Easy Edges and Harder Ones
- I didn’t expect, at all, to get the kind of response I have received to my Buy Me a Coffee initiative. I don’t primarily mean the financial contributions – though those have been welcome, because they allow me to focus on work on my blog that I want and in a sense need to do – but rather the testimonies people have given to the value my work has had for them. I just had no idea. I am so thankful for all those kind words, which come at a time that is otherwise, because of health issues in my family, rather dark. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine – but I cry out with gratitude also.
- As the pandemic took over our lives, Anne Snyder and Susannah Black began a project called Breaking Ground – a Christian-humanist survey of our present and our possible futures. The essays commissioned for that project are now available in a book. I’ve been reading these essays recently and they are absolutely wonderful.
Okay – on with the show, this is it!
In 1969 a young architect named Frank Gehry was playing around with some pieces of corrugated cardboard and realized that you could make furniture out of it – furniture that would be light yet remarkably sturdy, and extremely inexpensive. He got a patent and started a company called Easy Edges. “Why Didn’t Somebody Think of This Before?” asked the Los Angeles Times. Buzz was loud, sales were great and growing – and then Gehry pulled the plug on the company. As Paul Goldberger explains in his fascinating biography of Gehry, Gehry grew afraid that success would pressure him into becoming a furniture designer and salesman, rather than an architect. “Frank told [his business partner Richard] Salomon that he had decided not just to reject a restructuring of their business arrangement, but to pull out of Easy Edges altogether. And he had no desire to give up the rights and let Salomon or anyone else keep the company going without him. It was his design, and his patent. He had come to the conclusion that he did not want to continue with Easy Edges, and that he did not want anyone else to, either.”
I wrote a post about an Ozu movie with lots of farting in it.
Relatedly, I guess, here’s the woman who collects illustrated toilet paper.
Toki Pona is an invented language that has approximately 130 words. That’s it, that’s all you get. Use them with care.
My father died mostly alone, alienated from nearly all of his children and loved ones. I managed to make some kind of peace with him, but even in our last few days and hours together, in the hospital room, our conversations were drenched in the blue light of the television. When I told him my plan to propose to my then-girlfriend, he turned toward me briefly, said, “Oh, that’s great,” and turned his attention back to the news.
The late, great John Webster:
Theological work, including theological interpretation, requires the exercise of patience. This is because in theology things go slowly. We are temporal creatures, we do not receive revelation in a single moment; and we are sinful creatures whose idolatry and inattention are only gradually overcome. It would be a poor conception of theological interpretation which presumed to have acquired Scripture’s meaning in a final way which cut out the need for ever-renewed listening and learning. ‘My soul languishes for thy salvation’, says the psalmist, ‘I hope in thy word. My eyes fail for watching for thy salvation’ (Ps. 119.81f.) We must be patient, suffering God’s works, looking for the coming of the Spirit to instruct us in the truth of the Word. But we must also be patient with others. Augustine, again, considered the activities of biblical interpretation as an exercise of charity through mutual learning, as what he called a ‘way for love, which ties people together in the bonds of unity, to make souls overflow and as it were intermingle with each other.’