I believe the Bible to be a progressive revelation that should be read like a novel. A novel is a love story that is best understood if read in sequence from beginning to end. Some readers believe the Bible’s words and their syllables should be taken literally.
I doubt that any readers of this blog hold the Bible in such high regard. Most of us tend to be like Joyce. If confronted with the story that God told Joshua to commit genocide she declares flatly that she doesn’t believe it.
The Bible starts with the simple assertion that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. So some readers accept the notion that God created everything in only six days. They are inclined to believe that the God of the Bible knows everything, can do anything, is everywhere and is filled with grace as the final judge. Thus, if all this be true, the Bible’s God may be considered the Greatest Genius of all geniuses.
Let me confess that I do not have the benefit of formal theological training so I may have developed some unusual theological concepts.
At the last Men’s Fellowship at CMC, a brother who has the training that I lack said to me with a smile that he prefers to call me an Old Genius, not an Old Fool. I laughed with him.
As I read the Bible I understand that its Genius-like God is filled with an indescribable grace and sometimes does what appears to me to be foolish mistakes.
The Genius of the Bible created a man and woman in his/her image. They, and we, being in the image of a Genius who does foolish things, do likewise. So, I will continue to joyously claim Old Fool as a moniker and unashamedly add the moniker of Old Genius as my friend suggests.
I began the Ode to The Fool by assuming myself to be a king in whose court there is a FOOL. I describe him in the words that follow:
In my court is one
better than I,
braver than I,
more affectionate than I,
more humorous than I,
and in wisdom, wiser than I.
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Fannie, A Greencrotf bird and I
I’m not sure when I first thought of life as a pilgrimage. I remember that early on in life I became aware of the writing of John Bunyan, the author of the classic Pilgrims Progress. Among the education materials that were left behind by former workers of the Ida St. Mission in Tampa was a flannel Graph version of the story of Pilgrims Progress for children. I made use of those simple materials to tell Bunyon’s old story to the children who came to mission sponsored activities. I’m uncertain how effective it was.
A copy of Bunyon’s Pilgrim Progress that is on my Kindle refreshes my memory. The pilgrim’name was Christian. He made progress as long as he kept his goal fixed in his mind. First he was to go toward a light shown to him by a man named Evangelist. The light guided him to a small gate that opened to a straight and narrow way which if followed would take him to the Celestial City. If I were younger (or older) I would be tempted to update Bunyon’s book with one of my own.
Instead, I will pursue my own pilgrimage through Greencroft. Traditional pilgrimages usually have a geographic and sacred goal. One of the more famous is to Santiago de Compostela described as the crown jewel of Spanish walking trails. It began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw travelers to Northwestern Spain. For the website of a guide on the pilgrimage click here.
On a door in Manor III
My own undertaking is less ambitious yet guides are needed. Many people unfamiliar with the Greencroft’s Goshen campus get lost sometimes. Click here for an introduction. You will notice that it is more than one community. But I will limit my pilgrimage to the one here in Goshen. I am just at the first stage but I already find it to be warming and enlightening.
For any who think this a foolish venture I must remind you that I am a fool who follows a FOOL I hope to say more about this in coming blogs.
This FOOL displays
a wisdom so wise as to appear foolish,
a strength so strong as to seem weak,
and a love so steadfast as to be absurd.
I’ve learned a new word: Ecotopia is a name for a fertile edge that lies between a forest and a meadow. It is a metaphor for many “fertile edges” that lie between disparate situations.
I am discovering a Ecotopia as I live on the fertile edge between my remembered time of 91 years and the unknown future. On my bucket list is a wish to walk the halls and byways of Greencroft on a pilgrimage to bless others and me. Last evening I pursued the pilgrimage and paused at the doors of Manor III to think well of its residents. The three pictures in this blog appear on resident’s door in Manor III.
To illustrate the use of ecotopia as a metaphor consider Otakara Klette who chooses to live on the edge when she respects modern medicine and listens to the whispers she hears from deep within her body. She believes Hippocrates the founder of modern medicine who wrote that “Natural force within us are the true healers of disease.” Otakara aims to help us unlock our self-healing mechanism. Click to hear a you tube on “hear your body whisper.” by Otakara. Mind you, Otakara doesn’t deny a role for modern medicine. But, in my opinion, she may have discovered a fertile edge between her creative imagination and modern medicine.
Jarem Sawatsky thrives on the Ecotopia between life and death with the reality of being a victim of Huntingtons disease which he describes as an incurable, genetic, progressive, fatal brain disease, a kind of combination of Parkinson”s, Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia. Sawatsky accepts his situation to be a fertile space in which he has helped produce and edit Voices of Harmony and Dissent: How Peacebuilders are Transforming Their Worlds. he has helped compile a Peacebuilders’ Toolbox: 52 Online Resources for Peace Work. To pursue this Ecotopia click here.
Hauahaus and Coles are professors at Duke University. Through interaction with their students the two professors found a fertile edge between evangelical theology and liberal democracy that produces what they call a “radical ordinary”. I have not read the book to the end, but I believe that such phenomena exist. To join in the conversation on the radical ordinary between the professors click here.
I am a king of small domain and free therein to be a fool.
I don’t deny it, I am a fool.