The Tiller Man


In the beginning. The solemnity, in the beginning. Before the unraveling.

Girls. Girls, looking for attention. With their self image, and all. In the unraveling world, she spent a lot of time on her self-image. And she looked great.

I had not given enough thought . . . about the old paradigms unraveling? The change in the story…. to the garden. To me. About the unraveling world. About the speed of the unraveling. Of my world? And what it was that would be downloaded to replace it.

The solemnity. Of this young woman. The one that I met last week. Or was it 20 years ago? What are you gonna do with these gifts? Over time? The ones I downloaded before there was an internet

“I want to reach the deepest part of your inner being.” If she had one. So I bought this Tea for the Tillerman 8 track. For my car.

In the beginning…..just one bite of the apple. The ambition in the story …of the characters.. The ambition of a man, the ambition of a woman. In the world. Even in the garden. The story about the future. About time.

The solemnity….with an awareness of the solemnity, in the beginning. In a relationship. In the search for the divine. Who could see the unraveling, as it happened? To my world. With just one bite. Where was my attention? Where was her attention? Wanting a piece of me. She wanted a piece of me. And I wanted a stake of her. Despite the doubts about what seemed most true.

All those questions. In the beginning. No real answers … in the beginning. Who knew the solemnity, in the beginning? With just one bite? When it was not enough to encourage, to applaud. When there was the need to act. On love.

Man in Search of Woman. Woman in Search of Man. Winter into spring. The radical change. In the beginning, no real answers. Abraham Joshua Heschel titled a book, God in Search of Man.

In the Torah, the point of view … “Then the Lord called to the man and asked him, ‘Where are you?'” How fast things happen. The winds of change, after just one bite of the apple.

The point of time … in these stories. Since the days of the perfect tenses, in the past. Before all the unraveling …the keeper of flocks, the tiller of soil. The first job descriptions. Cain and Abel. When they both honored God from the work of human hands. And then what happened? In the story? When the future was now. As boundaries were set.

The Promise Land. What happens in the Promise Land? What was supposed to happen there, in the garden? To the garden. With the winds of change. When somehow the tomatoes, the old-fashioned tomatoes, became organic tomatoes. Was this tort reform? With an increased price? How fast things happen to the Law. Once the Law was passed down. The anger at the unfairness. Of systems of slavery, or new systems that replaced them. In the Promise Land, have you seen the price of organic fruit and vegetables?

To move populations through righteous anger…to a promise land. Emigrants having to leave. Through no fault of their own, refugees. With a desire for freedom. And safety.

What was the point of view of the next generation, in the search for the divine? In the point of view of Cain, the tiller of soil. The first born. Trying to work on becoming more worthy. In the beginning. In sacrifice. Freely trying in worship, bringing an offering to God from the fruit of the soil. Thoughtfully, in worship, what else could a tiller of soil have brought? As the keeper of flocks had brought the best firstlings of his flock, God looked with favor on his brother and was not impressed with Cain. The best offerings from the soil never really stood out. The point of view was all about God’s. Cain deeply resented God’s point of view. Or maybe he resented that he had been asked to be the tiller of soil? When his work never would stand out. The bonds developed in relationship, through sacrifice. In kinship to God, and thoughtfully passing on that kinship. Maybe it was the missing bonds which never developed in relationship, through sacrifice. With sincerity in content. And Cain took out his resentment in his relationship with God on Abel.

Content, much like the view from Ontario in the 17th Century, from an Ojibwe: “Where there is much grass, even in the month of the flowers.”

Beyond the reach and vocabulary of the masses, there is content. The high priests with their Office, starting their day, all over the world … priests who were instructed to thoughtfully read the same thing –in a sense, praying for content in the day. With implications, in the beginning, a priest in worship, reads his Office.  Over what is inside…. what else might a priest have brought …. but words? Reading his Office, over what is inside.

Looking for the human “fragment of salvation,” in the search for the divine. Note all of the conflict over points of view. Where was my self-image in all of this, and how could I prove something about myself ….through my work? Where exactly was I needed — like Abel had been needed? Who exactly was ever worthy of this inheritance?  When the firstborn actually had the land, it had been Abel who was forced to live like a shepherd.

“I’m Just a Kid, Caught In the Middle.” In these stories that were so much alive, about Cain. Did he become the keeper of the flocks, when Abel was gone? After the moral outrage of murder of his brother? When Abel was gone, from the point of view of God, was there moral outrage? In the days before the great famine and all of its implications, there was still Cain, responsible for growing the crops. The crops connected to the fatted calf that Abel had been sacrificing. So had Cain gotten what he set out for, after the murder — a job change to his own self-image? And in the content of his self-image, how had the world changed?

Where were you in these stories?  Like all these people in the Torah who had multiple wives? Esau. Jacob. Or Abraham, with his wife’s servant girl willing to do anything. The seemingly holy men of the Torah. In the times, in a world without specific laws about sex or even commandments about murder. After Cain, what would be the point of view of the next generation, in the search for the divine? About fertility?

Live. Work. Love. Pray. Where were you in “this’ story? In “this?” Did you feel the restlessness of a young man? Did Cain ever see his own part in the food he was eating every day. In this work? In this family? From the crops which had been so alive. “This” food. Had Cain inherited something else from Eve and from Adam? Was it the “Let me out of here” feeling as a 21-year old: Let me out of this school, this garden? And let me into the real world.

The food that he needed. That every free young human needed. That came from his work. Enslaved by so much work?  Each day because of the sweet apple…because of his father. Or had it been because of his mother?

Passover.  Wanting a pass in this life?  When there was so much work, too much work, to be done?  Do you see all the people who are enslaved by all the work?  Who has time to worship or look for God? Where was I in the story? Enslaved by what Egyptian in my life?  In my job?  In the ongoing story of my family? About all the unraveling in my world.

It was all about the content.  The networks … whether television, or the internet. Beyond the hardware and the software, it is about the information. And self-image.

Content, relevant content, in the world of current events. There is need for content, in search for the divine, with the internet.  Would relevant content survive, in the point of view of the next generation?

Paying for content. With the current business model, Comcast was paying ESPN, the Big Ten Channel, Disney, Fox Sport for entertainment.  In Madison, Wisconsin, the parent company of WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate, no longer shows up on the lineup of channels courtesy of his AT&T U-Verse feed.  On cable television, sports networks did not even need to sell commercials for their content to survive. Comcast, the local cable provider with its wires into my home, was dispersing money to the networks, while the same Comcast, the local internet service provider, was not paying anyone for providing the content, in this business model, the networks do not share their revenues from sponsors with the cable providers.  As a result, like the newspapers throughout the world, soon the traditional radio and television networks would be dying. As their product was read for free. With no mention of financial assistance.

“When you should have what we have.”  In search for the divine.  Freedom House, a US-based international non-governmental organization which conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, published its annual report assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each of the world’s countries: 89 countries could be called free (46% of the world population live there), 58 countries “partially free” (20% of the world population), and 47 countries not free (34% of the world population, or 2.3 billion people).

When you should have what we have.  Freedom. Safety. Content. The point of view of a story: There was introduction of a resolution on human rights in the the European Parliament about Belarus initiated by the European People’s Party, whose member is European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek.  With no mention by him of financial assistance to help the people of Belarus on issues of use or abuse of power by the current oppressive leadership. European Parliament had not challenging the sovereignty of a nation, like the United States had done in Iraq; rather, the European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing regret over absence of progress in the area of human rights and freedoms. Karel De Gucht proposed an agreement on partnership and cooperation between the EU and Belarus which could motivate Belarusian authorities toward democratic reforms.  With no mention of financial assistance.

Passing on a way of life.  Like Passover.  As you had lost everything. Or when you seemed to have suddenly lost everything.  Like Eve and Adam were banished from their home. And then Cain.

Passover somehow is this ultimate profession of love . . . with the suddenness in these stories. Passover was not so much a protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship. In the beginning.  Even when you had lost everything which had seemed to provide meaning.  When you one night left it all behind.  Surrounded by the plagues of the world.  Like real estate bubbles.  Or inflated stock indexes.  Or fiat money that might be soon worth nothing.  After you had worked all of your life for something and it was gone.  Where you had lost a daughter.  Or a son.  Or a spouse caught up in the material world.  Or a parent in The Holocaust.  Or like the old holocausts of worship, when symbolically everyone started over each week.  Like Cain or Abel. In search for the divine.  That you might have, should have, what Adam had, what Eve had.  Information.  Content.  Or a personal experience, a family experience, of God’s love.

The solemnity.  Spending a lot of time on self-image. In worship. So the next generation could reach the destination which had come with a struggle. The Promise Land. So who was worthy of this inheritance?  after your first-born son had murdered his brother.  Who is worthy of this religious tradition?  Of the Promise Land.  After Moses asked the Pharaoh, at the Lord’s stated request. “Let my people go to worship me.”

“Let my people go to worship me.”  Beyond the reach and vocabulary of the masses.  In the search for the divine.  Like Cain before him, Moses had killed, and now what?  When you shared a heritage, or a culture, What would be the point of view of the next generation?  When you had lost everything, or you seemed to have suddenly lost everything.  Like Eve and Adam were banished from their home … and then Cain.  With the suddenness in these unsettling stories, now Moses, trying to work on becoming more worthy, in the point of view, with sacrifice in self-image and solemnity.

With all of the movement in the story, like Cain, having to move again, perhaps with awareness in if not an understanding of the missing bond — like the later missing bond between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, the first recorded twins.  The content of Passover was through sacrifice and hard times, developing a kinship to your God, as a people developed a point of view which had once been God’s viewpoint alone.  Bonds which developed in relationship, through sacrifice, to God’s point of view, when His work, His creation, had never once stood out to that tiller of soil, but now would to these one-time slaves?  Stories like the one about Cain, about Noah’s wife, about Abraham and Sarah, and now about Moses, to inspire an audience to forestall species extinctions.  The one with the echo of an inner hollowness of death.  Or the aching involved to get out –of an egg.  Passover was not so much a protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship.  In the beginning … as the ultimate profession of love.

When you had lost everything, what would be the point of view of the next generation about stories read for free, with no mention of financial assistance?  Like the lack of assistance from the Pharaoh, until the death of his own firstborn?  In the book Writers on Writing written and published by Bread Loaf Anthology in 1991, Richard Ford begins one chapter in this book called “Reading,” stating that he really learned to read at the age of 25 as he prepared to teach English in college.  Ford’s problem was teaching young students in the relevancy business — who demanded relevancy in everything — how to read carefully. Could you compare the number of generations that the Hebrews spent in slavery to the number of generations between Adam and Eve until arriving at the point of the story of Noah?  In an approach of numbers to the Book of Genesis …. if you approached God, as presented in those 30 foot scrolls of the Torah of the Hebrew Bible, to one developing character, in what has been lost about the First Creation, and what must be done to bring it back.  Ford’s problem was teaching young students about character, point of view, with authors showing growth and change of the character. Even with God, in the stories in the Book of Genesis, characters are presented having to answer for themselves the questions:  How did He affect you?  Did He frighten you?  Did you love Him?  What was He after?   Did He change much during the time that you knew Him?  What most impressed you about Him?

Once hearing complaints of a young student who objected that in the study of history — there are no people her age in the stories which made her feel so “invisible,” as though she did not, would not, qualify as a real — the study of history mostly involves the pain of adults, in what has been lost about the First Creation, and what must be done to bring back the missing bond which led to the first of all murders — after the beginning, with a solemnity after the unraveling, with all the resulting shame.

Rushed out of Egypt.  Six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting the children, set free. Along with their numerous flocks and herds … with no mention of the women, during the lambing season. After 430 years in slavery to the Egyptians, wanting a stake in the world beyond that place of slavery. In the Promise Land.  Freely trying in worship, bringing an offering to God in the desert.  With a sincerity in content. Thoughtfully, in worship?  With all of the radical suffering in the world, along with the radical love, maybe with a developing bond which a slave could never quite develop in relationship.  Through sacrifice and hard times, when a people developed a point of view which had once been God’s viewpoint alone — God’s point of view, when His work, His creation, had never once stood out to that tiller of soil, but now would to these one-time slaves?  Bonds which developed in relationship, through sacrifice.  In kinship to God.  A viewpoint thoughtfully passed on through that kinship.  In answer to the question. ‘Who in the name of God do you think you are?’
Copyright © 2010. 

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1 comment so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    And so begins the basic human conflict, with Cain and Abel. Over how to worship perfectly. Or over pride in worship. As one brother killed the other, over matters of worship. So in his “regrets, I’ve had a few” moment, did Adam ever second-guess himself. Over not separating his sons, on matter of worship. In how to pass on the proper ways to worship? Was this the same thing that had gotten Eve and him banished into the real world? In the question of whom really knew God the best? When more and more, people gave up trying to know the God of Adam best? Because I’m just a kid, caught in the middle.

    And the conflict, between East and West, in matters of law and governing, has always been over the concept of Authority. The female mind likes to use reason, where the male mind just wants to use a force.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/25/belarus-had-a-huge-protest-today-is-it-the-beginning-of-a-movement-or-the-end/


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