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Friday, August 22, 2008
The Farmer among the Tombs. by Wendell Berry

I am oppressed by all the room taken up by the dead,
Their headstones standing shoulder to shoulder,
The bones imprisoned under them.
Plow up the graveyards! Haul off the monuments!
Pry open the vaults and the coffins
So the dead may nourish their graves
And go free, their acres traversed all summer
By crop rows and cattle and foraging bees.

FARMStrong continues a short off-season in preparation for the coming school year.  I thought some might enjoy the above "farm" poem from the finest Kentucky poet around.  Don't delete me from your blog-readers.  I'm working on the next season of conversations and very much looking forward to it.  If you have any worship oriented conversations you'd be interested in stirring up on this blog, let me know in the comment field to this post.  


posted by John David Walt | at 8/22/2008 08:20:00 AM



Anonymous john page said...

could you explore the concept of worship as something other than what happens during the hour on Sunday?
What does it look like to worship/love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength throughout the other 167 hours of the week?

11:40 AM EDT  
Blogger J.D. Walt said...

thanks john-- i will work on this-- but my working hypothesis-- whatever happens in the one hour will also happen in the other 167 hours; hence the importance of the one hour. (i.e. if worship is full of narcissistic functional religion then so will life be--- if worship is full of beholding the gloriously humble son of God pursue the way of the cross-- so will life be.

9:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous dena alvarez said...

the week is easier for me to navigate with God's purpose (lately) than it could ever be in church on Sunday morning. worship is most meaningful when i'm not having to listen to the sermon, which has either been memorized or dotted with punch lines; i'm always laughing when i'm not supposed to (at the improbability of what can come out of a minister's mouth)...or my jaw is dropping when community "humor" has everyone else in stitches. when i give serious thought as to when i feel the Spirit on Sunday morning as i do so often during the hours of the week now, i can only say it is when we sing. it usually doesn't matter what is splashed up on the screen, although the further we get from contemporary music the more at peace i feel.
it is only when we sing that i finally lose the will i've held onto the entire week and feel my full need for his grace and mercy.

8:54 AM EDT  
Blogger J.D. Walt said...

wow-- dena alvarerz on my blog!!!

9:51 AM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

JD, I hear you, but what if the starting point of worship were the 167 hours, instead of the one? Wouldn't/shouldn't the one hour be the culmination or celebration of what God has been doing the other 167?

Really appreciate Dena's comments!

6:33 PM EDT  
Blogger J.D. Walt said...


i think it is really more of a chicken-egg issue. the one hour and the 167 hours have a mutually symbiotic -- even umbilical relationship. the big question I have is apart from constituting ourselves as a Body, hearing God's Word together, agreeing together in prayer and eating the Body and Blood of Christ together at the Table--- how in the world would we have any idea what the 167 hours were supposed to look like? would it be just our own individuated understanding of the Word of God-- or our own privatized sense of the Spirit's leading? see what I mean? I do agree with you that the one hour is culminating-- a celebration-- and not a "gas station" or some other instrumental dynamic. let's keep this going. it's a good line you are on.

6:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous kendra said...

Because of my interactions with a man who does not believe in the trinity, I've been writing and thinking a little on the self-giving nature of God. He can take me to the streets in arguing Scripture from his pov, but one thing I can defend of the Trinity in is the consistent character of God throughout the Bible. His self-giving nature is consistent - his covenants, his creation, his cross.

I promise this has a relevant point.

...So I was thinking the other day about the self-giving between Father-Son-Spirit and what that would look like for us in the one hour as opposed to the 167 (just not with that terminology). Do we really reach that point of self-giving between one another in that hour? I feel like I really fall short of that in church, and it is a huge part of the person of God! I've just asked myself what it would practically look like for the self-giving nature of God to be part of our nature as we gather.

See. It has a point, though slightly random and verbose.

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger J.D. Walt said...


it's a fantastic point. it's good theology actually. this, in fact, is what is enacted in the bread and the cup--- one loaf--one cup--one body. bodies (plural) living sacrifice (singular). in the sacrament we see and invoke the whole Trinity.

another good question to ask--- could I have just stayed at home by myself and watched this on tv and gotten the same thing as i would have if i came?

7:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

JD, I'm with you regarding the coming together of the Body and so forth in the one hour. I also agree with Kendra on what can we do/be in self-giving in our hour together.
Perhaps that's what I'm reaching for a bit here with the 167 other hours. In many churches, yes, JD, you probably could have gotten the same thing by staying home and watching it on TV, you're kind of doing that anyway by watching it on the Jumbotron at the megachurch.

How much self-giving nature of God can occur in a congregation where most, if not all, of the people really don't know each other, regardless of the liturgy, the Table, the Proclamation?

The Acts 2 church did nearly everything together. We seem to have cherry picked the parts of Acts 2 that we like (eating together, small groups) and ignored the parts that don't seem to fit (giving up of all our financial resources, worshipping Daily, etc). Wouldn't we be more experiencing of the self-giving nature of God if we actually "worshipped" more than one hour together.
The one hour is great, no doubt about it. I just think it's falling short of all that worship could be, because we limit it to the one hour, and not finding some way to spread it over the 167.
Sorry this was a bit long, but the conversation is stirring up some stuff worth pondering!

4:52 PM EDT  

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