Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

From Ralph Waldo Emerson's address at Harvard Divinity School in 1838, as quoted in The Concord Quartet by Samuel A. Schreiner Jr.

The stationariness of religion; the assumption that the age of inspiration is past, that the Bible is closed; the fear of degrading the character of Jesus by representing him as a man; indicated with sufficient cleanness the falsehood of our theology. It is the office of a true teacher to show us God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake. The true Christianity, --a faith like Christ's in the infinitude of man, --is lost. None believeth in the soul of man, but only in some man or person old and departed.

It's really no wonder that we have become a nation where most of us don't go to church with this in our past. But, I think the Transcendentalists would be disappointed in us as a society. We don't take the time and effort that we used to put into church and seek God in the woods or in our hearts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

Emerson, reflecting on a Higher Power, before it was called that:

I find this amazing revelation of my immediate relation to God a solution to all the doubts that oppressed me. I recognize the distinction of the outer and inner self; the double consciouness that, within this erring, immortal mind, whose powers I do not know, but it is stronger than I; it is wiser than I; it never approved me in any wrong; I seek counsel for it in my doubts; I repair to it in my dangers; I pray to it in my undertakings. It seems to me the face which the Creator uncovers to his child. It is the perception of this depth in human nature, this infinitude belonging to every man that has been born, which has given a new value to the habits of reflection and solitude.
This is from Ralph Waldo Emerson's journal during a trip to Europe that he took after relinquishing his pulpit and before writing Essay on Nature, as quoted on page 26 in The Concord Quartet: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and the Friendship that Freed the American Mind by Samuel A. Schreiner, Jr.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Orchid Show

We went to one of the evening opening parties for the Orchid Show, but were back at the Missouri Botanical Garden today and took the opportunity to see the orchids in the daytime.

Peter Raven passed through while we were there. We didn't realize until we got home that he must have been leaving the press conference that announced his retirement, as covered by the Post-Dispatch here. We're pleased that Dr. Raven is staying on as president emeritus and that the new choice, Peter Wyse Jackson, has wonderful experience in the botanical world.