Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Geroge Herbert, "Easter Wings" (poem)

Easter Wings
from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert

The same poem turned about on itself
forms a pair of wings

 The poem is usually printed in modern anthologies as seen above. In the 1633 edition. the poem is printed as seen in the scanned copy below, making it look more like its title.

For a different placement here are copies of the Williams Manuscript
(also called MS. Jones B 62 in Dr. Williams Library)

The Bodleian MS (also called MS Tanner)
page 1 of "Easter-wings"

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George Herbert, The Priest to the Temple - http://www.ccel.org/ccel/herbert?show=worksBy

George Herbert - (1593-1633), Poet and divine

George Herbert was born to a noble family in Wales; his mother was patron to John Donne who dedicated his 'Holy Sonnets' to her. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where in 1620 he was elected to the prestigious post of Public Orator.

His first two sonnets were sent to his mother in 1610. On the theme that the love of God is a worthier subject for verse than the love of woman. They foreshadowed his future religious and poetic inclinations, but at first Herbert seemed bent on a secular career, much involved in court life and Member of Parliament for Montgomery in Wales from 1624-5. His only published verse during this period was in Greek and Latin, for formal occasions.

In 1627, however, he resigned as Orator and was ordained a priest, becoming rector at Bemerton in Wiltshire where he was noted for his diligence and humility, traits reflected in his poetry which also expresses the conflict between the religious and worldly life.

When he realized he was dying of consumption, he sent a collection of his poems in manuscript to his friend Nicholas Ferrar to judge whether to burn them or publish them. The result was The Temple, religious poems using common language and rhythms of speech, published to enormous popular acclaim and running to 13 editions by 1680.

Also published after his death, in 1652, was A Priest to the Temple: Or the Country Parson, his Character and Rule of Life homely, prose advice to country clerics.

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Related Criticism to Herbert's poem, "Easter Wings"

Joseph Addison, in The Spectator, No. 58, Monday, May 7, 1711, argued against ancient Greek poems in the shape of eggs, &c. as false wit. He continued:
Mr. Dryden hints at this obsolete kind of Wit [shaped poems] in one of the following Verses in his Mac Fleckno; which an English Reader cannot understand, who does not know that there are those little Poems abovementioned in the Shape of Wings and Altars.

       . . . Chuse for thy Command
Some peaceful Province in Acrostick Land;
There may'st thou Wings display, and Altars raise,
And torture one poor Word a thousand Ways. 
This Fashion of false Wit was revived by several Poets of the last Age, and in particular may be met with among Mr. Herbert's Poems; . . . .
Professor's rebuttal (without degrading Addison's perception or gift for expression):

When devices are dropped into/on to a work, they are just ornaments scattered on pseudo-art/kitsch (in this Addison rings true). When ornaments are integrated into the meaning of the work, they loose their ornamentation and become part of the meaning, working together in the poem. Herbert converted the use of popular devices and tricks of his day into his vision of the world, giving an understanding beyond the mundane. [In a similar way that God takes clay and makes something better out of it.] (JRA)

Art Student's Addenda:

This is the difference between Baroque and Classical Art. Baroque art is famous for its ornaments, but details support the concept of the work in Classical Art.

Music Student's Coda:

The history of music classes Bach as baroque, but his "ornaments" advance and echo the message of the piece and hold the entire work together. As Albert Schweitzer shows concerning the Preludes for Organ. In this way Bach was closer to the Classic Period than most give him credit.

The following is quoted "as is" from a University of Texas at Austin page no longer on the Internet:

Interchange 7 on
George Herbert

Herbert II

Leslie Barnett remarks on "Easter Wings":

"With thee
Let me combine,
And feel this day thy victories:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight on me."

I feel that this poem is saying that you can't just "create" someone then leave them on their own to grow. They will not grow into a strong person with good qualities. A person needs nurturing, love, and support before they can take "flight" on their own. the last line says this more directly, if he puts his wing just over the other persons then their strenght will push him to be strong and begin his own flight. The reference to the Lord's creation of man is only symbolic, I feel that he is speaking indirectly about parenting and society's affect on a person.

Cecile Coneway:
I do not understand what the last line ("Affliction shall advance the flight on me") is saying. How does affliction fit into it?

Todd Erickson:
Why is the reference to the Lord's creation only symbolic??

Colleen Ignacio:
Knowing Herbert, it was probably strictly about religion.

Leslie Barnett:
i think affliction means like friction, when the one wing moves and begins flight the other will recieve the initial push to do the same.

Todd Erickson:
Flight could have multiple meanings:
uplifting of spirit, or running away

Shannon Byrne:
I felt that he was talking about man and the creation. I thought he was saying that God created man and gave man everything, yet man "foolishly" lost what he gave and became more and more corrupt. The poet is asking for God to let him sing the Lord's praises and by so doing he will fall in the sight of others and this fall will enable him to be closer to God.

Todd Erickson:
Shannon why does he use 'fall'??? That sounds so counterproductive , when he's wanting to fly.

Alicia Lane Jones:
Correct me if I am wrong,however, if we look at the title, maybe THIS poem reflects the second coming of Christ - didn't that happen on Easter - or does easter refer to something else?

Kalisha James:
Affliction seems to mean some sort of punishment in this passage. It advancing the flight in me refers to punishment maybe leading the speaker to do right and therefore advancing his flight to heaven.

Shannon Byrne:
I thought affliction meant that if he is hurt by others because he is "flying" with God his "flight " will advance or his life will be happier.

Chad Dow:
I think that he is asking God to forgive him for all the wrong things he has done. He is simply wanting to be ackowledge by God and asking for help and strength to change and correct his life, so that he can sing wonderful praises up to God.

Jignesh Bhakta:
Alicia, you are right it is a poem of the second coming of Christ

Shannon Byrne:
I'm not really sure except maybe he means fall from the graces of society. Maybe he's thinking that if he follows God he will be persecuted.

Leslie Barnett:

another part that seems to support this interpretation would be:

"And still with sickness and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne."

it seems to be refering to societies tedency to shy away from those that need help the most. when someone looks sickly we don't want to help and that only makes it worse. agood example would be the homeless.

Xavier Alfaro:
colleen ....i agree, it had to be about religion. he must be casting a sermon down. the wings will only protect you for so long. soon you must make choices. make the right one or else. what the else is, i do not know

Kalisha James:
Alicia, I think you're onto something. Easter is about the rising of Christ. It coould, in fact be speaking of the second rising of Christ.

Shannon Byrne:
I think your right.

Jignesh Bhakta:
What is the deal with the shape of the poem?

Alicia Lane Jones:
you know when you are born you don't have any memory of God - it may take a while to find him again. Maybe this is saying that at his tender age he was foolish and not looking in the right places, but now he has found God and wants to fly

Todd Erickson:
wings wings

Chad Dow:
I think it is to symbolize the wings and the uplifiting flight the guy is about to go on.

Leslie Barnett:
i feel that in both "redemption" and this poem i failed to see the religious connections/interpretations but what shannon said about this poem and what we discussed in class do make sense.

Shannon Byrne:
wha does That I became most thinne mean?

Xavier Alfaro:
Alicia....you are getting pretty deep. I kind of agree though

Kalisha James:
Jignesh, I think the shape resembles a bird, possibly a dove. A dove is used a lot in the Bible to symbolize some sort of overcoming or redemption, the title does also have the word "wings" in it.

Cecile Coneway:
I thought the quote "And still with sickness and shame\Thou didst so punish sinne,\That I became\Most thinne" is illustrating God's way of letting people deal with their sins and suffer their consequences regardless of their physical state.

Leslie Barnett:
looking at your interpretation i think maybe he became thin because sin was punished with sickness and he was sinning by not believing or following?

Kalisha James:
Shannon, I know you asked Alicia, but i think of "thinne" meaning a moral thinness. Obviously the speaker has done some wrongs in order to be punished.

Shannon Byrne:
Is "Thinne" thin or thine

Colleen Ignacio:
I think in his own personal way, he's renewing his vows with God. Easter probably had something to do with it. He says: "My tender age in sorrow did beginne. . .that I became most thinne." He's remembering what part God plays in his life and wants to continue down that path.

Cecile Coneway:
Shannon: I think it's thin.

Xavier Alfaro:
i do to

Cecile Coneway:
It's kind of neat the way the poem's shape becomes the narrowest when it says "Most thinne".

Shannon Byrne:
If its moral thinness what do the lines before it mean

Alicia Lane Jones:
Do you all think thinne refers to thin or thine?

Leslie Barnett:
what is thine?

Xavier Alfaro:
thin. what's thine

Jignesh Bhakta:

Leslie Barnett:
oh, maybe most his?

Kalisha James:
Alicia, Are you saying that before we are born we know God, but when we are born we forget Him?

Shannon Byrne:
thine means that this poet is God's

Cecile Coneway:
Most his?

Leslie Barnett:
thy, thine

Alicia Lane Jones:
thine means yours

Vocal arrangement of Easter Wings (White, Medium-high voice and piano, 430-411 For Sale.)

Background: song of a true lark
Optional music: Welsh folksong "Rising of the Lark" arranged by Red Dragon

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