A Patriotic Act of Faith for Environmental Protection and Climate Justice

*Related: Join folks in RVA Aug. 18, 6pm for follow-up Hands Across Our Land rally!*

(The following article first appeared on The Huffington Post)

George Jones is still serving his country. Navy vet (Korea) and lifetime resident of Virginia, Mr. Jones bused to Richmond to take his message of American responsibility to the governor. That message: no new pipelines, no more fracking, enough already with our dependence on fossil fuels.George Jones close

Worship in the Sunday Morning Not-Church

Sunday morning, and everyone else is at church. Well, not everyone, exactly, and that’s just it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about not-church church. This morning, post beach vacation at the in-laws and suddenly solo for a few days, I feel adrift. The writing projects, both fiction and non-fiction, that have so energized me or at least have kept me from wrecking havoc somewhere else (my latest house project left an heirloom rug weirdly textured in irregular streaks), seem dull and lifeless this morning. Or maybe it’s just the company – mine alone. Which brings me back to not-church.

Firefly’s “Broken Bible”

If the Bible’s broken, can it be fixed? You owe it to yourself to watch some of the old tv series Firefly, even if you were one of the lucky few who caught it when it was first broadcast. In the “Jaynestown” episode, idiot savante River gets ahold of Shepherd’s Bible and sees how little makes sense on the surface.  “Noah’s ark is a problem,” for example. So she sets about setting things right, marking up pages and tearing some out. When he catches her, she explains, “It’s broken. Doesn’t make sense.” Shepherd’s response: “It isn’t about making sense… It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith. It fixes you.” Depending on how one interprets the context of the whole episode (the “heroism” of Jayne and its efffects on the oppressed, e.g.), you may or may not agree with Shepherd.

Suspicion and Being Desperate

Eliza Griswold’s story of meeting the Ethiopian monk said to guard the Ark of the Covenant includes his saying, “two things keep you from God: suspicion and being desperate.” I like it. His explanation is less compelling, but so what? Its bare bones are worth contemplating.

Ah, the Insecurity of Security!

Turns out that in order to comment on my Good Morning America essay, you need to “register.” The good news: I was told that you can use “ANY alias and even a bogus email.” So much for security. Thanks for posting to the site!

Can Learning Be A Spiritual Exercise?

Can learning be a spiritual exercise? Check out my Good Morning America essay and plz comment. I’d love to hear your ideas on the topic!

Talkin’ about the Bible

Wonderful to see so many people at the Charlottesville Barnes and Noble last Wed eve! As moderator David Bearinger noted, Winn Collier’s Holy Curiosity and my Bible Babel are very different projects, though both concern the Bible. The Virginia Festival of the Book (a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities event) has included panels on religion and spirituality in the past but not specifically on the Good Book. The conversation and questions reflected well the two ways that Winn and I worked with the Bible in our books — confessional and informational — and pushed each of us to think and talk about the other. After all, one cannot assume a confessional position without reflecting intellectually, even if just to read and interpret, the text, on the one hand. On the other hand, any academic treatment of the Bible is still treatment of a religious and sacred text, which inevitably draws the investigator into the world of spirituality, even if only to think about how that text has affected and informed the faith of others. Thanks to all who attended!