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July 2022

August 2022

A Coming Dark Age?

The World Made Otherwise: Sustaining Humanity in a Threatened World:  Gorringe, Timothy J.: 9781532648670: Books

That's the question Timothy Gorringe begins with in his book The World Made Otherwise.  He reviews various predictions that there is a coming collapse of human civilization and determines that it is likelier than not.  But he doesn't believe it is yet inevitable and hopes that a new humanism--which he presents in this book--could avert the catastrophe.  Or, at least, help us to live better through it.

One question he asks in this chapter, originally asked by David Orr, is "Why have we come so close to the brink of extinction so carelessly and casually?"

The answer he seems to find most satisfactory is Stupidity.  He quotes Karl Barth:

As one of the most remarkable forms of the demonic, stupidity has an astonishingly autonomous life against whose expansions and evolutions there is no adequate safeguard.  It has rightly been said that even the gods are powerless in the face of it.

What Gorringe seems to be aiming for are the sorts of Benedictine communities that Alasdair MacIntyre proposed at the end of After Virtue--small communities, living out the humane, life-affirming values, in order to keep "the lamps of civilization alive in the new dark ages."

A Beautiful Day

May be an image of lake, tree, nature and sky

After all of the recent heat, which largely kept us inside over the weekend, yesterday was such a wonderfully beautiful day, and I found ways to really enjoy it.

Mid-day I had a massage to work out a sore spot I've had for a few weeks.  That was my first massage in years and long overdue.  

In the afternoon I sat outside reading, some of it lying in my hammock, where I also napped.

Then I decided to take myself out for a nice dinner.  I had a martini, appetizer, salad, and dessert.  

Afterwards, I went and walked around Standing Bear Lake.  A perfectly beautiful evening for a walk and lots of people were out enjoying it--walking, bicycling, skateboarding, canoeing, fishing, rafting, picnicking, playing.  Families, couples, friends, all ages and types.  What a marvelous celebration of public space in nature.

Then I headed home to watch the movie Prey and really enjoyed that as well.


Prey (2022 film) - Wikipedia

Last night I watched Prey, the latest entry in the Predator series of films.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It might even be better than the first one (though it's sense of mystery and dread before the big reveal of the alien is hard to repeat).  

This one is also beautifully shot.  Some incredible cinematography, and not just because of the marvelous landscapes.  Even animals and humans are captured beautifully.

It's wonderful to have a major motion picture centering a Native American story and actors.  The idea of going back and placing the story on the Plains in the early 18th century was an excellent idea.


Uncoupled (TV Series 2022– ) - IMDb

Over the weekend I finished season one of the new Netflix series Uncoupled, about a late forties NYC gay realtor whose partner of 17 years leaves him unexpectedly.

Now, I'm glad I had some distance on my own break-up and divorce so I could really enjoy this show, including laughing at parallels to myself.

I thought it did a great job of exploring the emotions and experiences of breaking up at my age.  Though not everything in the show has happened to me (no one has wanted to botox my butt, for instance), a number of the moments were similar to experiences I've had.

And in its more emotional moments it resonated as well.  NPH's character complains about having to enter a dating world he hates and can't figure out, when he had been happy and content with the life he had.  His ex talks about feeling like the future they had as a couple was inevitable and feeling suffocated by that, whereas NPH says that's what he enjoyed and found comforting.  These resonated with me.  And most significant was this powerful line, "Because you had a mid-life crisis, now I have to have one."

Last Week

So, last week didn't go according to plan.  The plan had been for Katie, Stephen, and I to camp and hike in Glacier National Park, but that trip fell through at the last minute (and I was even packed for it) due to changes in the Glacier entry system since we had planned the trip and had been unaware of the changes.  Thank goodness I looked before we began the long drive up there.

Anyway, I decided to add a couple of days to my high school reunion trip and visit some friends in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The entire weekend was a blast, I had so much fun.

Back in Omaha last week with the heat and change of plans, I had a rather low key few days.  Mostly catching up on household chores, napping, and reading.  I finished Timothy Gorringe's expansive theology book The World Made Otherwise.  He writes about the resilience needed for us to live well as the climate changes, what values and practices must we embody.

Robyn and I have mostly finished gathering what we need for our upcoming Boundary Waters trip.

Also last week I broke the sabbatical somewhat to prepare and deliver a eulogy for Bob Vassell's funeral service.

Not sure what I will work on this week.  There are some home projects I could begin, especially since it's not going to be as hot.  Always more reading to do.  Hopefully I can get some more writing done as well.

The World Made Otherwise

The World Made OtherwiseThe World Made Otherwise by Timothy J Gorringe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What will our culture need to be like to be as resilient as possible in the face of climate change? That's the key question Gorringe is considering in this book, one of the more expansive theology books I've recently read (there's a chapter on monetary reform).

Gorringe begins by considering the state of our current crisis and what changes we can foresee. Then he discusses the humane values we need to live with resilience. Next are a series of chapters on key practices we should explore in order to live better. Finally, he imagines what a world made otherwise might be like.

View all my reviews


May be an image of body of water, nature and twilight

When we left on our big Wyoming trip in early July it was funny that we drove about five hundred miles before even getting out of Nebraska.  The state is simply that long.  But then I noticed something else the next day--we drove over six hundred and fifty miles before we exited the Platte River watershed.  

Back in Lent our church's worship focused on the spiritual practices we all need during this season of climate change of one of them was being more aware of our watershed and paying attention to it.  The idea that we passed Casper, Wyoming before we got out of the watershed was startling to think about.

May be an image of lake, tree, nature and sky

But then we were standing on Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.  This bridge is near the beginning of the Yellowstone River shortly after it exits the lake and begins its beautiful, meandering flow northwards.  And my seven-year-old son asked the question, "Where is all this water going?"

And I realized the answer and said, "Well, eventually, after traveling a long distance, it will actually go past our house in Omaha because this river ends up in the Missouri River."  He seemed rather excited by this answer.  

And isn't it startling?  To be many hundreds of miles from home, three days of travel, in a landscape so unlike our own, standing over water that is part of the system from which we drink and cook and clean while back at home.

May be an image of 1 person, body of water and nature