3. Lay of the Land

3. Lay of the Land

[To the Rescue]
[Next: 4. A Time of Evil]

Let us — before we attempt to save our souls, the souls of our fellow citizens, and the heart of things with words so true and beautiful that they cause human hearts and minds to smile and gently turn more fully towards and align better with the Love that chooses everyone — admit to ourselves and our would-be seranadees* where we think we find ourselves today, on January 15th, 2024, a remarkably cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States of America.

*[Editor’s Note: We hereby define a “seranadee” as someone who is serenaded.

Author’s Note: Unnecessary formality. The definition is assumed by the clause.

Editor’s Note: I’m the editor and I’m going to make Editor’s Notes where I see fit.

Author’s Note: Dear Readership, please forgive the heavy-handedness of my fat-fingered, smudge-drunk editor.

Editor’s Note: I hereby define a “bartleby” a something so petty and annoying that you wouldn’t think it possible, were there not a Bartleby Willard to give the term meaning.

Author’s Note: Don’t bartleby me, little man!

Editor’s Note: That’s right — it can be a verb too.]

We’ve been writing increasingly distraught essays, culminating in “A Time of Evil”, published January 5, 2024, in which we come right out and tell our fellow citizens that they are being evil. I mean, what? Why lie? So let’s read and edit that essay one more time, and call it Chapter Four: A Time of Evil, with the subtitle, Your Evil.

But people are always both good and bad. The same basic stuff that liberates the concentration camps makes and runs concentration camps. So maybe we should also have a Chapter Five: Humans Are Dangerous.

And then we cannot pretend that we are angels in heaven, watching human affairs while God beams God’s clarity directly through our conscious spaces, allowing us to gently and in perfect compassion and with complete Love understand how individual humans fit together and how groups of humans fit together and how everything fits together in this world. So then perhaps we need a Chapter Five: We are Not Angels, with the subtitle, Our Evil.

This chapter will be mostly about your author and editor, but it could also touch on US American liberals, although so much of what we see US American conservatives attacking and hating us for seems to us to be straw men.

Like, what are you even talking about? People who vote democrat are mostly not culturally radical.

This idea that somehow the be all and end all of my political thought is forcing transgender operations on school children while they recite a Statement of Faith affirming that all bad things in the world are the fault of white people and everybody else is a hapless victim of white people: These kind of attacks leave me dumbfounded.

What are you talking about?

I agree that we could spend a moment all together thinking about the consequences of trans operations and what safeguards we could put in place to prevent people from regretting an irreversible decision a few years down the road.

And I don’t think white people are bad and all other people are good. I think all people are iffy, and we need to work with where we are now.

I think working with where we are now does include admitting past mistakes and trying to think through how they still harm us and what we can do to lessen that harm and hasten the day when we all reach our full potentials alone and together in this interwoven tumble-along-together. But that’s not the same as saying white people need to admit they are bad deep in their marrow, deep in their culture, in some fundamental way that they cannot escape any more than they can escape the color of their skin. I don’t think that kind of talk is either true or helpful. And for some time there has been a possible storyline which goes something like this, “If you’re white, everything you have is stolen, and everything bad that happens to you is only because you are so pathetic that even after stealing everything from everyone else, you still ended up a loser, what an incredible loser you must be!” And that’s just as dumb a storyline as any other this-is-what-you-are storyline.

I don’t hear that storyline as a predominate one within liberal US America. Still, I feel it myself a little tiny bit hanging the air. But I feel all kinds of very iffy storylines hanging in the air here and there, draping themselves over this moment of weakness and that one. We all have access to an infinity of shifting storylines; none of them are true; some are truer than others; people on all sides of all issues at some level understand that.

The way for humans to find common ground with other human beings mostly comes down to spending time together, talking together, working together, being a community and in relation with one another. There is something both very good and very bad about humans. It is very good because, assuming we spend time together and are motivated to share ourselves with one another, this tendency towards discovering common ground allows us to overcome prejudices and to realize our shared humanity. It is very bad because it can also, when groups are intellectually and/or emotionally siloed off from one another, lead to a mindless group-think. Force two (average) people together long enough and they start finding ways to agree, ways to get along, ways to share reality.

If we open our hearts and minds to everyone while most fundamentally remaining centered in the Love that chooses everyone, we can’t help but grow into a wiser, brighter reality — one that connects Love = Reality to our feeling/thinking/acting in this world. If we open our hearts and minds only to those who agree with our prejudices, we can help each other to grow further and further from the Love that chooses everyone, to ensconce ourselves more and more in brittle, narrow, empty realities.

Be that as it may!

Let’s have look at what we think this moment is telling us, how we read it, where we think we find ourselves.

[Editor’s Note: About the chapters here sketched out: You can’t always trust this author to do what he says he’s going to do.

Author’s Note: We’re making this up on the fly? You don’t need me to do what I said I’d do a chapter ago; you need me to do the same thing you need you to do: what’s best for everyone. But how? And so we go under. But here and there we pause to outline a path. Subject to revisions. It’s just a book. Just a desperate attempt to find the mirror of our moment in time to change our hearts and reorientate our mind. Doomed to fail? I don’t know.

Let’s just relax, shall we? Everybody take a breath. Shake it out.

Julian of Norwich said God does everything and will bring all to the best for them who are saved, but then in places she seems to suggest all are saved, which would make the formulation: God does everything and all is done to the best for all. If Julian’s right about the gist of things, and we’re right about her gist of things, then the gist of things does suggest that Donald Trump is an agent of God. But so is Joseph Biden. Winston Churchill. Adolf Hitler. Mahatma Gandhi. You. Me. Everybody always all the time. Agents of God.

But Julian had another perspective. The one above is the one where she didn’t see the creature doing anything, but instead saw God doing all things through the creature. In another place in her Revelations of Divine Love, Julian sees sin, and sees that God does no sin. But then it gets really confusing. Sin is no thing. And God thanks us for our suffering and sin is part of our suffering; so God thanks us for our sin?

We just read about how some evangelical Christians claim that Trump is God’s agent like Cyrus the Great, the Persian leader who, as per Isiah, was used by a grateful God to free the Israelites of their Babylonian captivity.


What did Jesus say was the most important commandment? Was it pretend you know the mind of God and can see how God shapes geopolitics and tells you you’re special and chosen and will be an example to the nations and anybody who doesn’t see that can take their poisonous blood and get the hell gone? No, there’s no evidence that that was even in the running. When asked what the most important commandment was Jesus said, “Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” But more on this later.]

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew Mackenzie Watson

[To the Rescue]
[Next: 4. A Time of Evil]

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