Monday, April 25, 2011

My church's Easter sermon this year (sourced from


re there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

The Easter sermon of John Chrysostom (circa 400 AD)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A poem for Lent: Last 25 parts (LXXVI-C)


Hadley bulges into Connecticut,
Blowing bubbles into the river
Beneath the bridge under the same sky.

The café, the bus stops, the mall
And the old farms and farm stores
The Agway, the passing artery
Of the throbbing Interstate, rejoicing.

A better person stands on the bales of hay
In Hadley’s fields in the late summer, but here
At the beginning of spring, snow still crusted
Dirtily under bushes and in the shady spots
Of buildings, there is not yet goodness here.

Yet no evil, rather a pre-Adamite furry sense
Of being in a honey-coloured world, the glasses
The colour of jade, colour of ancient Emperors’
Desire for an eternal life in an unchanging world
Without point or postulate, not yet affixed to the face
And so there can be no evil at such a time in any case.

The cows flick their tails in this unimagined springtime
Their fuzzy minds, identifiable as psychology but too far
In the state of innocentia veritas to genuinely interpret
Falling to thoughts—or thought-like objects—of dimly
Remembered warmth from a forgotten summertime.

Lordly, shining in that crevasse of worldliest existence
Town and country inseparable stand strung out along the road
Something true and proper and eternal, protected and fought for
Greater than business, greater than trade or anything, just here.

The words of this world are short as they spread across the sky
Ideal words, a simpler kotoba mot lexe wort woord parola slovo
Polyglot of the air, polyglot of the river, polyglot of the whole earth.


Lord God of Hosts of Montague
Steered us good and right and true
Through lands of paper and lands of pen
Until we reached true Home again.
The words upon a yellowed page
Do not fear the tyrant’s rage.
A binding, though without fresh paste
Leads not our minds to foolish haste.
Covers of leather roughened and worn
Cannot mistake when they were born.
Pulp stretched out in its drying-frame
Will never throw calumnious blame.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Confessions of a religious-leftist

I don't ENJOY identifying as progressive/liberal. I really don't. I have very serious and basic disagreements with the fundamental view/views of existence (secular, rationalistic, et cetera) on which most people who share my policy positions seem to base them. I'm lonely.

'People may not believe it but I advise you all to check your Bibles more closely. God mandates this [radical redistribution of wealth] in Amos and most of the minor Prophets, as well as by implication in Jeremiah, in the Synoptic Gospels, and even in Leviticus 25. It was good for Paul and Silas and it is good enough for me. It is good enough for America, too.'

This is how I debate with radical libertarians.

'God is Love and Love is Justice. Justice entails dealing fairly in human affairs, not denying people the rights that you would not have them deny you. Love is so fundamental that the right to civil recognition of romantic commitment regardless of sex (as civil recognition of familial and professional commitment pays no regard to sex) can be counted a basic human right. And ‘to turn aside human rights before the face of the Most High, to subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not’ (Lamentations 3.35-6). God is Love, God is the source of love, God is concurrent to love, and any love that does not destroy the lovers flows from God and is with Divine blessings. If it is love, and if it is beautiful, is all that matters. In love the moral becomes the aesthetic, the aesthetic the moral. God did not institute the fact of love for some brute material teleology like sex and reproduction. God instituted the fact of love because He is Love. In the end nobody is free from experience; all our experiences are the same, so please don't be cruel.'

This is how I explain my support for gay marriage.

It's not always easy to hold what is fundamentally an un-Enlightenment (not anti-Enlightenment, simply un-) view of the world in a political culture that still thinks that John Locke was a pretty swell guy (and not one of the founding fathers of the Atlantic Slave Trade and an all-around bastard who got off on the thought of genocide in the name of white people's so-called 'private property' rights). In fact it's typically extremely difficult whenever discussion turns from policy issues to the underlying philosophy. I don't know what to do. I'm starting to think that because I'm in a minority therefore I must be wrong.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A poem for Lent: parts LI-LXXV of probably around a hundred and ten or so, more or less


Just being here
Just under the same
            sky, sleeping
here, our existence
            flourishing, gives us
A second point to move on.

Love itself
Taking the form of a
            reading from the books
of fate, is lifeblood
            pulsing, in an eternal rush
Within vividly carnelian veins.

The whole world
Amorous and ambiguous
            squeals, its voice
resounding over rock and
            flood, taking a point
Drawing it out for a hundred years.


In elation, the lights go out
The colours come out after
            the fall, before the spring
            that yet begins, its light
            greenness blinking.
Over the parks and pales
Light greens and delicate
            reds, making worlds
            out of dull understanding
            bring it all on by.
In a desirous sort of culture
Wanting is the nature of feeling
            really here, wanting
            all manner of things
            and loves in the breast.
The fir tree shakes in the spring rain.