Jump to content

du Garbandier

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by du Garbandier

  1. A perennial regret of mine, which subsides during the winter but resurfaces especially in spring and fall, is my inability to retain much of the lore and language of trees, specifically those in whose midst I live. Virginia is a fountain of trees. Every so I often I pick up one of my field guides to Eastern trees and try to learn how to differentiate trees on the basis of foliage, bark, etc. And yet beyond a handful of the obvious suspects like the dogwood, which I already knew, whenever I go out tree-hunting I find myself at a loss to make the proper identification. I would like to teach my nephews such matters. And yet what kind of social introduction can I hope to make when I can’t even remember names? I mourn for the lost intimacy that such knowledge brings. No doubt I lack willpower and perseverance. But there is also the problem of paltry correspondence, which all students face: the store of knowledge I have worked indoors to acquire seems to be utterly transformed when I try to apply it. I find that the words I learn blush a little in the face of an actual tree. The great Howard Nemerov describes the experience in his poem, “Learning the Trees”: The object of language always seems to overflow the cup of language. Even so it is possible to learn, pedetemtim, little by little. It is good to name the trees, for in so doing humans reply to our dual vocation of stewardship of nature and of language. To learn the nomenclature is not only to become acquainted with that which is named but to also know and be connected with those who name, with those who learned and taught the names, and with those whom you may teach one day. But ultimately For me, this experience of blushing at the terminus of knowledge is intensified a hundredfold when it comes to humans: “Man is the creature with a mystery in his heart that is bigger than himself. He is built like a tabernacle around a most sacred mystery” (Hans Urs von Balthasar). When I attend to any given person with the concentration compelled by this inner mystery, I find that my only viable response is watchful reticence. No matter what I say, the eloquent silence of the mystery of being comprehends me and compels me to listen. It is hard to hear someone’s heartbeat when you are telling them what they are and what’s wrong with them. And yet the practice of attentive silence could be the very way in which the spiritual arrhythmia of our neighbor’s heart becomes apparent to them, where our well-meaning diagnostic monologues would only have obscured. Sometimes surrender is the only way to be heard. Self-labeling is just as much a problem as the labeling of others. I cringe at the sneering diagnosis of whatever-ism in others; I cringe just as much at efforts to form self-identifying substitutes for the term “Christian” because of the “baggage” some have burdened it with. All I know is if you cut the “baggage” out of the church you will cut me out too. If anyone is baggage, I am. Determining who should be re-classified is not my priority as a dead man. Scholars have debated what kind of wood might have been used that Friday long ago on Golgotha. I have heard olivewood, cyprus, cedar; there is also the legend of dogwood. But we know that hanging on the wood that hour were three men, two criminals and one innocent. Of that classification we can be certain. Furthermore, the two were both thieves, but one was saved and the other wasn’t. I could spend a thousand years studying the Field Guide to Humans and never begin to comprehend this mysterious taxonomy; my only choice is to live it.
  2. There has been so much great thought here that I haven't had much to add. But isn't "holiness" itself a theological term, carrying real meaning only when it rests on a judgment made (on some level) about the nature of holiness that can only be called a theological view? Such judgments do not occur in individualistic vacuums. In other words, I would submit that you and I can speak meaningfully of holiness, and hence of the disparity between talk about holiness and holiness itself (which I don't think anyone would deny), precisely because of the hard theological work interpretive communities and traditions have done in passing on, well, religion. In still other words (don't worry, I have several dozen more words at my disposal), if the many generations of Christians before us were truly spiritual-but-not-religious in the sense in which some Christians today seem to mean, the word holiness and that which it entails might well be alien to us. M. Leary pretty much sums up my thoughts when he observes that the spiritual-but-not-religious path, whatever may be laudable in its intentions (and certainly there are often honorable intentions behind it all), offers what is ultimately another way of being religious rather than an alternative to religion. I do not denigrate the category of "the spiritual"; I simply do not believe that it carries any real meaning outside of religious contexts.
  3. I'm not defining "spirit"--that is what I'd like to see from the spiritual-but-not-religious, whose whole rationale of self-categorization seems to rest on the existence of something called "spirituality"--but I'm only offering my understanding of how the word is used in a particular passage of scripture. The influence of the Holy Spirit in scripture's use of the word seems clear. But more broadly, a "spiritual force" is simply that which influences people either towards or away from the truth of Christ and to lead others away and toward likewise. The point is not to dwell on the precise nature of these influences but to observe that from a Christian perspective they can be tested and discerned according to the Christology given in I John (and elsewhere), an advantage which the spiritual-but-not-religious person, at least on the strict basis of being spiritual-but-not-religious, does not have when it comes to scrutinizing just which spirits said person is influenced by or possessed of. Also, since I do not know you, you have the advantage of me in that I have no idea of what you may or may not be feigning... The faults, malignancies, and downright atrocities of the religious are well-known. What's not so clear is what any of this has to do with "spirituality" or "being spiritual." Would you say that as you understand it, "being spiritual" is a synonym for "being nice and tolerant"?
  4. Well, I was probably being unclear but I don't mean to suggest that "religion" itself has or hasn't anything to do with spirits. I should refrain from saying anything about "religion" in general. The bit about true and false spirits comes directly from the Christian bible, namely from I John 4: The word "spirit" here seems to connote something like "spiritual forces that influence human behavior and thought." These are the influences which lead people into or away from the truth. Also referred to is "he who is in you," whom I take to be the Holy Spirit. At the time I understand there was a popular teaching that Jesus was divine in appearance only. Here, scripture offers believers a doctrinal way of testing and discerning whether the influences that drive what is taught are of God or not. I note that this is precisely what the ethos of being spiritual does not offer unless it stoops to collude with religion on the level of dogma and doctrine: that is, what we have here is a reliable way of acknowledging that while some spirits are good, others are bad, as well as a way of discerning between the good and the bad (as you put it).
  5. A vast gap between myself and many of my peers seems to exist where religion and spirituality are concerned. To wit, I prefer the former to the latter. Even more so as I mature (I am in my late 20's). I realize this approach has its limitations and weaknesses. But at least I am certain that religion exists. Furthermore, I like religion and being religious. (I also like being irreligious but that's another story--or maybe it isn't.) This does not mean that I do not or cannot call the spiritual-but-not-religious my neighbors, friends, and Christian brethren; to the contrary. I just have real difficulty understanding them when they describe themselves in these terms. I just don't know what people mean by being spiritual, i.e. spirituality. I know about the supernatural; I know about spiritual beings like angels; I know about spiritual gifts, and thus about the Holy Spirit and all therewith connected and indwelt and infused that we commonly call "spiritual." Also, I know that some spirits are of God while others are not, between which we can and must differentiate on the basis of whether a given spirit confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. I know that on such a basis it is possible to distinguish between true and false spirits. Indeed, I have learned about these things mostly in the regular course of being religious. On being spiritual, though, I am not so clear. Frankly, I am clueless. I know (thanks to religion for drilling it into my thick skull) that I am commanded to love God and love my neighbor. But what such dictates have to do with spirituality is beyond me. Does being spiritual have to do with anything other than feeling non-hypocritical? I think it may; I just don't know. Let me suppose that being spiritual not only is possible but is the Good Thing my friends seem to think it is. Very well. And let me assume, friends, you will not hold it against me for being in simple ignorance of the phrase's precise meaning. How then am I, the untutored, would-be Spiritualite, to learn the ins and outs of spirituality? Perhaps in the course of due time, as the ethos of being spiritual continues to gain favor, its adherents will do me a favor and erect some kind of corporeal, corporate apparatus by which its central doctrines may be articulated, proclaimed, reinforced, and carried out. Without being religious, of course.
  6. Hats must be pleasing in the sight of God. As though they could have had no human maker They rise in splendor, sway in independence, Bobble and nod in glory above the heads As manifestations from the mind itself, Expressing the erection of pure thought In velvet, pelt and feather. --Howard Nemerov
  7. I've changed the title of this thread to a more general one, since the Tumblarity issue is long resolved.
  8. I wonder if the "Mountains Beyond Mountains" song is a reference to the Tracy Kidder book of that title...
  9. I would explore any and all alternatives to Craigslist's, given its well-known associations with human trafficking. And there are alternatives.
  10. But they didn't mention the real, um, hook: "Finding Nemo 2. From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan." And how about "The Incredibles 2. A reboot by Christopher Nolan."
  11. Nope. There are user lists like this one, which can be pretty unreliable not only for lack of updates but because of Netflix's at times deceptive system. The Bank Dick, for instance, uses the Criterion image but according to user comments Netflix sends out some other version. Whereas Greencine has a very nice Criterion filter.
  12. Sounds like we need a Restore Shyamalan campaign.
  13. I like to give films the benefit of the doubt wherever possible. Therefore I am willing to assume that whatever faults Inception has are redressed in the Saito character's dialogue, or at least the 97% of which I could not comprehend.
  14. "Helm" for "direct" doesn't really bother me; it feels within the normal metaphorical envelope for the word. As to why the neologism "helmer" instead of "helmsman", I couldn't say: perhaps the aim is for a more gender-neutral form, with "helmsperson" perhaps disqualified as being worse than "helmer"? Yes, I can stomach "helm" in moderation. "Helmer" is just too odd. Instead, I recommend "timoneer"--which is not odd at all. Um.
  15. I went with Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales.
  16. May I say that the term "helmer" for "director" vexes me sorely? "Helming" for "directing" was bad enough, but "helmer" is a new low...
  17. So we meet again, Criterion Sale. And coupons to boot? Why yes.
  18. I thought the referee did pretty well considering the circumstances. Ultimately this was a real stinker of a match, but I don't think you blame the ref. The Dutch aggression put him in a difficult spot. In fact maybe his worst decision was not red carding Nigel De Jong's kung fu kick to Xabi Alonso's heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTFsl8WEw1U Unfortunately, for a neutral observer this was the most exciting thing about the final: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PeM8CuH28M
  19. I'm reading R. K. Narayan. I just finished his superb and moving collection of tales, Malgudi Days. Now I've started his novel The Guide. Most of his fiction seems to revolve around the normal lives of residents of Malgudi, an Indian region of Narayan's invention. So far Narayan is not what you might call a very political writer. He is not necessarily interested in the political pertubations and social commentary which Western readers sometimes seem to demand from non-Western fiction. Not to say that such interests cannot exist in great literature; I only mean to say Narayan is more like Chekhov than, say, Chinua Achebe. From what I can tell he is not a reform-minded social critic so much as an observer. His tone is quiet, subtle, gentle, sometimes aching, sometimes compassionate, sometimes brutal, sometimes ironic and witty. His simplicity of style only underscores the sense of emotional complexity in which his characters live. They are normal people caught up in life. He lets them breathe. Narayan is very much like the narrator of The Guide: "the panorama of life enchanted me."
  20. Halfway through the first stage of The Director's Cup. Chuck Jones (represented by Robin Hood Daffy) is being pulverized by Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Flowers of Shanghai). Aki Kaurismaki, Hayao Miyazaki, and Robert Bresson are cruising. Abbas Kiarostami, Jacques Tati, Lars von Trier, Éric Rohmer, and Krzysztof Kieślowski are involved in tight races. Barring dramatic second half comebacks, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carl Theodor Dreyer, and Orson Welles (for some reason represented by Othello) will exit early. Andrei Tarkovsky seems not to have even qualified for the Cup--Soviet travel restrictions, perhaps? No Kurosawa either, or Terrence Malick, who meanders in a field of tall grass somewhere, wondering how Wagner would sound on vuvuzela.
  21. I picked this up for free from the book swap website, PaperBackSwap. Don't know when I'll get to it, though.
  22. Manute Bol's Radical Christianity
  23. Well, the trouble with Tumblarity was the way it ranked your blog against other blogs according to how much attention you garnered. Thus it tacitly encouraged posting things that would make you more popular. Whereas my only interest in using Tumblr was--and still is--simply to create a handy record of whatever interests me, including the interests of others whose interests interest me. How interesting! But I'm glad to say that Tumblarity vanished some months ago, and Tumblr remains a useful, enjoyable tool.
  24. Lost anti-Zeppelin Chaplin film sold on eBay. No comment yet from the Zeppelin industry.
  • Create New...