Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'religion'

Wonderful world

March 7th, 2014 · Comments Off on Wonderful world

What a Wonderful World, sung by Eva Cassidy
When I listen to Eva Cassidy, already diagnosed with the metastatic cancer that would be killing her, singing at her final concert “What a Wonderful World,” my tears are not so much, or at least not only for young Eva Cassidy, but for all of us, so ready to love and create and be generous (if our early lives don’t take those hopes out of our hearts) but instead shunted off into harder and lesser and more painful lives than our childhoods imagined. And even then, our hearts keep hoping and dreaming of love and fulfillment. They keep looking for chances to give joy to people we love.

I have to say, if I were god, it would never in ten million years occur to me to create any hell to punish my people. Instead, my heart would be breaking daily to witness their courage, their generosity, their imagination. Instead of plotting dark hells for the people who did not worship me in exactly the right way, I would be knocking myself out to figure out how my god-powers could be used to stop suffering and to make people more kind and more joyful. But of course, this is me, Betsy, oldest of four children, who can advise even gods! (I still think I’m right though.)

Tags: Editorial · Good versus Evil · religion · Sister Age · Wide wonderful world

After the hailstorm

July 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment

After the hailstorm

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities:

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!

Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life’s end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?

Tags: religion · Sister Age · Wide wonderful world

Reflection, translation, science and belief

May 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Reflection, translation, science and belief

willows reflected in quiet water

Green on green

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Even a skilled translation is like the reflection in water of what the original thinker was trying to say. But such reflections may also have charms of their own.

With this excuse, and with thanks to a friend in Babice for sending me a charmingly machine-translated from the Polish interview with Frank, here’s Frank Wilczek trying to explain the quantum mechanical problem of science and faith:

God this wide notion very different things under which understand nation. Physical theories meanwhile this sure abstract mathematical conceptions there in which is no place for free choice. Some are careful anyway, that science is uncovering this, what it is just God, or how oneself he manifests in physical reality.

I from second side like the conception of complementariness the advanced by Danish phisicist Nielsa the Bohra very. Then the philosophical conception which comes from with phisics. If you try to understand some arrangement, you can this do with different points of sight. Every of them describes one of aspects of studied arrangement.

But when you try to apply it simultaneously, then you fall in contradiction. They in phisics are on this very concrete examples. It in kwantowej mechanics was can qualify the position of particle or her speed, but it will not give to pit both these features simultaneously. They do not exist simultaneously we – can get to know or one, or second.

Bohr – and I for him he – was careful, that this principle is a lot of more general. That the different ways of understanding of world, different points of sight are. Every of them has something to offering. But if you try to apply it simultaneously, then you can fall in conflict. It can so just be with science and belief.

I like the modesty and good sense of Frank’s statement. It makes much more sense than the loud crowings of some who climb to the top of the tower of one single viewpoint (science or faith) to proclaim that the rival viewpoint must be purely nonsense.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · religion · Science · Wide wonderful world

Lit up like no ordinary Christmas tree

December 29th, 2007 · Comments Off on Lit up like no ordinary Christmas tree

The Infamous House of Lights

Originally uploaded by stomptokyo

Picture this picture half an acre wide.

One of the most amazing Christmas displays in the USA — I think that’s what NBC said, or maybe it was People Magazine.

  • Half a million lights…
  • 118 electric trains running round in meshed circles…
  • Reindeer(s) and wise men and big glowing plastic Virgin Mary statues set off, in a warm-hearted way, by Biblical texts about the importance of Jesus.

All on half an acre of St. Petersburg, Florida, lit up like…see title above for (I think) the right metaphor.

Florida? Yes, for a few days…

Part of the mesh and mismatch of a year of travel is that even when “home” there are places we have to go, family we can’t miss seeing. So, somehow more travel breaks into our Christmas break, three weeks long, between home-from-Stockholm and headed-out-to-New-Zealand, quickly to be followed by four-months-in-Oxford.

I’m on my annual and always delightful visit to my little sister in Florida. And last night after dinner she and Bill asked if I would enjoy “some Christmas lights.” Maybe I should have guessed from their smiles as we headed off that they were planning to surprise the houseguest from understated New England.

And they sure did!

But sadly, I can’t surprise you with my own many photos of St. Pete’s famous or infamous House of Lights–which has its own website at My camera-to-computer cable got left at home. Thanks to StompTokyo (and to Flickr’s “Blog This” button) for this panorama to give at least some sense of scope.

Tags: religion · Travel · Wide wonderful world

NH October is red, red, red

October 6th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Happy, happy moment when I was 11

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Bright red is the favorite color of most small children. What a surprise it was, when someone told me this! Oh, you mean I was supposed to change my favorite color when I grew up?

October leaves in Norway and Sweden are rich in dark greens and yellows–but I miss the scarlet extravagance of autumn maple trees. I love this tree image from photoninja Judith Meskill

Even more than that, I’m grateful that Judith added a poem of her own to her maple tree image. Judith’s title was “Walk with me…” For some reason (October melancholy?) her poem made me write my own first-poem-in-quite-a-while, a poem for my friend from childhood Mary Parfitt. Mary died of a brain tumor in 1989, so if I want to send her any messages now, blogging a poem is as good a way as any.

Walk with me
into a memory our past lives inhabit
but we do not.

Walk with me into
remembered October. Remember

the trees,
the beautiful whispering leaves,
scarlet tale-tellers,
undaunted by December.

Inhabiting other Octobers,
I remember

Tags: My Back Pages · religion · writing

Mark Twain: “Man would need reptiles.”

June 13th, 2007 · Comments Off on Mark Twain: “Man would need reptiles.”


Originally uploaded by simbi0tic star bubbles

In 1903, Mark Twain was already poking fun at his era’s version of Intelligent Design. For example…

According to Kelvin’s figures it took 99,968,000 years to prepare the world for man, impatient as the Creator doubtless was to see him and admire him. But a large enterprise like this has to be conducted warily, painstakingly, logically. It was foreseen that man would have to have the oyster. Therefore the first preparation was made for the oyster.

Very well, you cannot make an oyster out of whole cloth, you must make the oyster’s ancestor first. This is not done in a day. You must make a vast variety of invertebrates, to start with — belemnites, trilobites, jebusites, amalekites, and that sort of fry, and put them to soak in a primary sea, and wait and see what will happen. Some will be a disappointments – the belemnites, the ammonites and such; they will be failures, they will die out and become extinct, in the course of the 19,000,000 years covered by the experiment, but all is not lost, .. and at last the first grand stage in the preparation of the world for man stands completed, the Oyster is done.

An oyster has hardly any more reasoning power than a scientist has; and so it is reason ably certain that this one jumped to the conclusion that the nineteen-million years was a preparation for him…

Thanks for sharing to Tingilinde, where you can read the rest of Twain’s inspired nonsense.

Tags: religion · Science · Wide wonderful world

Good Good-Friday advice and un-jellybean Easter

April 6th, 2007 · Comments Off on Good Good-Friday advice and un-jellybean Easter


Originally uploaded by The Department.

I get Google traffic looking for “E.B. White essay“; AKMA gets it for Good Friday sermon advice. He just posted some very good Good Friday sermon advice, so keep pointing there, Google!

For more (if more pagan) inspiration, I love the Marge Piercy poem Kalilily just posted.

…The soil stretches naked. All winter
hidden under the down comforter of snow,
delicious now, rich in the hand
as chocolate cake: the fragrant busy
soil the worm passes through her gut
and the beetle swims in like a lake.

As I kneel to put the seeds in,
careful as stitching, I am in love.
You are the bed we all sleep on.
You are the food we eat, the food
we are, the food we will become.
We are walking trees rooted in you…

It’s worth reading more of, as is Kalilily, so be your own angel and go check it out!

Tags: Heroes and funny folks · language · Metablogging · religion