Awaiting God is a fresh translation of two of Simone Weil's works, Attente de Dieu (Waiting for God) and Lettre a un Religieux (Letter to a Priest). This edition features an Introduction by Weil's niece, Sylvie, entitle 'Simone Weil and the Rabbis: Compassion and Tsedekah' and a translator's preface by Weil scholar, Brad Jersak.
The book is available on Kindle and can be accessed by Kindle reader apps for smart phones and tablets.
There are those who hold Simone Weil as high, almost, as the Holy Eucharist. There are others who place Weil, almost, in Hades. Then, there are those who sift wheat from chaff in the life and writings of Simone Weil -- such is the judicious approach of Brad Jersak's Simone Weil: Awaiting God. The Introduction by Sylvie Weil (Simone's niece) adds a tender touch, also.
Ron Dart Department of Political Studies/Philosophy/Religious Studies University of the Fraser Valley Abbotsford BC
i got to thinking about the tyranny of fear which violence brings. about newtown.
and i was begging god for those moms and dads, and siblings.
that he would bring memories of delight, and laughter, and adequacy.
and that he would hide the memories of sadness, and inadequacy and failure, and especially memories of those moments when they - as parents - settled for immediacy instead of intimacy. even for just a few short hours, days, weeks even months. until they've had some time to begin to heal.
who among us hasn't settled?
i remember 'watching my kids play' rather than 'playing with my kids' when they were younger.
i've closed the door too many times because i was tired.
i've retreated to my backyard gardens instead of throwing a frisbee.
i've turned on the idiotbox because a conversation would take too much effort.
and the list goes on.
believe me when i say i'm not self-depricating. nor am i preaching.
Bill Blaikie, The
Blaikie Report: An Insider’s Look at Faith
and Politics (The United Church of
We in what is
called the “mainstream” media tend to be secularists who either consider
religion to be a private matter or have no religious faith at all. We tend
therefore to minimize or miss the importance of religion in politics.
(Globe and Mail: October 10 2012)
dialogue about faith and politics is often a contentious one, but not to ponder
the significance of the conversation is to capitulate to the prejudices of
secularism. The publications of The
Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada (Marci
McDonald: 2010) and Pulpit and Politics:
Competing Religious Ideologies in Canadian Public Life (Dennis Gruending:
2011) have made it abundantly clear that many who take their faith journey
seriously become political.
T.S. Eliot’s poem Journey of the Magi with my quasi-interpretation of it.
(Which is more than an interpretation — it’s also a kind of autobiographical confession; for I too have had a hard time of it. And like Eliot’s Magi I would do it all over again.)
Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot
A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter. And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times when we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wineskins. But there was no information, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.
"Oh little town of Bethlehem"—will we ever see the Holy Land experience the promise of "Peace on earth, good will to men" Jesus came to bring peace to this hotbed of violence and strife. What can his followers do to live out the incarnation of God's peace and love?
Human beings, according to French thinkerRené Girard, are fundamentally imitative creatures. We copy each other's desires and are in perpetual conflict with one another over the objects of our desire. In early human communities, this conflict created a permanent threat of violence and forced our ancestors to find a way to unify themselves. They chose a victim, a scapegoat, an evil one against whom the community could unite. Biblical religion, according to Girard, has attempted to overcome this historic plight. From the unjust murder of Abel by his brother Cain to the crucifixion of Christ, the Bible reveals the innocence of the victim. It is on this revelation that modern society unquietly rests. Girard's ideas have influenced social scientists over his long career as a writer and teacher.
IDEAS producer David Cayley introduces this seminal thinker to a wider audience.
God Doesn’t Build His House By Violence Brian Zahnd
The New Testament begins with these words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Or more literally: “The bible of the genesis of Jesus…”
Jesus doesn’t just pop into history out of nowhere—he arrives as the Seed of Abraham and the Son of David. He has a genealogy and that genealogy matters. The genealogy of Jesus is an essential part of the Big Story of the Gospel. If we don’t see how Jesus fits into the Big Story the Bible is telling we invariably reduce the gospel to postmortem hell avoidance. So how can we tell the Big Story of the Bible? It might go like this:
With Adam and Eve expelled from Eden’s paradise and Cain founding human civilization with bloody hands, humankind was set on a self-destructive trajectory away from God. In the generations to follow the migration away from God gained momentum and was marked by an exponential increase in violence. The corrupting violence of the days of Noah unleashed a flood of judgment.
Eventually God initiated his rescue mission by calling a man through whom he would begin to save the world. His name was Abraham. Abraham’s task was to leave the city of Ur founded on the Cain model and become the father of the family of faith. This faith family would be the chosen seed that would bless all the families of the earth. So the family of faith begins.
Daniel is one of the last books of the Hebrew bible. Parts of it were written only 160 years before Jesus' birth. It could be compared with Darwin's Origin of Species, a book written in the recent past (middle of 19th century) which significantly affects present perspective. The worldview of fervent Jews living in the time of Jesus was as profoundly shaped by Daniel as many people are today by the writings of Darwin. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain fragments of eight manuscripts of Daniel, making it second only to Isaiah with twenty one copies. The Pharisees' belief in resurrection depends crucially on the book of Daniel. And, of course, the gospels are deeply informed by Daniel.
The comparison of Darwin and Daniel is not relevant just in terms of timescale: it works in terms of how people are shaped in respect of violence, something acutely pressing both at the time of Jesus and today. Is violence something inscribed in the nature of existence? Or is it something the biblical God is working to overcome? Daniel suggests the latter.
I am neither an economist, nor the son of an economist. However, I am a Jesus follower, and, it so
happens, the son of a Jesus follower at that!
And I am more and more moved to try to work with other followers of
Jesus to discover a faith-filled way forward in the morass of rhetoric, policy
making, and power-brokering that fills our current political and economic
experience. I have been holding this
mess in prayer without much sense of how to respond.
of the two predominant ideologies of current politics attract me. I acknowledge that I have fears that the
present Federal government in Canada has made it clear that economics is the
fundamental value by which everything is decided – including more priority than
the environment or basic human rights. (eg. the recent CBC news item: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/19/pol-foreign-policy-.html).
In other words, when it comes
down to it, the government must ensure a viable and profitable bottom line for
business. In spite of competing
values. The justification is obvious:
will close their doors and ordinary people will lose their jobs
will go elsewhere if Canada is not a hospitable environment in which to invest
will stay here but outsource their labour to other countries.
Any of these options raises the
fearful spectre of a severe recession or even economic collapse. The stakes seem huge! Who can argue with the spectre of a gutted