Thursday, December 06, 2007

Deal with it. Think about it.

"Deal with it. Think about it."*
Almost the exact words that a dear old pastor used to explain what "those old men" of the Council of Nicea handed us in 325 AD, a creed that is recited as though it were a theorem, yet in fact is a most puzzling poem. Of course a "youthful" me rebelled at the thought of sheepishly reciting anything that isn't "clear" and unambiguous and fact. He said it was the early Church Fathers way of saying that we too were to deal with what they were dealing with, so across the ages it is: "Deal with it. Think about it." A youthful me was disgusted by sheep. And now? Sheep compose most of the world. I've dealt with it. I've thought about it. Most folks just want to get by, to survive, and in the arena of ultimate questions with no simply unambiguous answers, I think most are simply too exhausted to expend an ounce of strength pondering doctrine and dogma when all they want is community and friendship and love and want most from religion is answers to how one lives peacefully in community with real friendships and how to live life lovingly.

*Today Chet Raymos writes on "Science Musings Blog" about Wallace Stevens' poem, "Man Carrying Thing" which has these line, "Deal with it. Think about it." Which sparked my memory of those words, but not from the poem.


jzr said...

Well, said. This goes far beyond religion and spirituality. The people of this country are a good example of the "sheep" following their shepherd who resides not in their hearts and souls but in Washington. Everyone is too afraid of what they'd lose if they stepped off the well worn path of follow the leader. But think about what we'd gain ... freedom and those warm, supportive communities everyone longs for, where one could discover how much we all have in common.

Thanks for mentioning Chet Raymo. I had no idea he has a blog so now I'll be able to follow it. I love his writings.

Lifewish said...

I think I'm still at the "youthful disgust" stage. If you could communicate with your younger self, what wisdom would you most like to impart?

Bro. Bartleby said...


I would tell my younger self that you haven't arrived yet, so instead of chiseling youthful wisdom into stone, write it in a paper journal with a yellow pencil that has a big eraser, and too, instead of planting intellectual roots, continue the journey, and when you pass fellow beings that have planted their roots, be not troubled and too quick with judgment, and finally, in the long run, kindness to others is best, even when that kindness isn't returned, and when the olive branch offered is refused with a volley of arrows, then return to the path and make haste, for another day is straight ahead, just beyond the daybreak, with always a hint of promise in the air.


Lifewish said...

Amen. Thanks for the advice.

Bro. Bartleby said...

And thank you for sending a spark nearly half way around the world that ignited my mind in a way unknown to me that send signals that made my right middle finger to rise and tap the "I" and then the right thumb to tab the "space bar" and then the left ring finger to rise and tap the "w" and then the right ring finger to rise and tap the "o" and then the right index finger to rise and tap the "u" and then the right ring finger to simply press down on the "l" and then the left middle finger to press the "d" ... and not only was the brain doing all sorts of automatic things, but too the mind was composing an answer that my fingers awaited. Why life? Indeed. I think I will now copy the reply for today's post, a letter to my past self.