feel rather "off" for liking lawns so much (knowing that sod is such a water waster in our so cal desert), I can't help myself. I particularly like running on them! Both of these are in Santa Barbara.

11 November 2009

04 November 2009

Been thinking about Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Thank you, Dan Callis, for introducing me to Annie so long ago in Baja.

The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut. When I see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observer.

Do I substitute the photographs for the real deal? The virtual relationship for the intimate one? Am I doing it with this blog?

Found a cool blog today . http://tiakramer.blogspot.com/2007/11/contextualized-language.html. with Annie Dillard quotations on random items.

"risking sticking my face in"
Seems appropriate for this post.