Morning cuddles

Morning cuddles

My loves.

My loves.

In any event, I feel that there is a great deal of joy in my work of the past ten years, but I do get letters from people telling me to ditch the sackcloth and ashes, and I get tired of my own grimace in mirrors. Can one really just decide to be more joyful, though? One aspect of joy is the suspension of will—the obliteration of will, really—though probably there is an element of discipline in being prepared for joy, just as there is in being prepared for poetry. “Iridescent readiness,” W. S. Di Piero calls it. And there are these lines from Richard Wilbur:

Try to remember this: what you project
Is what you will perceive; what you perceive
With any passion, be it love or terror,
May take on whims and powers of its own.

The thing is, we are always going to feel God’s absence more than his presence. We are always going to feel the imprint and onslaught of necessity, which is the crucifixion, more than we feel the release and freedom of pure joy, which is the resurrection. The first we experience; the second, even when it emerges out of experience, we believe. In that tiny gap of grammar is an abyss of difference. Suffering we know and share intimately with Christ (it’s how we bear it). Faith and hope are always imaginative—that is to say, projective—acts: “Tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.”

Christian Wiman in a Commonweal Magazine interview: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/being-prepared-joy

A beautiful read for your Easter Sunday with one of my favorite poets, Christians, and thinkers.

Good Friday libations. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. 

Rating: a disappointing 88.

Good Friday libations. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA.

Rating: a disappointing 88.

Just as we were all, potentially, in Adam when he fell, so we were all, potentially, in Jerusalem on that first Good Friday before there was an Easter, a Pentecost, a Christian, or a Church. It seems to me worth while asking ourselves who we should have been and what we should have been doing. None of us, I’m certain, will imagine himself as one of the Disciples, cowering in an agony of spiritual despair and physical terror. Very few of us are big wheels enough to see ourselves as Pilate, or good churchmen enough to see ourselves as a member of the Sanhedrin. In my most optimistic mood I see myself as a Hellenized Jew from Alexandria visiting an intellectual friend. We are walking along, engaged in philosophical argument. Our path takes us past the base of Golgotha. Looking up, we see an all-too-familiar sight — three crosses surrounded by a jeering crowd. Frowning with prim distaste, I say, “It’s disgusting the way the mob enjoy such things. Why can’t the authorities execute criminals humanely and in private by giving them hemlock to drink, as they did with Socrates?” Then, averting my eyes from the disagreeable spectacle, I resume our fascinating discussion about the nature of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

W.H. Auden, A Certain World

via More than 95 Theses

How spectacular and amazing is it that we have a satellite (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) taking pictures of a rover (Mars Curiosity Rover) on the surface of Mars?

You can see the tracks of the rover enter in the top left corner, winding down to just below and left of the center, where the little blue SUV size rover sits.

Amazing.

How spectacular and amazing is it that we have a satellite (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) taking pictures of a rover (Mars Curiosity Rover) on the surface of Mars?

You can see the tracks of the rover enter in the top left corner, winding down to just below and left of the center, where the little blue SUV size rover sits.

Amazing.

"And it is this “joy inexpressible” that has (ideally) surrounded celebrations of the Lord’s Supper since its inception. Not because of what it is in itself—a bit of bread, a sip of wine—but because of what it communicates to the faithful who are surrounded around it and united in Jesus’ name, the one that has gripped emperors and laborers and artists and doctors, people from the east to the west, the message that Jesus Christ has come not to condemn the world, but to save it. This is the resounding clapper of the “one, holy and apostolic bell.” It is the mallet that was struck against the hearts of the first people to be grasped by its message and that which has resonated from every table and Eucharistic celebration at every corner of the world. Like the Psalmist who cries out with amazement that he has been shown mercy, we can celebrate the undeserved gift of being able to lift up the cup of salvation the Lord’s Supper, confidently proclaiming his death until he comes again.

This is the resounding message that never changes, one that we, like people throughout the ages, have come to time and time again with different longings, fears, expectations and concerns and yet, we leave with the solid, unchanging, resounding blow: this is my body, broken for you, this is my blood, shed for you, this is my life, poured out for you. Ring them bells, indeed.”

via Mockingbird

What We Want/What We Get: Imagination and Holy Week

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. they forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(via beingblog)

A cellared 2008 Shlafly Reserve imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.
Rating: 86

A cellared 2008 Shlafly Reserve imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Rating: 86

Where Peter Chang Cooks, They Will Follow

Left unsaid in this only moderately-researched article is that Charlottesville, VA is actually lucky enough to have two of the Chang-initiated restaurants. Peter Chang’s China Grill, of course, but also his “original” Taste of China that received so much attention from The New Yorker several years ago. He is no longer associated with it, but the menu continues to have his specialties (the fish rolls, the dry fried eggplant, the bubble pancakes and the hot pots, etc) and, to my opinion, prepares them better than the China Grill. 

Either way - how fortunate to have this in a city of 40k in the middle of the Va Piedmont?

A cellared 2010 Allagash Fluxus. Stout brewed with cacao nibs. 

Rating: 88 - a little old. Nice nonetheless.

A cellared 2010 Allagash Fluxus. Stout brewed with cacao nibs.

Rating: 88 - a little old. Nice nonetheless.

Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour Belgian-style stout. 

Really well done. Impressed with their barrel series stuff

Rating: 89

Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour Belgian-style stout.

Really well done. Impressed with their barrel series stuff

Rating: 89

A nice, newly available IPA from Three Notched Brewing. Located about 1/4 mile from my office. 

Rating: 82

A nice, newly available IPA from Three Notched Brewing. Located about 1/4 mile from my office.

Rating: 82