About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Christmas tank

Right before this Christmas a friend from Florida shared with me this picture - a battle tank M60 all decked with Christmas lights.
    I though what a strange sight! I could think only of one similar example - The Pink tank of Prague. It was a Russian tank displayed on a high pedestal in the center of Prague and it was painted Pink in protest against Russian imperialism and militarism. It even caused an international diplomatic incident. You know, imperialists do not appreciate humor at their expense.
    But such mockery was certainly not behind the tank in Florida since it stands in front of a Veterans’ clubhouse hangout and veterans don’t usually poke fun of themselves. I also did a quick google search and found about another dozen of Christmas decorated tanks all over the United States and in military bases overseas.
    It gave me pause. The Florida tank was clearly not an outlier. It was part of a well established practice. Those who decorate tanks for Christmas - What kind of Christmas do they celebrate? What kind of Christianity do they confess? What kind of Christ-Child do they welcome? One wrapped in camouflage swaddling clothes? Have they ever heard about the birth of the Prince of Peace?
    These poeple must follow some kind of a strange bellicose religion! And there is indeed a great need to return Christ to Christmas! Right among those who scream for it the most.
    And that is something you might not know, or I certainly did not know, about American religiosity. And there is also a good reason for a Peace Church like Rutgers to exist, to preach and worship and witness to the coming of the Prince of Peace.


Chickadee and a falling tree

About two weeks ago I was photographing chickadees on Iona Island on the Hudson River. And then suddenly came a gust of wind and a big dead old oak tree came crushing down just a few yards behind me. I jumped up really shaken just like the little chickadee who flew away.

       That entire experience got me thinking.... You know, there is a famous philosophical thought experiment which goes like this "If a tree falls in a forest and no person is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" 

       And the precise scientific answer is NO. Because sound is an air vibration as transmitted by our ear and recognized as sound only in our brain. The falling tree produces air vibrations, they become sound only in the brain of a person. If there is no person to hear, there is no sound." 

       But there is an inherent problem with this technical answer as I observed the chickadee. Humans are not the only creatures to hear. In a forest, there is always someone to receive and process air vibrations, actually hundreds and thousands of creatures! We even know that other trees and plants and mushrooms can sense, process and react to vibrations.

        The thought experiment about the falling tree was clearly designed by some arrogant anthropocentric philosophers all puffed up with human self-importance. Forest itself is a one great and constant dialogue of all possible creatures. Yes, it is more than a dialogue, it is a symphony composed and played and appreciated by an intricate lacework of forest creatures.


This Sunday we will rejoice in the Divine vision of nature in harmony. Join us in worship on this Second Sunday in Advent when we listen to Isaiah 11:6-10.