Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sapientia Rustica

I love the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.  My favorite verse of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is "Veni, O Sapientia."  My favorite book of the Old Testament is Ecclesiastes.  I love philosophy (although I tend to hate the systematization of it).

I absolutely love the pursuit of wisdom.

When I was in high school, I thought transcendentalism was a joyless waste.  Those readings about a man giving up society for life in the country, in a cabin, no, a shack by Walden Pond, what a horrible story!  I just wanted to pass my days in whatever pleasure could keep me occupied from one moment to the other.  I was a television addict.  The year I went off to the seminary, I was forced to lose my dependency on the fleeting pleasures of entertainment (3 televisions divided by 120 students = 4 hours of television viewing all year).  It was not, as I had suspected, a boring year.  In fact, it was a great year!  I enjoyed the companionship of many new friends. I spent long hours in quiet contemplation of God. I even lost a lot of weight, I mean, like 50 lbs.!  When I visited my family for Christmas break, I sat down to watch an episode of that relatively tame sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, and realized that I had wasted a half hour of my life watching a family bicker.  Finally, at that moment, it all began to click.  I started a semester of my life where I went through much the same thought process as the author of Ecclesiastes.  Vanity of Vanities!  All things are vanity!  Transcendentalism made some sense.  My materialistic lifestyle did not.  The book we had read in English, Technopoly (because at seminary, every class is philosophical!), suddenly made sense.  We really had created a whole new list of chores for ourselves with each new invention, and made life vastly more complicated than it had to be.  Materialism be damned!  I wanted no more of it.  I began to live simply.  I allowed others to have their way first.  I fasted from food and entertainment.  I found myself joyful when others would be bored.

I also left the seminary (on good terms, no worries) and eventually got married.  It's easy not to be a materialist when you're a seminarian in the middle of nowhere.  It's much more difficult when you're a married man with a family, living in a city.  Slowly, I've found myself returning to this materialism.  It doesn't make me happy to admit that I have become what I once tried so hard not to be.

This is all serving the purpose of providing some much needed background.  You see, I have long desired to return to a simple life.  Not the simplicity of the seminary, of course, but the simplicity of a holy husband and father.  I discovered that I longed to return to learning the wisdom of the country, the wisdom of living in a simple home, perhaps not far from my own Walden Pond, where I can live off the land a bit, read my books, play with my children, and commune with the God of Creation.

A few months ago, my beloved father-in-law passed away, and my wife's family was left with his home and acreage.  After some sorting, it seems my wife and I will take the house and front acre, while the rest of the family will share the acreage behind (though we will still have full use of it).  Though I am very sorry to have lost a good, holy man, whom I admired greatly (he was, in many ways, what I want to be), I am pleased to have the opportunity to pursue this simple life in the country wisdom.

I am starting this blog to seize the opportunity to keep a diary of our journey on the way of wisdom.  If you read it, please enjoy it and learn from my mistakes in learning wisdom.

God bless,


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