A quiet man

I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends
nothing, but only knows
where the rarest wildflowers
are blooming, and who goes,
and finds that he is smiling
not by his own will

Wendell Berry
Sabbaths 1999 II

Love Wins
 

She

It’s a pity human language doesn’t have an appropriate gender-free pronoun that we could use when referring to God.  As it is, God has to be either “he” or “she,” because He can’t very well be “it.”

The metaphors for God that we are accustomed to come from Scriptures that were mediated through partriarchial societies.  So God is a “king” and a “father,” rather than a “queen” and a “mother.”  Careful study of the Scriptures of course show that God is often described in feminine terms as well, but the undeniable fact is that most of the language we use to describe God makes it sound as if we are describing a man, albeit a Superman.

But if the character and characteristics of God were described to someone with absolutely no prior conditioning on the subject, to which gender might he/she/it be assigned?

We began teaching our son Will to say his prayers at bedtime even before he could talk, and I prayed with him every night I was home to do so.  It would have never occured to me that he might be confused about God’s gender.  But once he began talking, Will referred to God as “she,” rather than “he.”

It was amusing, but it made me think.  Will understood that God loved him, cared for him, protected him, kept him secure, provided his food, etc.  I assume that in his mind, those were the things he knew that his mother did for him.  So he concluded that God was mother-like.  And therefore God was “she.”

Maybe that should have hurt my feelings.  But it didn’t.  I loved it.  God is love.  And what greater love is there than the love a mother shows a child?

It didn’t last of course.  The conventional male God-images quickly crowded out his innocent image of the motherly female God.

But I think it’s good to remember at times that while God is definitely our Father, she’s our Mother too.

Love Wins

 

 

Kale

 

I’d never grown any before.  We ate a lot of greens when I was growing up (which we called sallet) but they were always turnip greens.

But Cherie loves kale and she asked me to grow some.  So in September I planted some after I tilled under some of our hot weather crops.  The seed is tiny like turnips and mustard, and sells for a dollar an ounce at Southern States.  I bought an ounce, planted a row with my Earthway seeder, and I broadcast the rest.

It all came up well, with minimal pest damage (much like turnips and mustard greens do).  I thinned it out to about one plant per foot, and it grew very well.

I kept asking Cherie if she wanted me to pick it yet.  I keep her overloaded with vegetables to freeze or prepare, and she sometimes groans when I bring things in from the gardens.  So I didn’t press, but I was anxious to have her try it out. 

Last week she gave me the green light to bring some in.  I picked it like I would mustards, breaking the biggest leaves from the outside of the plant.  Cherie made a soup with it, and said it came out very well.

From what I’ve read, kale improves after a frost and is cold tolerant enough to make it through the entire winter sometimes.   So I’m hoping we’ll be enjoying this for a while.

Love Wins

Stella

Stella died.

I don’t know why.

Last weekend I went out the pasture to check on the goats, and I found Stella, a five month old doe, lying dead in the shed.

There is a cycle of life and death on a farm. Some of the death is planned, and some is not.

In the ongoing, neverending contest between life and death on our farm, life wins most of the time. And usually death’s victories are pyrrhic, serving the greater cause of life.

But sometimes we have senseless death. I hate it when that happens, and it strenghtens my resolve to fight harder for life.

And what is true on our farm, is true everywhere.

Love Wins