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August 2010
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October 2010

Berry story used in biblical reflection

The narrator then makes this profound comment: "People sometimes talk of God's love as if it's a pleasant thing.  But it is terrible, in a way.  Think of all it includes.  It included Thad Coulter, drunk and mean and foolish, before he killed Mr. Feltner, and it included him afterwards."(1)

"God's love is terrible, in a way.  Think of all it includes."  I have often been asked, "Could God not have forgiven people without going through the pain and the violence of the Cross?"  As nice as that sounds, reality forces me to ask: When is forgiveness not painful?  True forgiveness cannot occur unless the hurt is acknowledged and called for what it is.  When you look a wrong full in the face but choose to accept the hurt instead of returning it on the one who did it, that is always painful. 


Blog Watch: Wendell Berry, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Stafford

By the early 1980’s “ecological metaphors” were all the rage, or at least had their moment in the Oregon sun when Wendell Berry, after giving a reading of his own poetry, also gave a lecture out in the Rose Garden during the Portland Poetry Festival that August. I happened to be sitting on a semi-circular cement embankment within earshot of Bill during that presentation in which Berry was attempting to define a poetic aesthetic regarding “nature poetry.” That dissertation was quite ambitious and comprehensive. One among its many examples of illustrious poets who had substituted mental fantasies for more down-to-earth, more-closely-engaged descriptions of nature was Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Berry’s argument was incisive and full of corroborating examples, indicting Shelley for projecting his erotic dreams onto nature from “Mont Blanc,” to the Vale of Kashmir, to the forests above Florence in a gathering October storm. Shelley had clearly allowed his imagination too much license, to the point of dangerous manipulation of facts and conspicuous over-consumption of nature’s beauties to facilitate his own myth-making. And the consequence of these choices put Shelley’s poetry on the side of Wall Street mass marketing and self-aggrandizement that threatened the planet with Mutually Assured Destruction.


"Book review: Jayber Crow "

I picked up a copy of Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow on the recommendation of Andrew Peterson and some of the other folks at The Rabbit Room. It promised to fit into my recent exploration of agrarianism, simple living, and earthy Christianity — and in that regard I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed in most regards. The book was brilliant. It’s the closest thing to literature that I’ve read in some time (too much Hornby and Bryson and McCall Smith for me of late), and I’m glad I took the time to invest in this one. The writing is at once simple and profound, and it’s filled with snippets of Berry’s wisdom like: “Every shakeable thing has got to be shaken,” and “But here is maybe a harder thing that I have thought of at last: What if they endured and suffered through so many years together because, even failing each other, they loved each other?”


"Growing a new crop of farmers"

Chandler Briggs grew up in Southern California, where he spent his days surfing and playing volleyball.

Now, this earnest 26-year-old lives in a world apart — growing vegetables, raising pigs and participating in a burgeoning farm movement premised in a belief that small-scale, organic farms can reinvent the nation’s food production system.

Briggs runs Vashon’s Island Meadow Farm, and it’s tough work. Last year, he made $9,000 on the three-acre spread off of Cemetery Road. His parents, as a Christmas gift, have paid for his health insurance the last couple of years.

But like a growing cadre of young men and women — on Vashon and around the country — Briggs is deeply committed to a new kind of farming. And today, he’s something of an evangelist, hoping he and other young farmers will be able to shift the agricultural landscape away from an oil-intensive farm industry that he believes is unsustainable and ecologically harmful.


WB at coal ash rally in Louisville today

The Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are holding a rally downtown tomorrow, Tuesday September 28th. KFTC fights the good fight and good people surround it. Some of those people are gathering at the corner of 4th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard for a rally.

Here's the lineup:
Wendell Berry - legendary Kentucky author and poet
Jim James (of My Morning Jacket)
Daniel Martin Moore
Makalani Bandele - affrilachian poet
Kate Larken


"We are asking that coal ash be classified as a hazardous waste, which will greatly strengthen the requirements for handling and storing this toxic material." Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

The rally begins at 4:30 p.m.


EPA coal ash hearing draws sharp views

Opponents, supporters sound off on coal ash issue 

Legislators join pro coal rally outside EPA coal ash hearing

Environmentalists and industry supporters turn out for Louisville coal ash hearing

"Mass Arrests in DC: We Shall No Longer Be Crucified Upon the Cross of Coal"

Over one hundred protesters from the Appalachian coalfields were arrested in front of the White House today, defiantly calling on the Obama administration to abolish mountaintop removal mining. As part of the Appalachia Rising events, the coalfield residents took part in a multi-day series of events to bring the escalating human rights, environmental and health care crisis to the nation's capitol.


WB at The Land Institute’s annual Prairie Festival

A highlight of Saturday’s events was when Wendell Berry, a well known author and poet spoke about American agriculture from a historian’s perspective. One theme of his elegantly simple message was that “the original settlers came because they were unsettled.” He went on to explain that conserving the integrity of the soil and the ecosystem really wasn’t a priority at that time. The continuation of this farming philosophy has disconnected us from the land, damaging it and us.