More From the Goose

Before I put away my notepad and the few scribbled notes I took at the Wild Goose Festival, I’ll share these quotes from Frank Schaeffer:

Certainty is the enemy of truth.

Too many people are following a book, not a God.

Everything in the Bible is words and words are a metaphor to a larger reality.

Be patient with people, even if impatient with injustice.

Frank has become a fixture at the Goose and one of the leaders who is keeping it going.  He just released a new novel And God said, Billy!, which is getting great reviews.  I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list.

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Two Feasts

We met T.J. Snodgrass at the Wild Goose Festival.  He was one of the presenters in our food and faith discussion.

I recently finished his self-published book Turning the Tables:  Farming and Feeding in the Gospels. His analysis and description of the society and social customs of the day helps with understanding the context and meaning of the many references to food and farming found in the gospels, especially as they would be informed by an understanding of the social and economic injustices of that time. The book reflects the same brilliance and wit that was evident in his presentation and our later conversations with him.  I recommend it.

There are a lot of fascinating and illuminating facts and observations related to food and farming in his book that would merit a post. Maybe another day.  Today I want to draw attention to his contrast of the two feasts described in Chapter 6 of Mark’s gospel.

As the author of Mark is describing the early ministry of Jesus, he interrupts the narrative with the story of the execution of John the Baptizer (a literary device called intercalation, of which the author was fond).  It is one of the most salacious stories in the Bible.

Herod Antipas was the ruler of Galilee at the time.  According to the text, he gave himself a birthday party, inviting “his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.”  At some point during what was no doubt a drunken bash, he had his stepdaughter/niece dance for him and his guests (Antipas had married his brother’s ex-wife, thereby violating Jewish law and drawing severe criticism from folks like John the Baptizer). Snodgrass notes that a married noblewoman obviously wouldn’t dance for guests, and that girls were normally married in that culture at around age 13, so what is being described here is likely a pre-teen striptease before the king and his drunken friends. Bad Uncle Herod.

Herod is so taken by his wife’s dancing daughter that he promises her anything she desires.  Her mother prompts the girl to ask for John’s head (Antipas had imprisoned John for criticizing his marriage). Being unwilling to lose face before his cronies, Antipas has John beheaded and the head is delivered to the girl on a platter, as she requested.

Once this story is told, the author returns to telling the story of Jesus, where a much different feast is described.  Jesus is wandering the countryside with his disciples, teaching and healing the sick.  A large crowd has followed him to a “deserted place.” They’re hungry and there isn’t enough food for all of them.  So Jesus instructs his bewildered disciples to feed them. And, seemingly miraculously, the crowd is fed.  Jesus didn’t require anyone to first kiss his toe, recite a creed, pledge allegiance or otherwise earn his favor.  They were hungry, so he fed them.  No dancing girl and no prophet’s head on a platter.

Both, I suppose, are feasts fit for a king.

But for two very different kinds of kings.

Wildflowers

There are some really awesome wildflower blogs out there, by excellent photographers who are very knowledgeable about wildflowers.  This isn’t one of them.

I confess that way too often I just take the wildflowers for granted.  I don’t appreciate them as much as I should.

Even this time of year, I’m surrounded by them all day.  Here are some that I saw while doing chores this morning.

Note the cherry tomatoes growing wild in the background

Note the cherry tomatoes growing wild in the background

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A sand brier

A sand brier

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Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Ladino clover

Ladino clover

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Not a wildflower technically.  But I didn't plant it.  It's a volunteer tomato plant.

Not a wildflower technically. But I didn’t plant it. It’s a volunteer tomato plant.

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Lespedeza

Lespedeza

Poke weed

Poke weed

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Red clover

Red clover

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Okay…

Their walls are built of cannon balls
Their motto is “Don’t Tread on Me”

Robert Hunter

Virginia now has over 200 specialty license plate options.  Seriously.  Over 200.

There are license plates available featuring sports teams (whether from Virginia or not), military status and awards, civic organizations, all manner of wildlife, political causes (pro-life or pro-choice?  There’s a license plate for both), fraternities and sororities, charitable causes, historical events (why would anyone want a license plate with “War of 1812” printed on it?) and the list goes on and on. There is an NRA plate and an AFL-CIO plate, a Parrothead plate and a Peace plate.  A Friends of Tibet plate and a Friends of Coal plate.  You get the idea.

Of course it’s possible to just get a plain old ordinary license plate.  The specialty plates cost extra.  We’ve never seen any value to forking over extra money to the state for a specialty license plate, but in our shopping-crazed culture they’ve become very popular and therefore a source of additional revenue for the state.

Here’s a specialty plate that is becoming increasing popular around here:

Don't Tread On Me Plate

Given that taxes and big government are two of the things most often complained about by such folks, I find it strangely ironic that so many of them are voluntarily paying more taxes than they are required to pay, in order to sport a government-issued license plate proclaiming their desire not to be trod upon.

Shaking my head.

This Scarecrow is a Role Model

I realize this is will ultimately be part of a corporate advertising pitch, but this 3 minute video created by Chipolte is very well done. It’s gathered over 5 million view on youtube in the last six days.  I’m hoping lots of folks who see it will choose to take the path of the scarecrow.

For another surprisingly good use of a corporate advertising budget, check out this very powerful 3 minute film from a Thai cell phone provider. It’s garnered over 7 million well-deserved views in a week.

From the Goose

It’s been over a month since the Wild Goose Festival and I still haven’t written about any of the talks we attended.  Unlike past years, I didn’t take detailed notes this year. Those that I did take have been sitting here by my computer for weeks, waiting for me to do something with them.

Krista Tippet’s interview of Brian McLaren will be on her radio program eventually, so there isn’t much point in trying to recall that discussion here.  (By the way, her interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber is already available for any interested.)  But here are a few of the things he said that made it into my notes:

What you focus on determines what you miss.

We write “In God We Trust” on the god we really trust.

A whole new thing happens when Christianity is derived from an empire that needs it to baptize its wars.

If we don’t become people of peace in our hearts, we’ll just create a new set of theological ideas about which to become violent.

Some good stuff upon which to chew.

Transitioning

Summer turns to Fall.

And as it does we start saying goodbye to things like squash and tomatoes and hello again to things like kale and collard greens.

I enjoy seasonal eating.  I  look forward to the first fresh asparagus spear in April and the first vine-ripe tomato in the summer.  I like knowing that my eating is in sync with nature.

These days I’m eating lots of fruit–watermelons, cantaloupes, apples and pears.  They’re part of what nature provides in late summer.  This is not the time for asparagus.  It seems to me that it must do a body good to be nourished by the things that are in season where we live, and that are therefore part of our natural diet.

As much as I am enjoying the end of summer goodies, I’m delighted to see the kale and collards maturing.

Young collards

Young collards

Red Russian kale

Red Russian kale

I brought in the first batch today. I can’t wait to try them.

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