aramgorn archive

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This site is a cache 
of seven years' worth of musings.  

Good years.  Formative years.  

Moving on.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Traveling up Lake Shore Drive en route to work this evening I caught a glance east at a handful of boats beyond the harbor with sails set and full.  Earlier this week I took Lauren out sailing (with a hired boat and captain, not a skill I have... yet) for a crispy morning cruise.  I made breakfast sandwiches and mimosas.  I laid on my back under the sail when the captain turned back toward shore, and I watched the boom swing above me from one wind-harnessing extreme to another.

The city was right there, always in view, but I was absent from it.  I realized with an aquatic rush of delight that this brand of wilderness has been at hand constantly; that we urban dwellers buzz in astonishingly close proximity to a wild alterity that feeds on the same winds that daily brush my body.  The winds  course between buildings, chasing through avenues on their way to vastness outside of city precincts.

In the midst of the buzz on my way to work this evening I saw those boats and saw myself reciprocally through the boats-eye-view and felt the levity of a sudden, welcome insignificance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monsanto as Beelzebub

My comrade responded to the latest post here (and to other conversations we've shared on rooftops while fabricating the concept of a liberating apocalypse; and to Dissent Magazine's most recent issue) with 17 lines of verse that pretty well sum it up, casting inculpation where it's due:

& we'll talk on & on about
farms & food & subsidies
apocalyptic deities
the earth deserves another flood
(a potent rinse of pesticides)
reprising our own myth
rewrite erase rewrite:
the ensuing desolation strewn
with slow-growth plots
& ruptured food-chains;
and those once-regal banners
(proclaiming the eternal rule of humanity)
are reduced to fumes
arcing from the desert floor - 
the last belch of a world
finished with its masters

(By Benjamin Blevins)

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Threats of catastrophe have shifted during the past several decades.  While the continual existence of nuclear weapons makes it impossible to ignore the possibility of nuclear holocaust, the nuclear threat that is actually effecting global calamity today is much more insidious.

Today is Earth Day, which means more to some of us than it does to others.  I am not opposed to giving the earth a holiday.  But celebrating earth a day a year is an insufficient means of campaigning for a conscious recollection of the diverse ecology that supports our livelihood, our economic ventures, and our hope for future sustenance.  In America, holidays tend to draw people together as occasions for cellular celebration.  We celebrate sometimes with our communities and most often with our nuclear families.  No harm done there.  Family reunions and community gatherings can be enchanting.  At the same time, however, our national fixation on the nuclear family poses as great a threat as the Cold War era nuclear arms race.

Trying to meet our family’s needs is one thing.  Privileging the excessive satisfaction of the desires of our nuclear families is another altogether.  Whose comfort are we willing to neglect in order to extend excess to our closest relations?  Who are we willing to cast as “them” in order to ensure the opulence of “us”?  This nuclear threat, seeing our small collective of relatives as an insular unit, distracts us from engendering the consciousness we need to survive and thrive as humans and as members of our earth-home.  By focusing on nuclear home-life, constructing our own tiny empires, we have forgotten the actual house-rules (eco-nomy) inherent to our earthly home.  Our excess, our surplus, our capital is not taken from the vaults of an inanimate bank.  It is mined from the sources of the livelihood of others.

I am skeptical about the possibility that a shift in individual behaviors would bring about any great amount of social change to the contemporary patterns of global relations.  I doubt that a great enough number of those of us who are privileged and excessively comfortable will recognize the calamitous impact of our luxurious expenditures.  It’s far too easy to coddle our consciences by comparison to others who are even more opulent than we are.  But I am hopeful that the catastrophe we are invoking (and it is primarily we privileged who are invoking it) may demand its own change.  In that sense the apocalypse (nuclear or otherwise) may be inevitable.  This inevitability (and current reality) of catastrophe does not necessitate resignation or despair.  At the very least let's prepare ourselves and be ready to re-craft society without the ignorant and myopic elements that dominate today.

In the meantime, as you’re celebrating with your families today try to think radically about the sources and costs of your sustenance.  And figure out someway to express gratitude.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gulch God

I read this today during the CTS Ecojustice chapel accompanied by the flowing snarky sounds of a bass clarinet. I wrote it a month ago hiking through the Paria canyon. It's a touch of peripatetic theology in verse...

There’s that western God:

Consistently conceived as immutable, unchanging, absolute, insoluble, static, fixed, removed.

The same sort of God yesterday today and forever.

This divine tradition situated in our subconscious posing as irrefutable reality.

God is stuck.

Ironic: this notion of unchanging, immovable, absolute God;

Such a far cry from the dynamic impressions of God that saturate the soil of biblical tradition.

The bible God is an impassioned God.

Hardly a final fix to the human quest for relational integrity

Or the fervent, feverish desire to experience something, someone, anything that awes us.

The God that is streaming ruah, flowing pneuma, torrential spirit

Is nothing if not dynamic, forceful, powerful

In motion.

The wild God, God of the gulch:

She invokes an acknowledgment of aquatic movement

And stone sculpting thrust.

She is the God who compels weary feet to the confluence.

The confluence of what?

Is it the confluence where our deep fears meet with contrived certainties that comfort at the cost of asphyxiation?

Is it the confluence of our grandest delusions (of ourselves detached and in control) merging into a supposed solution with the Absolute who sees to our absolution?


God is neither a certainty nor a solution.

God is not cheap comfort.

God is not a coddler of our conscience.

God is at the confluence of threshold and compulsion.

The threshold at hand is comprised of stone and sand

And river and sun.

Find a window that frames a scene of others in motion, in life;

And cast your gaze through.

Find a threshold that parts the way between self-fixation and sensational relation;

And edge toward.

At the confluence of windowed gaze, where threshold meets lure,

When others and self spark divine and ignite in interdependent flame,

Sense God pass through and whisper compulsion to join.

Monday, February 27, 2012


In class last Tuesday my professor said:

“At CTS we are imbibing scholarly traditions that are anomalous to what the majority of Christians are familiar with.”


We are reconciling our cultural and racial identities with our religious identities. Some of us are asking, “How do I remain black and Christian?”

We are queering our religious understanding and our political stances. Some of us are asking, “How do I remain gay and Christian?”

We are opening ourselves to questions and uncertainties thus resisting arrogant absolutisms and challenging the hubris of ideologues. Some of us are asking, “How do I remain skeptical and Christian?”

“One can never wrestle enough with God if one does so out of a pure desire for truth… Christ likes for us to prefer truth to him because, before being Christ he is truth. If one turns aside from him to go toward the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms.” [Simone Weil “Waiting for God”]

Some of us are asking, “Need I remain Christian?”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rigid Theology

What is more Christian: dominion or partnership?

A few days back Rick Santorum was on Face the Nation doing his best to clarify some of the criticism he had previosly directed toward President Obama. One of his critiques is that President Obama’s policies on energy don’t stem from a desire to help American people, but stem from a “phony ideal… a phony theology”. What’s more, suggested Santorum, it’s by no means a theology that comes from the Bible.

When asked, What in the world he was talking about? Santorum said:

“I was talking about the radical environmentalists… this idea that man is here to serve the earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the earth… we are not here to serve the earth. The earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. I’m talking about the belief that man should be in charge of the earth, should have dominion over it, and should be good stewards of it.”

In a book about faith, Buddhist meditation instructor Sharon Salzberg wrote:

“It is not the existence of beliefs that is the problem, but what happens to us when we hold them rigidly, without examining them, when we presume the absolute centrality of our views and become disdainful of others. Placing ourselves in a position of privilege – beliefs are treasured commodities and we are the proud owners – implies that we alone possess the earth, we possess the Truth.”

I am not a conservative Republican politician nor am I a Buddhist practitioner. I am however a student of the Christian Bible and a trained theologian, and I can attest with confidence that Santorum’s antiquated belief “that man [sic] should be in charge of the earth” is a lonely one in the field of mainstream theology. I would ask Santorum that he stick to crafting policy, and not dabble so erroneously in the construction and interpretation of God concepts.

If we continue to treat the earth as a thing we possess and dominate, much as men have treated women for millennia (a fact slovenly overlooked by Santorum), and if we maintain a rigid posture toward the earth we will break. And on our way to this self-induced destruction we will (continue to) abort countless lives, human and nonhuman, thus deserting our potential to partner with the fecundity of the earth in the process of inciting beauty rather than waste.

I ask you, What is more conducive to the Christian gospel? A rigid posture of domination, ownership, indifference, and power-over? Or a careful posture of partnership, mutuality, empathy, and power-with?