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A friend who is taking a course on Christianity at a university said to me this weekend that the word translated as carpenter actually means craftsman and could mean Jesus was a stonemason.

This is an old and useless debate that brings to light the sterility of the academic process.

Jesus was not known as a friend of academics, lawyers, priests, and scholars. In fact over and over in THE GOSPELS He calls them walking pieces of shit (in barely more polite language): “You are robbers of widows and orphans with fake prayers for the dead,” “You are whitewashed tombs clean on the outside full of the stink of decay within,”…..

He was known as a friend of drinkers and sinners.

This is something that just about everyone who embraces what they believe is a “Christian life” seems to either not know or to ignore.

The plain fact of the matter is that in THE NEW TESTAMENT Jesus absolutely revels in the company people who see themselves as good do their best to avoid.

One can spend a lifetime in academia. That will be a lifetime wasted.

Unfortunately this fellow comes from the worst kind of poverty. His family has money.

How can I call that the worst kind of poverty?

Because people with money have money to fall back on.

The rich young man comes to Jesus asking, “What must I do to inherit the kingdom of God.”

After Jesus answers the rich young man says, “I have done that from birth.”

Jesus replies, “One thing is lacking. Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor. Follow me.”

The rich young man walks away.

This is the one thing he can not and will not do.

Jesus then says, “It is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of daddy.”



Jesus not only called God “daddy” he calls us to call no man “daddy” except God.

He outraged the academics, priests, lawyers and scholars with the use of “abba” which is “daddy.”

At one point when these fine folk are busy throwing stones at him Jesus says, “For what good deed do you stone me?”

They reply, “Because you, being a man, call God ‘daddy’ and thus make yourself equal to God.”

Jesus replies, “Have you not read in your own writings, ‘You are gods?'”

A fellow at one of my programs said, “But he said ‘gods’ with a small ‘g.'”

This is the poverty of academia.

It sees the dead word on the page. It does not hear the living word on the ear.

Gods with a small “g” my ass.

We are called to call God “daddy” and thus make ourselves equal with God.

If we have what it takes to do that the seed of God in us will grow.

“We have the seed of God in us. Hazel  seeds produce Hazel trees. Pear seeds produce Pear trees. God seeds produce Gods.”–Meister Eckhart.

“You have one teacher, God,” states Jesus.

As for the waste of time our colleges, schools and universities are, well, here are strong secular voices:

“Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton.

“School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,”–Ivan Illich.

“We get three educations. The first is from our parents; the second is from our schoolmasters. The third is from life. The last makes liars of the first two.”–Montesquieu.

“Film students should stay as far away from film schools and film teachers as possible. The only school for the cinema is the cinema.”-Bernardo Bertolucci.

“He who without the Muse’s madness in his soul comes knocking at the door of poesy and thinks that art will make him anything fit to be called a poet, finds that the poetry which he indites in his sober senses is beaten hollow by the poetry of madmen.”-Plato.

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very great mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”—Albert Einstein.

“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.”–George Bernard Shaw.

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”–Bertrand Russell.

“I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs

“So long as (man) cannot operate as a savage or less than a savage, and think as a god, or better than god, he will suffer…A man who is full of God is outside of faith…When a man is truly creative he works single-handed and he wants no help. A man acting alone, on faith, can accomplish what trained armies are incapable of doing. To believe in one’s self, in one’s own powers, is apparently the most difficult thing in the world…Whenever an English artist of any value has arisen he has been marked as Public Enemy No. 1.”–THE COSMOLOGICAL EYE, Henry Miller.

The history of the human race has always been, that the theorists (priests) of one generation collect examples and make rules out of them from the lives of the preceding generation, which did not know it
was making rules.

“So we shall let the reader answer the question for himself, ‘Who is the happier man? He who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed?”— Hunter S. Thompson (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS) in his high school year book at 17.

“The child sees more clearly than the adult (who has already decided what he will and will not see).”–William S. Burroughs.

“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”—John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

“The reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance. Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you only have an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not  borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much…

“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued advisor who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, ‘What do I have with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?’ my friend suggested, ‘–But these impulses may be from below, not from above,’ I replied. ‘They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil’s child, I will then live as one from the Devil.’ No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. Good and bad are but names transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it…I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvements are the paths of genius.”– PROVERBS FROM HELL, William Blake.

We are all born walking the path of genius. Why exchange that silk purse for the sow’s ear?

Until One Is Committed

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,  always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have  come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.


For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.
Marge Piercy (1936-)

Copyright 1982 Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy Alfred A. Knopf. Notes : M.F.A.’s: Master of Fine Arts degrees. phlogiston: invisible hypothetical matter or `principle’ thought to combine with all combustible bodies and be expelled during burning — a concept popular in the 18th century but abandoned once oxygen was discovered.

“Writing is a gift. It can not be taught. All I could do by teaching it is destroy the gift in myself and damage it in those I would be teaching.”-CATCHER IN THE RYE author J. D. Salinger after turning down millions of dollars to teach writing at Yale or Harvard.

“It’s all a matter of getting out of the way of yourself, or you’re dead. Standing out of the way and letting what you really know take over.”-William S. Burroughs, author of NAKED LUNCH.

“Whatever the world condemns you for, make it your own. It is yourself.”-Jean Cocteau.


I met the Bishop on the road And much said he and I.
“Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon run dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul pigsty.”

“Fair and foul and near of kin,
And fair needs foul,” I cried,
“My friends are gone, but that’s the truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

“A woman can be proud and stiff
when on love intent;
But love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not first been rent!”
-William Butler Yeats.

“Invent nothing. Deny nothing. Stand up. Speak up. Stay out of school.”–David Mamet.

–Reg Hartt—2019—09—18.




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