Sunday, March 29, 2009

The tempers, humors, and peculiar turns of the mind, whether they be natural or acquired, have a great influence upon our judgment, and become the occasion of many mistakes. Let us survey a few of them –

Some persons are of an easy and credulous (apt to believe without sufficient basis) temper, while others are perpetually discovering a spirit of contradiction. The credulous man is ready to receive every thing for truth, that has but a shadow of evidence; every new book that he reads, and every ingenious man with whom he converses, has power enough to draw him into the sentiments of the speaker or writer. He has so much complaisance in him, or weakness of soul, that he is ready to resign his own opinion to the first objection which he hears, and to receive any sentiments of another that are asserted with a positive air and much assurance. Thus he is under a kind of necessity, through the indulgence of this credulous humor, either to be often changing his opinions, or to believe inconsistencies.”
Does this bring James 1:8 to mind?

”The man of contradiction is of a contrary humor, for he stands ready to oppose every thing that is said; he gives but a slight attention to the reasons of other men, from an inward and scornful presumption that they have no strength in them. When he reads or hears a discourse different from his own sentiments, he does not give himself leave to consider whether that discourse may be true; but employs all his powers immediately to confute it. Your great disputers, and your men of controversy, are in continual danger of this sort of prejudice: they contend often for victory, and will maintain whatsoever they have asserted, while truth is lost in the noise and tumult of reciprocal contradictions; and it frequently happens, that a debate about opinions is turned into a mutual reproach of persons.”

Isaac Watts, "Logic" - Top photo from the Internet, bottom photo by Alec Ee.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sue and I took Jordan and Carissa to Seattle, Washington and spent two days poking around as many interesting shops as we could, and our old tired feet would allow. Seattle has a lot to offer but in the winter, (yes I know it is spring but it was high 40's, misting incesently, and snowed on the way home), the islands and hiking are out. We found plenty to fill two days with and here are a few pictures we took.

We learned the first Starbucks was in this area, so we decided to take a picture of it and when we got there we found it packed with a line out the door. In addition this two person street act, singing out difficult to describe music, and the gal would break out into some kind of dance on a three by three wooden stage that she had a cowbell and washboard attached to that she played in between her clogging. Actually, they were pretty darn good. Got a tip outta me.

There are many little alleyways, some with shops others are walkways, and of course others you quickly pass right by. I took this shot out of a window because the building below had some colorful but unidentifiable decor. We decided to go down and look at it more closely.

Well, it wasn't exactly what I expected; this one building wall was covered with chewing gum! Don't ask me? but it seemed that if you needed to dispose of your gum this wall was where you came to leave your deposit. Of course we obliged.

Seattle is an odd place; a place of high fashion for sure, as this picture attests to.
Of course it misted the entire time we were there, but in Seattle folks know how to dress for it. This was taken at Pikes Market area, a section filled with unusual shops, a farmers market, cobble stone streets and right on the edge of the bay.

In one underground antique store I turned a corner and what did I see? A separate room down the stairs with the angelic words above the door -
"Books, Rare, Antique, New and Used." Heaven, I"m in heaven.....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never either so wretched or so happy as we say we are." Balzac

When I ran across this quote I could not deny the truth in it. I wonder, do we exaggerate our misfortune for sympathy and our happiness out of pride?
I know we are tempted to exaggerate our spirituality as well. Come to think of it, we probably exaggerate just about everything about us!
We are a piece of work!
Top two photos from the Internet, bottom by Silvia Bratanova

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Brian McLaren’s book “The Secret Message of Jesus”, he relates a true story Tony Campolo tells; "he was in another time zone and couldn’t sleep, so well after midnight he wandered down to a doughnut shop where, it turned out, local hookers also came at the end of a night of turning tricks. There, he overhead a conversation between two of them. One, named Agnes, said, “You know what? Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m gonna be thirty-nine.” Her friend snapped back, “So what d’ya want from me? A birthday party” Huh? You want me to get a cake and sing happy birthday to you?” The first woman replied, “Aw, come on, why do you have to be so mean? Why do you have to put me down? I’m just saying it’s my birthday. I don’t want anything from you. I mean, why should I have a birthday party? I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?”

When they left, Tony got an idea. He asked the shop owner if Agnes came in every night, and when he replied in the affirmative, Tony invited him into a surprise party conspiracy. The shop owner’s wife even got involved. Together they arranged for a cake, candles, and typical party decorations for Agnes, who was, to Tony, a complete stranger. The next night when she came in, they shouted, “Surprise!” – and Agnes couldn’t believe her eyes. The doughnut shop patrons sang, and she began to cry so hard she could barely blow out the candles. When the time came to cut the cake, she asked if they’d mind if she didn’t cut it, if she could bring it home – just to keep it for a while and savor the moment. So she left, carrying her cake like a treasure.

Tony led the guests in a prayer for Agnes, after which the shop owner told Tony he didn’t realize Tony was a preacher. He asked what kind of church Tony came from, and Tony replied, “I belong to a church that throws parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.” The shop owner couldn’t believe him. “No you don’t. There ain’t no church like that. If there was, I’d join it. Yep, I’d join a church like that.”
Painting by Chelsie Carolyn.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I ran across this piece in R. L. Stevenson’s book "Travels with a Donkey", that reminds me of the many times I have felt like Stevenson describes here. In my case it wasn't a Catholic Priest but a Protestant zealot.

All faiths have a least one member that fits this profile

Stevenson is traveling for the enjoyment of seeing different lands and meeting different people and sites; in this story he is visiting a beautiful Catholic monastery, although he is not Catholic, but a Protestant, and the scene takes place as he is having breakfast with a Priest and an old retired soldier, a devout Catholic who has just found out he is a Protestant, and descends on him with all his fury to convert him to Catholicism. It is rather difficult to follow in parts but if you have ever been accosted by someone who looked at you as a lost and shameful wretch that needs to adopt his rules of faith, you will find this humorous and realistic.

This, again, is not an attack on Catholics, and I hope my Catholic friends will take this good naturedly, because every faith has Pastors, members or leaders that approach people this way.

“…….It was only in the morning, over our coffee that this couple found out I was a heretic. I suppose I had misled them by some admiring expressions as to the monastic life around us; and it was only by a point blank question that the truth came out. I had been tolerantly used both by simple Father Apollinaris and astute Father Michael; and the good Irish deacon, when he heard of my religious weakness, had only patted me upon the shoulder and said, “You must be a Catholic and come to heaven.” But I was now among a different sect of orthodox. These two men were bitter and upright and narrow, like the worst of Scotsmen, and indeed, upon my heart, I fancy they were worse. The priest snorted aloud like a battle-horse.
He demanded something in Latin, and there is no type used by mortal printers large enough to qualify his accent. I humbly indicated that I had no design of changing. But he could not away with such a monstrous attitude. “No, no,” he cried; “you must change. You have come here, God has led you here, and you must embrace the opportunity.”
I made a slip in policy; I appealed to my family affections, though I was speaking to a priest and a soldier, two classes of men circumstantially divorced from the kind and homely ties of life.
“Your father and mother?” cried the priest. “Very well; you will convert them in their turn when you go home.”

I think I see my father’s face! I would rather tackle the Gaetulian lion in his den than embark on such an enterprise against the family theologian.

But now the hunt was up; priest and soldier were in full cry for my conversion; and the work of the Propagation of the Faith. It was an odd but most effective proselyting. They never sought to convince me in argument, where I might have attempted some defense; but took it for granted that I was both ashamed and terrified at my position, and urged me solely on the point of time. Now, they said, when God had led me to our Lady of the Snows, now was the appointed hour.
“Do not be withheld by false shame,” observed the priest, for my encouragement.

For one who feels very similarly to all sects of religion, and who has never been able, even for a moment, to weigh seriously the merit of this or that creed on the eternal side of things, however much he may see to praise or blame upon the secular and temporal side, the situation thus created was both unfair and painful.
I committed my second fault in tact, and tried to plead that it was all the same thing in the end, and we were all drawing near by different sides to the same kind and undiscriminating Friend and Father. That, as it seems to lay-spirits, would be the only gospel worthy of the name. But different men think differently; and this revolutionary aspiration brought down the priest with all the terrors of the law.
He launched into harrowing details of hell. The damned, he said – on the authority of a little book which he had read not a week before, and which, to add conviction to conviction, he had fully intended to bring along with him in his pocket – were to occupy the same attitude through all eternity in the midst of dismal tortures. And as he thus expatiated, he grew in nobility of aspect with his enthusiasm. …….

I was by this time so thoroughly embarrassed that I pled cold feet, and made my escape from the apartment."

I have an acquaintance I see on occasion, and I'm sure he visits to assess my spiritual condition and get me back on his straight and narrow path. I always breath a sigh of relief when he is leaves because, like in the above story, he suspects me of "heresy", and heartily proclaims the "exclusivity" of his path, always proclaims that God has "led him" here and there; he has a way of using "shame and terror of hell" to punctuate his positions, and in general leaves me the worse for his visit. It may be he is the inspiriation for the bumper sticker "God spare me from your followers".

Painting by D. Branchaud.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friendships depth.

An Hour With Thee.

An hour with thee! – when earliest day
Dapples with gold the eastern gray,
Oh, what can frame my mind to bear
The toil and turmoil, cark and care,
New griefs, which coming hours unfold.
And sad remembrance of the old?—
One hour with thee.

One hour with thee! – When burning June
Waves his red flag at pitch of noon,
What shall repay the faithful swain
His labor on the sultry plain;
And more than cave or sheltering bough,
Cool feverish blood and throbbing brow?
One hour with thee.

One hour with thee! – When sun is set,
Oh, what can teach me to forget
The thankless labors of the day,
The hopes, the wishes, flung away,
The increasing wants, and lessening gains,
The master’s pride, who scorns my pains? –
One hour with thee.

Walter Scott - Photo by Alwyn Loh
There are some people that think so profoundly that they leave an indelible mark on history, Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which had as much to do with the freeing of the slaves as any other one thing, is one of those thinkers. This following piece displays her keen insights into the deep things of God. Born to Lyman Beecher, a great preacher, and the brother of Henry Ward Beecher, of whom some say was the greatest preacher of eighteenth century.

“For, as to every leaf and every flower there is an ideal to which the growth of the plant is constantly urging, so is there an idea to every human being, - a perfect form in which it might appear, were every defect removed and every characteristic excellence stimulated to the highest point. Once in an age, God sends to some of us a friend who loves in us, not a false-imagining, an unreal character, but, looking through the rubbish of our imperfections, loves in us the divine ideal of our nature, - loves, not the man that we are, but the angel that we may be. Such friends seem inspired by a divine gift of prophecy – like the mother of St. Augustine, who, in the midst of the wayward, reckless youth of her son, beheld him in a vision, standing clothed in white, a ministering priest at the right hand of God, as he has stood for longs ages since. Could a mysterious foresight unveil to us this resurrection form of the friends with whom we daily walk, compassed about with mortal infirmity, we should follow them with faith and reverence through all the disguises of human faults and weakness, “waiting for the manifestations of the sons of God.” But these wonderful soul-friends, to whom God grants such perceptions, are the exceptions in life; yet sometimes we are blessed with one who see through us, as Michael Angelo saw through a block of marble, when he attacked it in a divine fervor, declaring that an angel was imprisoned within it; - and it is often that delicate, resolute hand of such a friend that sets the angel free.
There are soul-artists, who go through this world, looking among their fellows with reverence, as one looks among the dust and rubbish of old shops for hidden works of Titian and Leonardo da Vinci, and finding them, however cracked and torn and painted over with tawdry daubes of pretenders, immediately recognize the divine original, and set themselves to cleanse and restore. Such are God’s real priests, whose ordination and anointing are from the Holy Spirit; and he who has not this enthusiasm is not ordained of God, though whole synods of bishops laid hands on him.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, from the book "Treasures New and Old" - photo from the Internet

Friday, March 20, 2009

“For a long time I have been preaching the doctrine “That we get out of life just what we put into it.” A neighbor of mind heard me make this statement several times, and one day took me to task as follows: “Say Cox, tell me how you are ever going to collect from these little sparrow and robins and wild canaries I see you feeding every morning?”
“Well”, I replied, “I don’t know how or where or when, but you can rest assured I will be paid in full all right.” He just laughed and went on, but a few mornings later he stopped and was admiring the roses in our garden, when all of a sudden he discovered there were no bugs on our bushes and right away he wanted to know what kind of spray we used, declaring the bugs were destroying every plant he had. I told him we had never used a spray, and explained it to him after this fashion. “You see we have a hundred or more birds breakfast with us every morning and they sing us a song or two, but they do not seem to feel that their songs are pay enough for what we do for them, and in wanting to do more, they have undertaken the job of freeing our plants of insects, that they may not destroy them as they have yours. It always works that way. We get out of life just what we put into it.” With a smile he said, “Cox, you win.”

Coleman Cox - Photo by Ruud Albers

In Brian McLaren’s book “The Secret Message of Jesus”, he comments on Matthew 5 verses 43-48 where Jesus teaches His most radical and difficult subject, about loving our enemies, and Jesus ends with, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

He comments – “ This is one of the most powerful – yet misunderstood – passages in biblical literature, misunderstood largely because people neglect Jesus’ larger-scale strategy in this whole sermon. They assume that “Be Perfect” means “Achieve external technical perfection.” In context, though, it’s abundantly clear that Jesus means something poles apart from external technical perfection.

The kingdom of God calls you to a higher way of living. It’s not just about loving friends and hating enemies. It’s about loving your enemies. This is what the King does, so this is the way of the Kingdom. God is good to all – including evil people. God’s perfection is a compassionate perfection. That’s the kind of love you need to have in God’s kingdom – a compassionate perfection that transcends old divisions of us/them and neighbor/enemy, that loves those who do not yet love you. We will never reach universal reconciliation in the kingdom of God until we move beyond conventional religious morality and believe in and practice this radical, higher plan.

The parallel passage in Luke 6:36 substitutes the word “merciful” for “perfect,” strongly reinforcing this reading.”

Photo taken from the internet

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain;
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight come, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright."

The picture of the horse struggling, but not giving up in the deep snow captured the essence of this post for me. As the poet declares, often our struggles seem in vain, but we never know when our last attempt may be the one that possess the victory.

Poem by Arthur Hugh Clough - photo by Rian Houston
I’m reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s book “Travels With a Donkey, his journal of travel he made alone but for a stubborn donkey. His reason for travel I’ll let him describe --

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the need and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”

His writing is so humorous, and his power of description so entertaining that I have to share this tidbit as he desperately tries to find his way out of the woods.
He comes to a little village in need of direction.

The next, I was pricking Modestine (his donkey), forward, and guiding her like an unruly ship through the open. In a path, she went doggedly ahead of her own accord, as before a fair wind; but once on the turf or among heather, and the brute became demented. The tendency of lost travelers to go round in a circle was developed in her to the degree of passion, and it took all the steering I had in me to keep even a decently straight course through a single field.
While I was thus desperately tacking through the bog, children and cattle began to disperse, until only a pair of girls remained behind. From these I sought direction on my path. The peasantry in general were but little disposed to counsel a wayfarer. One old devil simply retired into his house, and barricaded the door on my approach; and I might beat and shout myself hoarse, he turned a deaf ear.
Another, having given me a direction which, as I found afterwards, I had misunderstood, complacently watched me going wrong without adding a sign. He did not care a stalk of parsley if I wandered all night upon the hills!
As for these two girls, they were a pair of impudent sly sluts, with not a thought but mischief. One put out her tongue at me, the other bade me follow the cows; and they both giggled and jogged each other’s elbows. The beast of Ge’vaudan ate about a hundred children from this district; I began to think of him with sympathy.”

Picture from the internet

Saturday, March 14, 2009

“I confess, the least sin should humble the soul, but certainly the greatest sin should never discourage the soul, much less should it work the soul to despair.
Despairing Judas perished, whereas the murderers of Christ, believing on Christ, were saved. Despair is a sin exceeding vile and contemptible; it is a word of eternal reproach, dishonor and confusion; it declares the devil a conqueror; and what greater dishonor can be done to Christ, than for a soul to proclaim before all the world the devil a crowned conqueror?

A despairing soul is a terror to himself; his heart a hell of horror; his conscience a field of black blood. He hath no rest at home, nor abroad, at bed nor board, but is as if infernal devils followed him in fearful shapes, terrifying and tormenting his perplexed soul. Eternity of misery, feared or felt, begets that monster which, like Medusa’s head, astonisheth with its very aspect, and strangles hope, which is the breadth of the soul. Other miseries may wound the spirit, but despair kills it dead.” Thomas Brooks

When I went looking for a picture to go with this post I came across Regina Lafay's web-site and was taken by her art. I decided to include her comments about herself and her art as an addition to the above quote. Her comments, thought related in topic to the quote, add a further dimension. She has found expression in art and some comfort. As Christians we may suffer the same afflictions in this life, but we have a hope that may have eluded the artist. I don't say this casually or in judgment, but in sympathy. This world has miseries in it that one would think go beyond remedy, and I am thankful, as I look around me, that I have been spared as much as I have been. But I have also heard the testimonies of many in the midst of great suffering that know the peace of Christ as well as His joy. This, of course, I desire for this artist.
May she, if she hasn't, and all those in the midst of suffering, find Christ our only hope.

"I had someone actually ask me “what the hell is that?” I wasn’t sure how to answer. Wounded is a combination of a skeleton and a doll. It’s confusion and chaos. It’s pain and frustration. I think it was one of the first I did while trying to figure out my bipolar symptoms, prior to diagnosis. It’s that feeling of not being put-together properly, off-centered."
Regina Lafay –

Artist's Statement
"My father contaminated my childhood with sexual and emotional abuse, causing an anxiety disorder which has carried over ten-fold into my adult life. I was only recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder type 2 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I also have Fibromyalgia and other related illnesses. This makes it difficult to live a “normal” life. I am in physical pain and mental anguish more often than not.
"Four therapists and two psychiatrists later…I quit my 9-5 media job, because the stress of perpetual deadlines was unmistakably damaging to my mental and physical health. However, I am now your typical starving artist. I have little money to pay bills, never mind continue my therapy. Luckily, I have art…and a few good friends!
"Through art, I am able express myself in ways I cannot put into words. I discover and I heal. And sometimes I just scream. We all need to scream, and art is a quieter, more productive way of doing so. If sharing my experience and pain helps others feel that they are not alone, I am glad to do so. It gives me some sort of validation."
-- Regina Lafay

Angry Inner Child - Regina Lafay

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The following piece comes from a book I’m reading called “The openness of God”. The context of the passage is a critical look at the nature of this God of Love we serve. My Puritan authors are nearly leaping off my bookshelves in horror as I read this but I find it a sweet nectar.

“…..The prophets use other human relationships to describe divine emotion as well.
Hosea compares God’s feelings for Israel with a parent’s tender longing for a wayward child:
When Israel was a child, I loved him…. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms…. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them…. How can I give you up Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?... My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
Hos. 11:1,3,4,8 NRSV

The husband-wife and parent-child metaphors illuminate the experience of God in a unique and indispensable way. Whereas the metaphors of king and subject, judge and criminal emphasize power and punishment in God’s relation to his people, these family metaphors emphasize love and commitment.

It is not uncommon for people to dismiss these emotional descriptions of God, numerous though they are, as poetic flights essentially unrelated to the central qualities that the Old testament attributes to God. As they see it, the real God of the Bible is made of sterner stuff. He is powerful, authoritarian and inflexible, so the tender feelings we read of in the prophets are merely examples of poetic license. As I understand it, however, the evidence supports a strikingly different conclusion.”
Sculpture by Mark Hopkins

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This following piece, taken from the book "Beaten Paths", is so practical and I can apply it to my work, or to any part of my life.

"Finding ourselves in this mighty stream of life that carries us onward so precipitately from year to year, our great problem is how to utilize its force in advancing all our interests. Until we form the purpose of making time contribute to the attainment of some definite end, its volume will continue to roll along without any benefit to us. Here is the stream: what do you propose to do with it? What do you wish to accomplish with this life of yours that is slipping so rapidly away? To what end will you devote your time? This is indeed the question of questions, and on the right answering of it turns the prosperity of the future.
There is an industry that may bring to a man no permanent benefit, allowing him to go out of the world as poor as when he entered it. We scorn the Emperor Domitian for forsaking the interests of his great empire to perfect himself in the sport of killing flies; but what can be said of those who forsake the highest and noblest interests that any human can cherish, simply that they may perfect themselves in industries or accomplishments that are of no permanent advantage.
Having determined to put time to some worthy use, our next duty consists in the formation of some plan by which the various interests of life may be so adjusted to one another as to contribute to the realization of our main purpose. How much time shall be given to work; how much to play; how much to study and to social entertainment: how much to works of charity and religion? If you would use the force of the current, you must learn to distribute its energy aright.
A wise and well considered plan prevents the minor affairs of life from encroaching upon its main interest, and serves to economize time itself. Without a plan, trifling matters are apt to monopolize the attention; and at the conclusion of every separate duty or diversion, many valuable moments will be lost in considering what we should do next."

Photo by Birte Ragland

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The following paragraph is one that I like and, if I understand him right, I think is true.
He considers those propositions that occasionally come up regarding our faith where our reason, conscience, concept of God and experience deny. In Jeremy Taylor’s illustrious way, he considers those issues and warns us that faith, if it violates all I mentioned, is a blind faith and not of substance, and cannot glorify God if our conscience condemns it.

“Whatsoever is against right reason, that no faith can oblige us to believe…..

If therefore any society of men calls upon us to believe in our religion what is false in our experience, to affirm that to be done which we know is impossible to ever be done, to wink hard that we may see the better…. They make religion so to be seated in the will that our understanding will be useless and can never minister to it. But as he that shuts the eye hard and with violence curls the eyelid, forces a fantastic fire from the crystalline humor, and espies a light that never shines, and sees thousands of little fires that never burn: so is he that blinds the eye of his reason and pretends to see by an eye of faith. He makes little images of notion and some atoms dance before him, but he is not guided by the light nor instructed by the proposition, but sees like a man in a sleep….. He that speaks against his own reason speaks against his own conscience, and therefore it is certain no man serves God with a good conscience that serves Him against his reason.”

Photo by Joost Van Buul

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I spent the weekend with my son Eric, who visited me from Spokane. We had a great time hanging out and going to all the great books in Portland. He caught a ride from two friends, Dan and Melissa Dailey, who only two months ago, adopted two young women from Ethiopia. When they dropped Eric off they came in for introductions and I was able to meet their two new daughters LemLem and Sara. Rescued daughters. Rescued orphans from the streets of Ethiopia.
My heart swelled with affection as soon as I laid eyes on these two shy but loving young women. I sensed the very love that Christ gave to Dan and Melissa for these two orphans. Although I restrained myself, everything within me wanted to grab them up and nearly squeeze the life out of them. I wanted them to know how much God cares for them, how glad I was to see them in America and freed from poverty.

I'm so proud of Dan and Melissa for answering the call of Christ to battle for the custody of these two young women; and Eric assured me it was a battle indeed.

Some times God gives us so much love for a total stranger that we feel we may burst with love; this was one of those moments.

Photo sent to me by Mel.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"I like to have pieces of fine handicraft around me - old violins, vases, wood carvings, silverware. And, when I am fed up with the wranglings of spellbinders, diplomats, and reformers, and when the preaching of the sectarians seem empty and childish, and when the clanging and clashing of strikes, lockouts and wars make my head ache, and when radio commentators commentate and announcers announce with too much zest, then I like to go among my treasures, and catch the quiet spirit of the artist who created them. What patience and loving care is reflected in these works. How far removed they seem from the sound and fury of the power-mad world......" Tony Wons
I really like this piece, and whether it is among the man-made crafts or the crafts made by God, here is where my soul is often restored.
Photo by Philippe Baud

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"Confine not yourself always to one sort of company, or to persons of the same party or opinion, either in matters of learning, religion, or the civil life, lest, if you should happen to be nursed up or educated in early mistake, you should be confirmed and established in the same mistake, by conversing only with persons of the same sentiments.
It is said, when the King of Siam first conversed with some European merchants, who sought the favor of trading on his coast, he inquired of them some of the common appearances of summer and winter in their country; and when they told him of water growing so hard in their rivers that men and horses and laden carriages passed over it, and that rain sometimes fell down almost as white and light as feathers, and sometimes almost as hard as stones, he would not believe a syllable they said, for ice, snow, and hail, were names and things utterly unknown to him and to his subjects in that hot climate. He renounced all traffic with such shameful liars, and would not allow them to trade with his people. See here the natural effects of gross ignorance."
The older I get the more I appreciate his sentiments. Whatever the arena, politics, people from other cultures, religious beliefs, just name the subject, I find I approach nearly everything with preconceived notions taken from a small sampling of life. And yet, when someone broadens my horizon on any subject, it brings great joy.
Isaac Watts - Photo taken from the Internet