God’s Grandeur

Guest Post

By Jeanne Murray Walker

I’m up at 5:30 in the morning, packing, then gazing out the window at Whidbey Island as I wait for a pick-up. Wind rattles the cold panes. Behind me, a fire flares in the fireplace. This weekend I have been staying at Camp Casey, a WWII military base, now home to birds and a herd of black-tailed deer.

A gathering of painters, composers, theologians, environmentalists, and poets from all over the country has spent the last two days, meeting here around the clock. We have shared our art with one another and considered, in this wild place, the predicament we have in common as citizens of the earth. We know beyond any doubt that we humans have damaged the planet. Polar ice is melting. The earth’s climate zones are suddenly shifting. Weather is veering toward violence. Sea levels are rising.

This is a scandal. It has happened on our watch.

We have spent hours talking about the central questions. After all, how was this planet created?  Evolution and the tenets of our faith, we agreed, are entirely compatible. We weighed the facts. Scientists and theologians, both, have written powerfully about their amazement at the record of the universe, about life on this planet. They see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution.

[Read more...]

Margaret and the Blight Man Was Born for

Near the end of Kenneth Lonergan’s film, Margaret, a seventeen-year-old girl sits next to her mother in a theater, watching a duet from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman.

The voices of two opera singers climb toward each other from opposite sides of the stage—rising in their plaints like two vines, hoping to unite in an arch above. The girl’s attention is rapt, her face straining at the union aspired for.

But then the singers fall back, collapsing in a cascade of defeat. The voices seem to mourn their loss—not only of the other, but also of themselves, as though in this failure to join they have discovered their own transience.

At that moment, the girl in the audience breaks loose in a storm of grief. She grasps for her mother, who grasps for her, and the spectacle all around them rings to a close. [Read more...]


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