Saturday, August 20, 2011

Luther on worldly wisdom

I found this on the blog of a Reformed fellow which I have recently enjoyed reading. Among other reasons, the author of this blog is clever for nabbing the URL "" Nice.

The quotation:

“If it were a matter of harmonizing [faith and reason], then we wouldn’t keep a single article of faith. My dear fellow! If God is almighty, how can one make sense out of the fact that he doesn’t punish evil, but rather lets it happen? Either he mustn’t be able to punish and resist every evil, or he mustn’t want to do it. If he doesn’t want to punish it, then surely he’s a rogue; but if he cannot punish it, then he’s not almighty as God ought to be. And now make sense out of this: the highest Wisdom behaves as if it were ignorance, and the highest Might as if it were impotent. You won’t find even a Turk who could make sense out of that! And this is why wise people…come to the logical conclusion that there is no God at all.”

Martin Luther, Sermon 8 after Trinity; Torgau, 1531; quoted in Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord, volume 1, p. 47.

It isn't for lack of demonstrable proof that men reject the existence of God, nor is it on account of a preponderance of the same that they believe in and confess Christ as Lord.


Friday, August 19, 2011


One of these days,
We will have to do
This and such.
We will have to go
Thus and so.

But days end, and time runs out.
We don't have an infinite supply
Of sometimes. And it's too bad
That we don't, because I have a
Feeling that I won't want to do
This and such, or go thus and so
Without you.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Non-Euclidean Geometry

Euclid Avenue runs
The shortest distance
To the bus-stop
Through a forest of
Ginkgo trees:
A straight line from
Columbia to 16th.

It's a sparse forest.
You see more buildings
Than you do trees.
In fact, most would say
That this is not a forest,
But a neighborhood
In northwest D.C.

But do not be deceived:
It's a forest,
And I'm not doing geometry,
I'm hiking.


(Untitled 1) -- started in Redondo Beach, CA; finished in Washington, D.C.

Image by Robert Altman.

When you pray, pray like this:
Always as a brother of Our Lord,
Addressing Our Father.
Not in floods of mighty words,
Not mindful of unworthiness,
Of burdens all one's own, but of
Truth concealed behind
An amber glass.
The former things, the worrying --
They all, they all will pass.

So must we all. Remember:
We all flourish for a time,
And in such timebound thriving
Is all Man's transience shown.

So do not fear the once-dying,
And do not flee the elemental
Burning of the mundane tangle:
Across this earthly valley hangs
The loom on which our tapestry
Is stretched, the tapestry of all flesh.

Bent metallic souls we are, we frame
This too too solid cloth whose warp hangs
Lichen-like, unbeautiful,
Pulled by gravity towards
Earth's infernal core.
Our waning tensile strength
Portends collapse; so, too, the
Red hot, singeing shuttle
Whose darting course unknits
Mortal canopies.

Between, among, throughout the motes
Of purgatorial flame and smoke,
Descry the Weaver's hands which ply
Pig-iron souls and tattered strands.
Persist, abide in Job-like faith.
Recall, too, the sometimes-theologian,
Who -- young in name if not in age --
Turned an accidental holy phrase:
"It's better to burn out," he said,
"Than fade away."


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Buffet About

                                         for this guy:

His dark brown leather boat shoes
Aren't old enough to be cool.
He wears a screen-print tee that
Remembers Margaritaville and kindly
Reminds us lookers-on that
It's five o'clock somewhere.

Five-day beard, cargo-shorts and
A ball-cap that enjoins us to "live simply."
Black Mercedes S-class? Unexpected.
I'd like to salute him, and salute his kind, too:
The good old boys who probably drink
Whiskey and rye, who don't want the music to die.

(I'd like to apologize, too, for the profile
He just now inspired while walking by,
Pit-stopping for a cup of

Though my shutter flicks slower than a camera's,
And my words are fewer than its thousand,
This stenograph is just as much a snapshot,
Maybe just as little. Judging from what I know,
And what I don't, I'd say he'll do just fine.
Come five o'clock, he'll be somewhere else.