Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter 2015 Newsletter

....married to a mystery

Gil’s Manuscript update…

Since Gil finished adding material to the manuscript last year he has worked on weaving its themes into a coherent whole. One of the best investments he made was a computer with sufficient resources to open the entire text in one file so that searches could be made of the entire corpus of the manuscript. Mindful of the length (in pages) of the project it became clear that some trimming would be necessary to bring the text into a manageable size. Multiple complete reads of the text, with ‘scalpel’ in hand, over the past few months have resulted in significant progress on this front. Pieces retrieved from the cutting room floor may prove useful in possible future presentations.

There remains the final touches and edits and then, as I believe W H Auden said about finishing a poem,…the author abandons it. Casting the text on the waters of possible publishers will bring relief of one kind and anxiety of another…the wait. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to keep us busy. In April Gil will be on the road again giving presentations in San Antonio Texas and in Lafayette Indiana. We envision other venues as well but for now this is all we have on the calendar (details will follow in a later newsletter). In July the Colloquium on Violence and Religion conference is being held in St. Louis and Gil is toying with the idea of making a presentation at that venue. If a publisher finds the manuscript of interest no doubt there will be some discussion regarding edits, title, etc that will take thought and attention.

One of the matters a prospective publisher takes into consideration these days is the availability of the text under consideration via other formats whether digital or audio. Because of this we will be taking down our member’s only Scriptorium web site soon. This will actually be part of a larger overhaul of our web presence discussed below.

The scope of matters brought forth in the course of the manuscript is vast, as those who have availed themselves of the Scriptorium website’s draft installments over the past five years have seen. Gil mentioned recently that he ends the text with a kind of hymn to the Eucharist in which all is bound together. As I listened to him express this I was reminded of a response Leonard Cohen made last year in an interview when asked about his songwriting. He said, “If I knew where the good songs come from I’d go there more often. [Songwriting] is much like the life of a Catholic nun. You’re married to a mystery.” I’m pretty sure Gil’s manuscript will not be set to music. But for those whose experience of life encompasses a sacramental understanding of life’s every aspect this comes very close to saying it all.

One of the quotes being considering for the preface to the text is, naturally, from Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Jesus Christ is called Alpha and Omega: he has not only bound us back to our lost beginning, the Father, but has also set us in motion toward his absolute future. He alone is the force that binds together the beginning and the end, the force that can reconcile in itself, as the higher third, the two divergent world views: past and future

Upcoming changes to the website…

In the coming weeks we will be taking down our member’s only Scriptorium website ( and then moving our main Cornerstone Forum website to a new hosting company. In the process the site will be offline for a short time. It is being redesigned with the intention of making it more user friendly. Our weblog will also be integrated into the site so there will only be one website address for all of our ongoing content (except for any social media outlets we might use). Our current website has served us well for over ten years. It will take us all some time to get used to the new regime once it is in place. And there will, of course, be glitches that will need to be worked out. We ask for your patience with this process.

Because over the past years we proposed giving access to our Scriptorium site to anyone making a minimum donation of $5/month or $60/year, and we continue to be helped in our work by many who took advantage of this; we are now making this minimum level of support include as a benefit the downloadable MP3 audio files we make available each month to our donors.

And as ever, thank you!

We are very grateful for all who find our work of value and assist us with their material support, encouragement and prayers. We could not do our work without your help.

Gil Bailie and
Randy Coleman-Riese

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 10-3 The Inferno

The Annunciation and knowing the future -

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 10-2 The Inferno

Fate and Amphiareus (one of the seven against Thebes). The only god you can meet in a predictable universe is a false one.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 10-1 The Inferno

Canto 20 - reflections on Moses and the burning bush. He learns God's name, or does he? Moses encounters one who will not be determined.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 9-10 The Inferno

While the universe may be viewed as evolving or progressing it is better understood as fundamentally an Incarnating cosmos. Also, while there are may be legitimate and practical concerns for the future, when our focus is on determining or knowing the future we miss our proper orientation to the intersection of time with the timeless.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 9-9 The Inferno

The intersection of time and timelessness will happen only in the presence of the human mind.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reflections on Dante's Divine Comedy - Pt 9-8 The Inferno

Continuing with TS Eliot's Dry Salvages from The Four Quartets...viewed at a close commentary on Canto XX of The Inferno. Preoccupation with the past and/or future is a sign of small 'h' hope. Whereas in the mystery of timelessness in the midst of each individual person's history is found the virtue of Hope, and the purview of the saint.
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.