Saturday, January 07, 2012


It goes without saying.

What an opening phrase ! Even against such classics as In the beginning was the Word or Call me Ishmael it bravely stakes its paradoxical claim, begging us to interrogate the It goes even as we enter the wordless silence to which it points.

In winter the weeds go without saying, pod by pod, stem by stem, into the ground. Some are pulled rudely into a kind of saying by my and my camera's eye. There is a transaction, an exchange, a conversation even; one could anthropomorphize it, and try to apply the lesson to the inscrutable and exasperating dynamics of that activity called "prayer." But, by and large -- how do I know this ? -- the weeds prefer silence. Just as the weedily anthropomorphized Ground of Being may also prefer silence.

Anonymity, solitude and silence -- I have come to understand that the whole project and ground of organized religion is based on states that are antithetical to these three most congenial ones: personal relationship, community, speech and text. Christianity, in particular, traffics in symbols, analogies and metaphors that are, like it's central Incarnate Word, human, and, moreover, human-in-relationship, -in-community, -in-history, -in-society.

To be alienated from these is to be alienated from God, which is, by definition, sin.

Outer darkness.

Maybe Christianity is not the best arena in which to work out one's neuralgic relationship with the great that there is something rather than nothing.

Christianity looks back, contemptuous, and says:

Who the hell knows. You're wasting your time and mine. Here are some pretty stories about it. Try to ignore the sexist and imperial language. Now go out and love your neighbor as yourself.

Oh, and by the way, don't forget that extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

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