I went for another stroll by the stream today—it was a red letter day for butterflies with lots of milkweed for monarchs and many black admirals about as well, and at the end of my walk I even saw a question mark drying its wings on a log in a sunny opening of the forest canopy:

I didn’t see any trout this time, though—only chubs, and the biggest I saw I didn’t bring to hand: a beautiful blandings turtle caught it and showed it off to me.

I remember being struck about a decade ago by the hazy view of the Murray hills from the ski shelter at the park. A few trees around the creek have grown and blocked some of that view. It makes me pine for adventures in the adirondacks and Appalachians. I had a couple great summer reads on the table in the shelter: Larry McMurtry and Cervantes (I’ll cut it short and say that a Knight errant is someone who is beat down one day and rules three kingdoms the next)

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Jesus walks an amazing narrow path—follow Him around and you see He is radically inclusive and totally shocking and challenging. He welcomes and draws in all sorts of outcasts. You can see the narrow way in how he acts with the woman taken in adultery: he stands up to the mob and saves her, and he also tells her to sin no more. It’s so easy to fall off one side or the other of that narrow way. You can’t love a sinner without hating what sin does to her; you can’t hate sin and want to condemn her to the effects of it. I see the liberal side of Christianity tending to fall off one side of the path by not having the courage to shock and challenge people out of their sins, while I see the conservative side tending to fall of the other by not having the courage to welcome everyone. It takes courageous people in both camps to stand up to the mob. This isn’t some mushy middle or moderation, but rather one side tempers and actually strengthens the other. It’s popular nowadays to not be ‘judgy’ about others. Still, when you’re really angry with someone or some group of people, it can be really hard to realize that, without help, you’re in the same pit as them. So, you should want to help them, not punish them. Similarly, if you find it easy to say ‘who am I to judge’ and you find it easy to accept other people, don’t forget that Jesus also said ‘sin no more.’ So, although He accepted all sorts of despised people He did not accept their sins—He saved them from their sins. His path is narrow but it is always near you—there is always more mystery, like what he wrote on the ground.

Thought experiment to demonstrate the value and necessity of paying attention:

Thought experiment to demonstrate the value and necessity of paying attention:

If a class leaves the room with papers and pencils and other scraps on the floor, tell the custodian to leave it till tomorrow that you’ll have the class clean it up. The next morning crumple up a five dollar bill and another foreign currency that looks like Monopoly money and throw them both on the floor. The students enter and without any promoting see what happens: if none of the students spots the five you can pick it up and tell them to pay attention, ask them what else they’re overlooking. If someone spots the five but not the foreign money that’s actually worth more on the currency market, ask them why they spotted the five (because it’s something they know has value) and ask them why they overlooked the foreign currency.

Time, like an ever-rolling

stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our guard while troubles

last,

And our eternal home. Amen.

From psalm 90 I. Watts, 1674-1748

It was cool in the church basement. The breeze lifted and held up the white lace curtain along with the close harmony of the choir anthem. Like the weight of a heavy quilt in an old familiar place, the moment lulled. The choir jumped to the coda. I sat down and noticed a speck of blood on the still poised curtain. The music director reminded the minister to say grace before everyone moved to the parlour. We left for breakfast, rosily.