Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Random Notes

This is a long way to get to a point that might not mean anything to too many people...

In my freshman year of college, I learned that a writer I liked, Walker Percy, lived not far from Hattiesburg, in Covington, LA. My college dean encouraged me to go visit him. "He'll take you out for crawfish and beer." Sounded like a good idea at the time, but I was a little wary; can you actually just write or call someone famous to see if you can hang out? By the time I quit hemming and hawing, he had died. So I resolved that I would just see if I could go visit some interesting person, and not wait around. It's how I got to know Wendell Berry.

My first "victim" was Andrew Lytle, my favorite of The Agrarians (check out their essays in I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition). It so happened that he was the only one of the Agrarians left alive. I found out he lived in Monteagle, TN. He was in terrible health, but agreed to have me in his home. So I drove up there and we had a dinner of country ham and greens, with whiskey and spring water to drink. We talked a good bit about his work, literature in general, and he turned me on to his favorite novel, Kristin Lavransdottir, which he rates higher than works by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

He got tired, and asked if I could help him into bed. It was a sweet moment, this grand old man of letters being helped into his tall bed by a student.

I went home and got the book. He died the next Christmas, so I was very glad to have talked to him. The long and the short of it is Morehead reminds me of Monteagle, TN.

Hey, John Crissman and Tom Baker, is your church's Habitat Project a passive home? No? Hmmm....
Preaching this Sunday on John 12:24, looking forward to having communion with the folks of Morehead! I am meditating on how Jesus talking about the seed that dies to become fruitful points us to 1 Cor 15's beautiful discussion of the resurrection body (verse 35-the end of the chapter), but also has a resonance with Jesus' humanity: the bread and wine, or rather the grain and grapes show us the Incarnation. It's not an obvious connection, and you'll have to come on Sunday to find out!

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