how we respond

How we respond to [our children’s] stories carries more weight than any other form of moral instruction, and that is why we need to realize that the formal scope of “narrative theology” or “narrative ethics” necessarily includes the stories our kids tell us over dinner….

Ultimately, children develop the capacity for morally mature intimacy through our capacity or our willingness to offer such intimacy to them, such due regard, such kind but firm or clear-eyed critical respect. We offer that to them in part by the quality of our responses to the stories they tell.
– Catherine Wallace, For Fidelity

wisdom is gained by practicing

In biblical terms, it is wisdom we need to live together in the world. Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails. Wise people do not have to be certain what they believe before they act. They are free to act, trusting that the practice itself will teach them what they need to know. If you are not sure what to think about washing feet, for instance, then the best way to find out is to practice washing a pair or two. If you are not sure what to believe about your neighbour’s faith, then the best way to find out is to practice eating supper together. Reason can only work with the experience available to it. Wisdom atrophies if it is not walked on a regular basis.

– Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World (2009)

what liars lose

The possibilities that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting thing in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities.

When relationships are determined by manipulation, by the need for control, they may possess a dreary, bickering kind of drama, but they cease to be interesting. They are repetitious; the shock of human possibilities has ceased to reverberate through them.

 

broken beauty

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down. Simone Weil says simply, “Let us love the country of here below. It is real; it offers resistance to love.”

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

drama queens

[a song by alumna and adjunct faculty member, Lindsay McKay]:

“Drama Queens”

Eternity is a long time
To hold your breath
To hold your breath

We should know we are speaking from
Experience
Experience

Ah, ah, ah

We’ve bit our tongues for so long that they’re
Scar tissue
scar tissue

You wouldn’t know you didn’t pay us
Attention
Attention

Ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah

We tried to tell you how much
Pain we’re in
Pain we’re in

You shut us down by calling us
Drama queens
Drama queens

Well, these drama queens
Are building our thrones
Out of sticks and stones
And our own broken bones

These drama queens
Are building our thrones
Out of sticks and stone
And our own broken bones

These drama queens
Are building our thrones
Out of sticks and stones
And our own broken bones

Ah, ah, ah

These drama queens
Are building our thrones
Out of sticks and stones
And our own broken bones