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September 7

Micah 5:2

2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah [Fruitful House of Bread], though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

The Past

My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered.

C. G. Jung
Memories, Dreams, Reflections,
New York, Vintage, 1965, p. 193

Query: How can the past be changed?

September 6

Song of Solomon 8:5–7

5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death: jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be condemned.

Fragmentation

Of that which constitutes our inner life we can import to even to those most intimate with us only fragments; the whole of it we cannot give, nor would they be able to comprehend it.

Albert Schweitzer,
Memoirs of Childhood and Youth,
New York, Macmillan, 1963, p. 109

Query: How deeply into our inner life can we accept the intimate contact of another soul?

September 5

Isaiah 26:1

1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.


Fragmentation

I knew that one’s life, one’s spanning of years and places, could never be of a piece, but rather were like scattered fragments of old glass.

Willie Morris,
North Toward Home,
New York, Dell, 1970, pp. 382–383


Query: Looking back, looking ahead, where does one step across the present from one to the other?

September 4

Slavery was identified with the Negro. Now for the first time in Western history, the status of slave coincided with a difference of race. Southerners thus came to believe that the difference of race itself justified slavery. The elaborate ancient laws, meant for a world in which war or poverty might make anyone a slave, seemed superfluous and irrelevant.

Daniel J. Boorstin,
The Americans: The National Experience,
New York, Vintage, 1965, p. 203

September 4

Mark 2:14–17

14 And as he passed by he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, follow me. And he arose and followed him.
15 And it came to pass, that as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Fragmentation

Strictly speaking, I can have no knowledge of God except such as I derive from the limited vision of my secondary perceptions on this single planet. Such knowledge is a fragment of a fragment.

Goethe
Cited by Will and Ariel Durant,
Rousseau and Revolution,
New York, Simon and Schuster,1967, p. 620
[The Durants cite their source as Lewisohn, Goethe, II, p. 210}


Query: We wait for instruction … how long? When action is urgent … how long? Instruction from whence?

September 4

Mark 2:14–17

14 And as he passed by he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, follow me. And he arose and followed him.
15 And it came to pass, that as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Fragmentation

Strictly speaking, I can have no knowledge of God except such as I derive from the limited vision of my secondary perceptions on this single planet. Such knowledge is a fragment of a fragment.

Goethe
Cited by Will and Ariel Durant,
Rousseau and Revolution,
New York, Simon and Schuster,1967, p. 620
[The Durants cite their source as Lewisohn, Goethe, II, p. 210}


Query: We wait for instruction … how long? When action is urgent … how long? Instruction from whence?

September 1

I Peter 5:5–6

5 Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

Yourself

From time to time you have no alternative but to fall back on yourself, your own powers, your own capacities be they great or small. The older you become, the more that death removes family and friends, the more alone you will be. Then comes the testing time, whether you can endure being so very much alone, whether your pride will prevent your revealing your sense of isolation, whether you have anything to fall back upon, whether you ‘can take it.’

The scene changes constantly and visibly, but other changes are not equally manifest. On this or that occasion you become aware of the fact that you no longer fit into the world. You are a piece from a game that was completed some time ago. You do not belong. Have you the strength to take it? Will you break out in wrath against younger people and make them unhappy enough to wish that you were long since dead? Or will you somehow manage to live on your own resources whatever they may be?
Dass das Leben schwer ist weiss man; Dass es unerträglich ist weiss man nicht—Gott sei dank! [That life is difficult, one knows; that life is unbearable, one does not know…thank God!]

Sometimes it seems that the so-called Powers of the Universe desire to see ‘how much a person can take’ before he admits that he is beaten, or before death stops the game.

How can you ‘be yourself’ when all the forces of human existence have worked to shape you into something other than ‘yourself’?

CEWLD

Query: How do we bring the isolated into friendship? Into community?

August 31

Luke 6:34–38

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete, withal shall it be measured unto you again.


Evil and the Power of Good


Disinteredness and active kindness wield an extraordinary influence over men’s minds and are the sources of a curious kind of non-compulsive power. In the first fifty years of their existence the Capuchins had thoroughly earned this power and influence. It is one of the tragedies of history that this moral force should everywhere have been exploited, by the rulers of the Church and State, for the furtherance of their own generally sinister ends. This harnessing by evil of the power generated by goodness is one of the principal and most tragic themes of human history.

Aldous Huxley
Grey Eminence,
New York, Chatto Windus, 1956, p. 42

Query: Is the lesser of two evils still evil? Is there a third choice?

August 30

Proverbs 30:18–19

18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

Creative Solutions

I think it is in The Way Things Are that Percy Bridgman told of discovering in his dreams how to set up an apparatus. The biologist Szent-Gyogyi dreamed conclusions. So too Bertrand Russell (Autobiography) had results flash into consciousness. In my discussions of thinking, I have described this phenomenon in terms of permutations and combinations performed in the ‘mind’ with conscious effort.

CEWLD

Query: Does a dream show us our “heart” as “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"? Does inspiration come from heart-knowledge or from head-knowledge—or indeed from something "breathed in" from outside one's ken?

August 29

Hebrews 11:15–16

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he hath prepared for them a city.


Lord, LORD

Those people who resent college courses entitled ‘The Bible as Literature’ are apparently ignorant of the whole matter of translation. Insofar as the Bible is edited so as to support contemporary religious concepts, it is literature!

CEWLD

Query: Can we understand the answers without living the questions?