What To Do About Evil

“We see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities… It has to be confronted squarely…[but also it] is very important for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil’s been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil…in the name of good. [J]ust because we think that our intentions are good, doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.” – Obama

“Defeat it.” – McCain

“But I say to you, ‘Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.'” – Jesus

“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – The book of Proverbs

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On The Value Of Things, Apart From Me

“The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms; wine is in order to be wine.  Things are precious before they are contributory … Creation is God’s living room, the place where He sits down and relishes the exquisite state of His decoration … God made the world out of joy; He didn’t need it; He just thought it was a good thing.”- Robert Farrar Capon, quoted in Everything Must Change by Brian McClaren 

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On The Mountain

I woke up in the dark yesterday morning to the sound of rain on the roof. I am still temporally misaligned. My timezones, present and past, are sliding closer, but it will be another few days before things are right. By the time the sky had started to lighten, I had been awake for a couple hours, partly from the jetlag, partly from thinking too much. Since the dog needed some exercise and I had spent plenty of time already this week in fog, we made tracks for the hills.

The rain was stopping and the clouds had started to break by the time I was on the trail. Above me on the hill was the first light of sunshine. When I reached the viewpoint, I regretted not bringing a camera (the better to see things with?). The valley was still wrapped in fog and to the east everything was misty and beautiful. The kind of morning that makes you think of prayer as a rational activity.

Being in the state I was, the only thing I could think to pray was “help, help, help”, which I think is a pretty good prayer in general. Then I stood there with my arms out and the dog running in circles around me. And at that moment the fog decided to slide up the hill and gather all around me, so that the valley below and the mountain above became vague outlines and then disappeared altogether and I was left on a small point of land surrounded by air that glowed as if it were lit by angels. Things stayed like that for a few minutes, all ablaze with crazy, golden light, until the fog slid past and the sun climbed into the clouds above and things went back to normal.

I’ve read about something like this happening before, but those people wanted to build tents and stay there. I can’t do that because I have a job, and because there are rattlesnakes. But it did make me want to stop for awhile, especially when climbing down into the valley meant going back down into the grey. So I sat there and said “thank you” out loud a couple times. Then I went down the hill.


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