Saturday, January 23, 2010

The New Vision

What do I want? Well, I want the new vision (I would use this word only to myself),--the new vision fastened in the material world by style. the vision must be of the strength, variety, validity of life, implying the ethically good
--Thom Gunn, 1964
I do believe in poetry as an activity reflective of one's life at its fullest--not only reflective, but it actually can be one's life at its fullest.
--Thom Gunn, 1980
w/ thanks to Colm Tóibín for his review of At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Way to be Witnessed

“Christianity is something to do, not a philosophical puzzle. It comes about not when someone affirms a creedal proposition, but when someone does something. It is a way to be witnessed, not a proposition to be proven.”
John D. Caputo, How to Read Kierkegaard

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Everything is capable of renewal."

Christian faith in salvation and liberation is based on a fundamental conviction that nothing in the world is simply fated to be. there is nothing in the universe that simply cannot be helped. No evil is so impregnable as to be absolutely irremediable. Everything is capable of renewal, and the world is destined to realize the utopia of the reign of God.
--Leonardo Boff
w/ thanks to Don Beisswenger

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Don't-tell-me-you-believe-all-that-junk Literature

I've been checking out Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions anthology from the library over and over again for years, and I'm about halfway through it. I check it out today and see where some sweet, geek-kindred soul has affixed the above description to this durable old copy. Just wanted to record the blessed fact. The world feels richer already.
Published in 1967, it features Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard, Samuel R. Delaney, and numerous others (Ellison calls them all soothsayers). Isaac Asimov's foreword reminisces concerning those bygone days when science fiction was "don't-tell-me-you-believe-that-junk literature...don't-fill-your-mind-with-all-that-mush literature." It's as if they're all running a victory lap. Ellison's intro: "What you hold in your hands is more than a book. If we are lucky, it is a revolution." Color me now and forever a glad sucker for this kind of thing.
I'll look to lay down a review at some point.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Leonard Cohen on the State of Christianity

From an online chat...
Seth: You have such vivid Christian imagery in many of your songs,
and much of it is contrasted with the selfishness of the "modern"
individual. I was wondering what's your take on the state of
Christianity today?

Leonard Cohen: Dear Seth, I don't really have a 'take on the state
of Christianity.' But when I read your question, this answer came to
mind: As I understand it, into the heart of every Christian, Christ
comes, and Christ goes. When, by his Grace, the landscape of the heart becomes vast and deep and limitless, then Christ makes His abode in that graceful heart, and His Will prevails. The experience is recognized as Peace. In the absence of this experience much activity arises, divisions of every sort. Outside of the organizational enterprise, which some applaud and some mistrust, stands the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament, summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by dissolving itself in a radical confession of hospitality.