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2009

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From Twelfth Month, 2009:

Kids of the World Unite, by carf on flickr

—image found on David Truss' blog,
Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts: Reflections on Education, Technology and Learning
"Who Have You Helped Today?"—Developing Empathy


From Eleventh Month, 2009:

[no entry]


From Tenth Month, 2009:

My proposal is that justice and love are a dialectic—like two sides of a coin that can be distinguished but not separated.

We think of ourselves as composed of body and soul, or flesh and spirit. When they are separated, we have a physical corpse.

Similarly with distributive justice and communal love. Justice is the body of love, love the soul of justice. When they are separated, we have a moral corpse.

Justice without love is brutality. Love without justice is banality. (190)

—John Dominic Crossan,
God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now
(New York, NY: Harper Collings Publishers, 2007)

From Ninth Month, 2009:

Mother Theresa was once asked if she prayed.

“Oh, yes,” she said.

“To whom?”

“To God.”

“And what do you ask for?”

“Oh, I don’t ask. I just listen.”

“And what does God say.”

“Oh, God just listens too.”


From Eighth Month, 2009:

The Silence
by Wendel Berry

Though the air is full of singing
my head is loud
with the labor of words.

Though the season is rich
with fruit, my tongue
hungers for the sweet of speech.

Though the beech is golden
I cannot stand beside it
mute, but must say

"It is golden," while the leaves
stir and fall with a sound
that is not a name.

It is in the silence
that my hope is, and my aim.
A song whose lines

I cannot make or sing
sounds menís silence
like a root. Let me say

and not mourn: the world
lives in the death of speech
and sings there.

—Wendell Berry,
in Collected Poems of Wendell Berry
(New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1987)


From Seventh Month, 2009:

People who know know nothing of God and whose lives are centered on themselves, imagine that they can only find themselves by asserting their own desires and ambitions and appetites in a struggle with the rest of the world.

They try to become real by imposing themselves on other people, by appropriating for themselves some share of the limited supply of created goods and thus emphasizing the difference between themselves and the other men who have less than they, or nothing at all.

They can only conceive one way of becoming real: cutting themselves off from other people and building a barrier of contrast and distinction between themselves and other men.

They do not know that reality is to be sought not in division but in unity, for we are "members one of another."

The man who lives in division is not a person but only an "individual."

—Thomas Merton,
New Seeds of Contemplation
(Boston, MA: Shambala Publications, Inc, 2003, 1961, pp.49-50)

From Fifth Month, 2009:

Finally, When Confucius spoke, he did not address himself directly to the issue. "You know, when I was fifteen I set my heart upon learning . At thirty, I had my feet planted firmly in the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from... perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of heaven. At sixty, I submitted to them. Now I am in my seventieth year."

The master looked at the edge of the mat on which he was seated. Carefully, he smoothed out a wrinkle that was imperceptible to us. Then he looked up. "I am in my seventieth year," he repeated. "I can follow the dictates of my own heart because what I desire no longer oversteps the boundaries of what is right."

—Narrated by Cyrus Spitama,
fictional grandson of Zoroaster, in Gore Vidal's Creation
(New York, NY: Vintage Press, Random House, Inc., 2002, 1981, p.461)


From Fourth Month, 2009:

Madeleine L'Engle says we do not convince others by telling them loudly how wrong they are and how right we are. We convince them by showing them a light so lovely they will want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

Following a Leading, from Heron Dance

—Bill Kreidler, "Following a Leading,"
Friends General Conference Gathering in 1994,
quoted in Heron Dance


From Third Month, 2009:

Those with power and stability can substitute "toleration" for a more challenging and liberating love that is willing to listen deeply not only to the nice commonalities but to the scary differences between us. There is a difference between maintaining a polite peace of the powerful and engaging in the difficult work of living in a pluralistic Society.

[One] of the members of our meeting said that our meeting practices love by "tolerating" our differences.

Toleration is a poor substitute for love.

—A Friend on QuakerQuaker.org


From Second Month, 2009:

The U.S. military’s practice of targeting low-income youth and students of color for recruitment, in combination with exaggerated promises of financial rewards for enlistment, undermines the voluntariness of their enlistment.

A provision of the federal No Child Left Behind Act forces schools to open their doors to recruiters and provide the military with students’ information to undergo recruitment without parents’informed consent.

Heavy-handed recruitment tactics and misconduct by recruiters often render recruitment involuntary, and despite government and media reports documenting misconduct in recruitment of prospective enlistees under the age of 18, protections for students against abusive recruitment tactics remain weak.

Recruiters threaten serious penalties to 17-year-old youth who have signed Deferred Entry contracts and subsequently changed their minds about enlisting, in some cases forcing these youth to report to basic training against their will. (3, emphases added)

American Civil Liberties Union,
Soldiers of Misfortune: Abusive U.S. Military Recruitment
and Failure to Protect Child Soldiers

(5/13/2008 - available as a PDF,
requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


From First Month, 2009:

Iris chrysographes

The Creation of the Inaudible

Maybe no one can distinguish which voice
Is god’s voice sounding in a summer dusk
Because he calls with the same rising frequency,
The same rasp and rattling rustle the cicadas use
As they cling to the high leaves in the glowing
Dust of the oaks.

His exclamations might blend so precisely with the final
Crises of the swallows settling before dark
That no one will ever be able to say with certainty,
”That last long cry winging over the rooftop
Came from god.“

Breathy and low, the vibrations of his nightly
Incantations could easily be masked by the scarcely
Audible hush of the lakeline dealing with the rocky shore,
And when a thousand dry sheaths of rushes and thistles
Stiffen and shiver in an autumn wind, anyone can imagine
How quickly and irretrievably his whisper might be lost.

Someone faraway must be saying right now:
The only unique sound of his being
Is the spoken postulation of his unheard presence.

For even if he found the perfect chant this morning
And even if he played the perfect strings to accompany it,
Still, no one could be expected to know,
Because the blind click beetle flipping in midair,
And the slider turtle easing through the black iris bog,
And two savannah pines shedding dawn in staccato pieces
Of falling sun are already engaged in performing
The very same arrangement themselves.

—Pattiann Rogers,
“The Creation of the Inaudible”
from Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems
(Minneapolis, Minn.: Milkweed Editions, 2005)



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