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The Eyes of Wendell Berry

The Seer opens with a blur of urban lights and longings: the faster freeway, the taller building, the machines that become the objects of our affections. Over this, the film’s subject, in his distinctive timbre, laments the pursuit of “the objective.” These opening three minutes culminate in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Pope and the Plowman

After you exit the interstate and turn on a two lane strip of asphalt headed towards Wendell Berry’s old Kentucky home, one of the first signs you see proclaims—with the leading word emblazoned in red letters: “Caution, Church Entrance Ahead.” It is a warning that Mr. Berry, the celebrated . . . . Continue Reading »

An Almost Godly Green

Happy Earth Day! Easter it is not, but this niche “holiday” does afford an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual influences behind the modern environmental movement. Its three most important figures—John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson—were all deeply influenced by the Book of Nature and the Book of Books, but none fully embraced the King of Kings.Muir was the product of a strict Campbellite home where he learned most of the Bible “by heart and by sore flesh.” Its imprint never left him, but Muir’s spiritual vision was incomplete—he was carried to ecstasy by the work of creation not the Resurrection. Yet, what he saw he saw in a holy fullness that most of us now miss, and his lyrical prose is filled with biblical echoes. “Heaven knows,” Muir would write, “that John the Baptist was not more eager to get all his fellow sinners into the Jordan than I to baptize all of mine in the beauty of God’s mountains.” Continue Reading »

Wendell Berry's Marriage Reversal

Wendell Berry’s recent self-described “general declaration” in support of “homosexual marriage” shocked many, fans and critics alike. Berry, who once wrote that marriage “cannot be altered to suit convenience or circumstance” and has long argued that marriage is an inherited form . . . . Continue Reading »

Wendell Berry Week

It’s been a Berry-filled week, in the aftermath of his Jefferson Lecture last Monday, which I’ve yet to read in full. For one, there was an affectionate puff piece in the NYT , a fine introduction to the man, and of course on Tuesday I drove over the hill for my bi-monthly fill of . . . . Continue Reading »

Passing Port Royal

I see the treesyou’ve seen and knownpoised in mute witnessthe baled hay hunchedlike insatiable livestockgnawing its wayback to the earththe river muttering madlyits secrets swallowedunder the . . . . Continue Reading »

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