“I can be in error, but I cannot be a heretic, because the first belongs to the intellect, the second to the will.”
“What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.”
– Mary Oliver, from the poem “I Looked Up”.
Moses understands, as do the prophets after him, that being in the land poses for Israel a conflict between two economic systems, each of which views the land differently. On the one hand, the land is regarded as property and possession to be bought and sold and traded and used. On the other hand, in a context of covenant, the land is a birthright and an inheritance, one’s own land as a subset of the larger inheritance of the whole people of God. If the land is possession, then the proper way of life is to acquire more. If the land is inheritance, then the proper way of life is to enhance the neighborhood and the extended family so that all members may enjoy the good produce of the land.
– Walter Breuggemann, in Sabbath As Resistance.
Land as inheritance versus land as possession. Commodity versus covenant. Think Wendell Berry. This is the one perspective the environmental movement has right. Then, of course, they immediately begin advocating for state controls over property in order to impose, by law, the right spiritual perspective.
I do feel this lack every day: the lack of a home, in the form of a patch of land inherited from my family with the marks everywhere of my ancestors’ work. A farm, I suppose, which is nothing but a worked garden. Land with real trees and a wet stream and fields moving in real winds. Modernity needs mobility. And the price is home.
“Grace perfects nature rather than destroying it.”
“I am like you, curious and small. Like you, I pause alertly and open my senses to try to read the air, the clouds, the sun’s slant, the little movements of the animals, all in the hope I will learn the secret of whether I am loved.”
In her book, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, Louise Erdrich.
We sometimes hear it said that Jesus was just a teacher full of punchy aphorisms and turns of phrase: a mystic who wandered around saying nice things about the niceness of being Nice. But his stupid disciples, being 2000 years stupider than Extremely Clever Us, managed to completely misunderstand him and construct an elaborate religion around him that he absolutely never intended. It’s a narrative in which our culture places an extraordinary amount of faith — far more faith, in fact, than the Christian story requires, since the Christian story does not require us to believe in absolutely ridiculous claims about human psychology that nobody would ever advance for one second were it not for the special need to debunk Christianity.
—Mark Shea, ‘Palm Sunday’