The Art of the Commonplace

The Art of the Commonplace, the Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry

Wow...it took me a while to process this book but worth every minute. Berry articulates some of the thoughts that have been percolating in my mind for a while. It seems to me that American Christianity seems to be based on an escapist, spirit-only, get-out-of-hell free mentality that turns into a very shallow life...life that is not what God invites us into. So this book challenges us to embrace a holistic life and to embrace the idea that we should be creative problem-solvers (as representatives of the Kingdom of God, or the Great Economy). Here are the dog-ears:

pg. 10 - our violent history of developing this land

Racism and the Economy
pg. 53 - wages and spiritual health
pg. 57 - economies based on tangible goods & private ownership vs. economies based on the abstract (i.e. trading nickels - insurance, investments - impersonal)

Feminism, the Body and the Machine
pg. 67 - marriage as a prolonged and impassioned negotiation of how things will be divided
pg. 69 - Blondie, Dagwood and Corporate Subservience

The Body and the Earth
pg. 98 - to be healthy is to be whole
pg. 106 - the so-called identity crisis
pg. 132 - Health and Work
pg. 136 - the axework of Division

Health is Membership
pg. 144 - health equals wholeness - not just in ourselves but as part of a community and a place

Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community
pg. 166 - "if you are dependent on people who do not know you, who control the value of your necessities, you are not free, and you are not safe."

People, Land, and Community
pg. 183 - freeing the demons, and then trying to control them equals idiocy...

Conservation and the Local Economy
pg. 204 - creatively pursuing the local economy by quiet secession

Economy and Pleasure
pg. 214 - God's pleasure in creation
pg. 217 - the social occasion of tobacco cutting

Two Economies
pg. 230 - "what is to be the fate of self-control in an economy that encourages and rewards unlimited selfishness?"

The Whole Horse
pg. 236 - satisfaction as a marketable commodity

The Idea of a Local Economy
pg. 255 - the disconnected Corporation

The Use of Energy
pg. 292 - of course, we have to mention the Amish...

Christianity and the Survival of Creation
pg. 318 - churches as organizations concentrating on the shibboleths of growth (measurable by us)
pg. 319 - the church flying the flags and chanting the slogans of the Empire


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