all of a sudden

There's been a string of crises the past two weeks, so I haven't been able to write much. Heavy rains produced a severe flooding of the creek, tearing down our internet cable (and breaking the steel cable that supported it), knocking out service for all the houses here. Before we could start working on that, though, a water line broke, leaving one of the houses without any water. Then, shortly after both of those got repaired, lightning struck a different house here, knocking out power in that building, the phone line in our building, and destroying two phones, a TV, and two electronic components in our internet system. I've been working to correct all these problems. Then there was also a toilet that broke, a printer that failed right when we needed to print 2600 labels—and the sewer line to this building is showing signs of blockage.

This is all on top of the terrible fire last month. Maybe I should have prayed a little harder for mercy.

Pretty much everything is fixed now (and the farm newsletter is mailed), except the sewer guy still needs to come. And really it hasn't been so bad for me. I've learned a lot helping to fix all these things, and the work hasn't been overwhelming. Oh, and in the middle of it all, someone donated a new (used) computer to replace the 15-year-old one I was using in the office. It was fun setting that up, and it works great. A much appreciated gift.

We've also had a couple requests for retreats this summer. The chaplain from Good News Partners wants to visit in July. And someone who leads a bible study at a soup kitchen at a church in Evanston wants to come soon, and then bring a group later this summer. We've been praying for a relationship with both these people for quite a while now. And then, all of a sudden, here they come.


sometimes the best response is...




"the systems of control will still be there tomorrow"

A couple days ago, heavy rains caused the creek to rise unusually high and tore down our internet cable. So we're pretty limited until early next week. In the meantime, here's something from the Onion...

Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And
Enjoy The Day For Once

LEXINGTON, MA—Describing himself as "terribly exhausted," famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said Monday that he was taking a break from combating the hegemony of the American imperialist machine to try and take it easy for once.

"I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning," said the outspoken anarcho-syndicalist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. "The systems of control designed to manufacture consent among a largely ignorant public will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I'm just going to kick back and enjoy some much-needed Noam Time."

"No fighting against institutional racism, no exposing the legacies of colonialist ideologies still persistent today, no standing up to the widespread dissemination of misinformation and state-sanctioned propaganda," Chomsky added. "Just a nice, cool breeze through an open window on a warm spring day."

...Sources said Chomsky took what was supposed to be a refreshing drive in the countryside, only to find himself obsessing over the role petroleum plays in the economic and military policies that collude with multinational corporate powers.

After stopping at a roadside McDonald's, Chomsky was unable to enjoy the Big Mac he purchased, due to the popular restaurant chain's participation in selling "a bill of goods" to the American people, who consume the unhealthy fast food and thereby bolster the capitalist system rather than buying from local farmers in order to equalize the distribution of wealth and eat more nutritiously.

Chomsky also found the burger to be too salty.

"All right, all right," the noted critic and philosopher said, "I'm going back home, writing one—just one—reasoned, scathing essay, and getting it out of my system. But then I'm definitely going back to the park to walk around and just enjoy the nice weather. I'm serious."


"to follow their own counsels"

In my prayers this morning, I came across these lines in Psalm 81:

"My people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would have none of me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.

"O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.

"I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."


"now they are hid from your eyes"

When Jesus drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying,

"Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.

"For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Lk 19.41-44)

Even Jesus was not able to save the city, the whole community he was sent to save. He grieved this. Only the few who followed him got to experience the new life he had invited all God's people into, the rest fell to their enemies—enemies they had made because they did not know "the things that make for peace."


I made this into a card for my mother...


a broken spirit

I changed my mind about worship this Sunday. I think instead I'll focus on repentance, using Psalms 50 and 51, emphasizing "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

And I might as well use some Taizé songs for my last time leading. I haven't used this one before, and it goes well with the broken spirit part: Beati voi poveri


a dialogue

We spent a day in the cabin in the woods, to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. It's a little tradition that started with our honeymoon in that cabin. And while we were there, enjoying the quiet, Heather worked on a poem that came out quite well:

Dawn opens silent as a bloom
Above the gutted house, its dark
Bones crisscrossed in the lucent air.
The phoebe sings. Which of our hearts
Can drink this young wind sweet as wine
And not taste bitter ashes? See:
All that our hands have built is tinder
For the flame. So it must be.

The phoebe sings, and flicks her tail.
Her eggs will hatch this year. Seeds wake
Beneath the blackened ground; the grass
Will rise, the fireweed and the creeper take
The ruin, wrap it thick with life.
Know this: each day (though all may burn)
Beneath the faithful sun ten thousand
Trees are born. The earth returns.

No. What is lost, is lost. The black
Beams wrapped in their green vines will fall,
And will not rise, though spring should wake
The dead. Some are asleep. Not all.
The green heart will not beat again
In brittle saplings, winter cracked;
Dead limbs that hang like bones from broken
Trees. Don't tell us it comes back.

You do not know what lies behind
My door. Where sings the fallen bird,
Where stand the shattered, crafted beams,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard.
The world's tale runs through the years:
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
But all your tears are safe within
My bottle. All is held in trust.