Thursday, June 28, 2012


From the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night, we race from place to place and from one obligation to the next.... When we submit to this sort of schedule we are consenting to cultural patterns long in the making, patterns that have become so ingrained that we accept them as normal and thus beyond question or critique. But is it normal to think that our pace of life should be one that leads to exhaustion, hypertension, anxiety, boredom, and despair?

Norman WirzbaLiving the Sabbath

Negative theology

Negative theology is not dressed up Buddhism. It is the necessary anesthesia of Christian theological work - quieting the mind so that God can get on with the surgery of the soul. What theologically inclined folk need most is not the next great book, but someone to tell them that compared to the spiritual life, mastering the most advanced theological concepts, including their Greek, Latin, Syriac or German nuances, is a piece of cake. “Those who have been most enlightened by the Holy Spirit,” writes Thomas Dubay, “are the least inclined to consider this enlightenment easy to come The Power of Negative Thinking

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The values of drinking

The third place tavern combines drinking with conversation such that each improves the other.  The talking/drinking synergism is basic to the pub ... The art of drinking is not acquired with the purchase of Old Mr. Boston's guide to mixing drinks.  It is learned in the company of those who combine moderate intake with scintillating conversation, for just as conversation is enhanced by the temperate use of alcohol, the artful and witty game of conversation moderates consumption of liquor.

Ray Oldenburg
The Great Good Place

Be merry!

Intriguing piece of advice from Luther...

Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: "do not drink," answer him: "I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


God makes wine.  For all its difficulties, there is no way around the doctrine of creation.  But notice the tense:  He makes; not made.  He did not create once upon a time, only to find himself saddled now with the unavoidable and embarrassing result of that first rash decision.... It was St. Thomas, I think, who pointed out long ago that if God wanted to get rid of the universe, He would not have to do anything; He would have to stop doing something.  Wine is -- the fruit of the vine stands in act, outside of nothing -- because it is His very present pleasure to have it so.  The creative act is contemporary, intimate, and immediate to each part, parcel and period of the world.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


George MacDonald's dedication to his father, in his first volume of Poems (1857):

Thou hast been faithful to my highest need:
And I, thy debtor, ever, evermore,
Shall never feel the grateful burden sore,
Yet most I thank thee, not for any deed,
But for the sense thy living self did breed
That fatherhood is at the world's great core.

quoted in George MacDonald and His Wife, by Greville MacDonald, pg 31

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Vespers sometimes finds us at the neighborhood bar, a little place attached to the beautifully renovated historic theatre.  Here we pass the peace in the form of conversation or euchre, over a Michigan microbrew or a favorite bourbon or, on a very special occasion, a local whiskey with innumerable layers to its complex, north-woods personality.  As opposed to drinking to forget ourselves by drowning our worries in the cheapest anesthesia, at our best, we are drinking to remember: to remember the value of lifelong friendship, to remember the astounding creativity of human beings with such stuff of earth as hops and grapes, to remember what it feels like to be loved.

Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma"Drinking to remember" from catapult magazine