Apricots

Apricots

This week the apricots are ripening. I’m not the only one to have noticed—the crows, and another Aussie bird I haven’t identified yet, are eager to get their share of the harvest. I can’t begrudge them too much: unlike the tomatoes and the strawberries, the pumpkin and the cucumber that are growing in the vegetable patch, I haven’t labored over this fruit tree. It was here when we came, planted, cared for, and pruned by others more diligent and experienced…

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Thinking for oneself

Thinking for oneself

To think independently of other human beings is impossible, and if it were possible it would be undesirable. Thinking is necessarily, thoroughly, and wonderfully social. Everything you think is a response to what someone has thought and said. And when people commend someone for “thinking for herself” they usually mean “ceasing to sound like people I dislike and starting to sound more like people I approve of.” This is a point worth dwelling on. How often do we say “she…

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Letter on Being Dialogic

Letter on Being Dialogic

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to write a post for a friend’s blog. Since its birth earlier this year, the blog and associated Facebook page have occupied a good deal of my thought life, as I’ve read and responded to some of what’s been written and shared. I’m grateful for it, particularly as I seem to disagree much more often than I agree. Most of what I read online and in print are from people I…

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Advent reflection: Mary

Advent reflection: Mary

The idea of reputation has been on my mind recently, and, with Advent also on my mind, I thought of Mary. One of the strongest temptations we face as image-bearers is the pursuit of selfish quests for glory. I am often filled with desire, fear, and ambition, all related to how others think of me. Yet Mary, when Gabriel comes to her, disregards this concern. His prophecy spells immediate shame for her, a virgin. Perhaps later, in the stillness left…

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Poem

Poem

  It’s when we face for a moment the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know the taint in our own selves, that awe cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart: not to a flower, not to a dolphin, to no innocent form but to this creature vainly sure it and no other is god-like, God (out of compassion for our ugly failure to evolve) entrusts, as guest, as brother, the Word. Denise Levertov, “On the Mystery…

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