1st Epistle of the Elder of Omaha
                         “To the elect lady and her children “whom I love in Truth,”
     So St. John, who styled himself as an elder, long ago greeted the community and its members in communion with him.  From his epistolary example, I am borrowing a feature for this blog.  Once a week, on Thursdays, a letter will be posted.  It will report on what is on my mind, what I am reading and/or what is new in the various discussion tracks on this blog. 
 Today finds me beginning the Lent of the Feast of St. Michael, or “summer lent” as I have come to call it.  Once widely observed in the Western Church of the Middle Ages, it is largely forgotten and unobserved.  It became anchored  in my spirituality some 25 years ago when I learned that St. Francis of Assisi kept this lent on Mt. Alverno in 1225.  It was in the course of this lent that he received the marks of the cross on his body, the so-called stigmata.  The account of his lent that year can be read in “The Little Flower’s of St. Francis,” something that I  have done annually as part of keeping this lent.
     This is relevant to this blog because of the sobriety that it brings to my affairs, not least of which is taking on the disorder of this blog!  Hence my resolve is to post weekly  a letter addressed to all readers to share with them things that they might have in common and to direct them to things in the blog which might be of particular interest to them. 
 The overall theme which unifies this blog is the concept of narrative, which is alternative to ideas and facts that generally are assumed to either singularly (idealist or empiricist) or together (eclecticist) contain the truth.  Our motto is that the truth is in the narrative.    That theme will appear under four labels: Romanticism and the Recovery of Narrative:  Americana in Search of a Narrative;  Hebrew Psalms:  Praying the Narrative; and Jesus and the Meta-narrative.  The fourth label has not yet made an appearance, but will before much longer, trusting in the sobriety of this lent.  Other wise each of the other labels has an initial post and some added comment.  Your comments a much desired as I hope that this blog can be dialogical.
      Presently, I have been laboring on a review of a book by Michiko Kakutani, The Death of Truth.  It is a very well written alarm sounded against trends in Western government, particularly, the Trump administration, drawing parallel with the fascism of the past century.  Part of Kakutani’s thesis argues that the cause of these trends lies in the loss of a meta-narrative.  This is, of course, the thesis of our discussion under the label Americana in Search of a Narrative.  It does not, however, intend to be alarmist as it does to call you “to come labor on.”  The review should be posted within the next couple of days.
      One of the thing Kakutani notes in her book is that since 2016 Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” has more citations than it has had in the past 30 years!  Our friend Shelley Joye as an author has recently posted the poems opening lines on this blog and in the comments I have added a couple of remarks, one of which is a new poem I have written  questioning Yeats’ poem, called “2019 A Second Coming to the Master’s Arm.”
     There also will soon be a new posting in the Hebrew Poetry label, a study of Psalm 2 and of Psalm 10.  This morning, I have returned to Psalm 16, whose Hebrew is humbling.  It’s now the fifth or sixth visitation to this psalm’s  Hebrew text and it is still a struggle to make it read.  It is a prime example of how much each Psalm in a linguistic universe of its own and how much it relied on the performers who carried them in their heads.
     Much depends on this lent helping me avoid distractions!
                                   Faithfully,  Michael The Elder of Omaha

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