• Tag Archives Unitarian
  • Onion Drying, the Next Stage

    72  bar steady 29.81 1mph NE dew-point 65  sunrise 6:00  sunset 8:37  Lughnasa

    Waxing Crescent of the Corn Moon

    A writing day so far.  I have started writing Heresy Moves West.  It will take a bit longer than I imagined, maybe quite a bit, because I have this propensity to place things in context, deep context.  In this case for example I have established the Protestant Reformation as the sine qua non of the development of Unitarianism and its westward expansion, at least I have established that to my content.   Not too much further along I intend to swing back to Abraham who listened to YHWH and left his Canaanite Gods for monotheism.  Since you can not just go back into the past and then jump into the present, the intervening time takes a paragraph or two (at least) to describe, and all this in service of the actual topic, the history of Unitarian and Universalist churches in Minnesota.

    Why do I do this?  Sheer cussedness in part.  Simplistic explanations that ignore real historical paths irritate me.  I do not like to emulate them.  That means rooting my thesis about U-U expansion in Minnesota in the soils from which it sprang.  They have lots of topsoil, gathered from diverse times and places.  The process is sort of like archaeology.  In order to explain the top, most recent layer of artifacts requires continuing to dig down, down, down until the physical culture either stops or changes to something completely different.

    Anyhow, all this means I’ll be writing for some time, maybe as long as 2 or 3 days.  That eats into posting time.  So, for the next few days it might be a little sparse here.  Might not.

    In the past week AncienTrails had 2100 unique visits, about 300 a day.  You are not alone.

    Kate and I carried the old sliding door screen into the front shed.  We had to take all the onions off it to get it inside, then move the onions back on it.  In addition I had to remove the remaining stalks so my hands smell like onions.  The onions must remain in the shed for two to three weeks, then they will go in tangerine crates.  Once in the crates the onions will await their turn in the kitchen on an old book shelf in the furnace room.  The garlic hangs not far from their future home.

    When dead heading the last of the Lilium today, I found one that had bulbils.  These form at the junction between stalk and leaf.  They are another means of propagating lilies.  I will cut this plant down and use the bulbils inside to create stock for next spring.

  • A Bell That Cannot Be Unrung

    61  bar rises 29.87  0mph N dew-point 53  sunrise 5:59  sunset 8:39  Lughnasa

    New (Corn) Moon

    Outside tonight the sky has no moon.  This illustrates the paradoxical nature of light.  We think of light as illumination enabling us to see, but it has another, not often recognized property; it can obscure as well as reveal.   The night sky during the dark moon shines with stars, many invisible when the moon is brightest.  A cool night with a clear sky, a panoply of stars, ancient messages from faraway places gives a northern summer its true character.  Able to burn with heat in the daytime, the northern summer can cool down, remind us of the coming fall, just as Lughnasa, the Celtic first fruits holy day does.  A convergence of a new moon, Lughnasa and cooling temperatures make this a night made for myth.

    The research for Heresy Moves West will probably end tomorrow.  I hope I can get at writing, too, but I doubt it.  Sunday.  This is a big task, one I set for myself, but I’d like to get a first draft done, so I can set it aside for awhile.  I have Stefan’s poems to edit and the Africa tour, too.  Not to mention a firepit to dig, hemerocallis iris and lilium to move.

    A piece of this project troubles me.  Maybe troubles is not the right word, provokes, that could be it.  When Channing and the others split from the Standing Order Calvinist orthodoxy in New England, they started a cascade of controversy that has not ended.  Not long after the Unitarians had left the congregationalists behind, Emerson began writing his essays and giving his lectures.  With the strong push Transcendentalism got from Theodore Parker, there was soon a split over natural religion versus theistic religion.  The Civil War obscured this problem for the first half of the 1860’s, but it re-emerged as the Western issue as the more radical, Parkerite ministers began to dominate the Western Unitarian Conference.  This led to constant conflict with Eastern conservatives (used to denote those who wanted to retain Jesus as Christ, keeping Unitarianism’s original perception of itself as liberal Christianity).  The Free Religious Association and The Ethical Culture movement kept the Western issue alive in the east.  This split healed with a broad understanding of liberal religion, only to be sundered again in the 1920’s with the rise of humanism.  Humanism set aside theism for good in the interest of a scientific and humanistic approach to the ethical life.

    Here’s the problem.  Conservatives predicted the gradual erosion of religious sentiment if there was not at least the glue of Jesus to hold the center.  Their predictions came true as the shift away from theism took its incremental, but, looking backward, inevitable progress toward an essentially secular movement focused on ethical living.  This leaves the field free for radical inquiry into the nature of the human experience.  A great, not small thing.

    But, it can lose the faith that burns in the heart, that seeks the reality next to or beyond this reality; it can lose it in the same kind of scientistic move that linguistic analysis made, that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris make.  It is, though, a bell that cannot be unrung, so we must seek this faith that burns in the heart elsewhere than in tradition.  Good.  Emerson thought so, too.  The question is, where?

    Investigating this question will occupy some time, perhaps the next few years.

    When I went out to check the drying onions, I found one with a bit of a soft spot.  I brought it inside to cut up for a salad for lunch.  Cut open I put my fingers on the white flesh.  It was very warm, almost hot.  That drying would take place inside the onion had not occurred to me.

  • Showing Up

    79  bar falls 29.88  0mph NE  dew-point 53   Summer evening

    Full Thunder Moon

    Next weekend is the Ellis cousin reunion in Mineola, Texas.  Kate and I fly down on Friday, back on Sunday.  A short visit to the really hot weather.  All the folks of my father’s generation on the Ellis side, that is his siblings and their mates, are dead.  This is cousins and their kids and grandkids.

    Though I was born in Duncan, Oklahoma I know the Ellis side of the family less well than the Keaton (mom’s side).  We moved from Oklahoma when I was only year and a half or so to Indiana, mom’s home state.  I want to get to know them better.  They are family, after all, a main connection to the past and through it to the future.  Like much in this life family is about showing up.  Otherwise, no family.

    Kate had a lot of charts to do today, so I did the errands.  We had lunch, a nap and a business meeting.  We have overshot our travel budget, by a good ways.  If she failed to earn the big bonuses, we would have had to pull in the belt a bit.  We discussed ways to stay on budget.  Important and not always easy for us.

    Got in the mail today Freedom Moves West, a whole book on the Western Unitarian Conference. It may contain enough information that I won’t have to go to the Minnesota History Center.  More and more I look at Amazon and on-line shopping as a way to save trips and therefore fuel.  Budgeting trips into the city is something I’ve not done too much.  I just hop in the car and go.  Nowadays though I think.  Try to put two things together.

    Next Tuesday I go in to help with a Sierra Club mailing.  That day I’ll visit the museum and head over to the Minnesota History Center if I need to find anything there.  Like that.

  • The Fireworks I Like Best

    79  bar steady 29.90 1mph NW dew-point 53  Summer, warm and sunny

    First Quarter of the Thunder Moon

    Research this morning on UU history in the Twin Cities.  The liberal religious tradition, as represented by the Unitarians and the Universalists, came here, at least it appears at this point in my reading, with Yankee businesspeople.  Lumber and land were the initial draw.  The Unitarians were an educated group who believed in education.  The Universalists were lumber folk initially.

    Both groups had the stamp of privilege, what one author calls Old Stock American, early residents of the colonies whose culture bore, for the most part, the stamp of Great Britain.  One article on the Bisbee/Tuttle controversy referred to Minneapolis as a Universalist town.

    I enjoy this kind of research, just as I enjoy the art history research.  As I have collected data over the years, each new accrual both gains from and adds to the context, the rich web of history, philosophy, literature, paintings, sculpture, theatre and political analysis that remains from years of study.  This gathering of threads together is one of the chief benefits of aging.

    The garden has finally gotten its heat and the vegetables have jumped up in response.  The squash have spread, the beans have climbed, beets have pushed above the surface and the corn has begun to reach for the sky.  The firecracker lilies and other Asian lilies have also opened and the first hemerocallis, too.  Soon the liguria and the clematis.  This is the true independence day celebration, the kind of fireworks I like best.