Sunday, January 7, 2018

What Is Justice?

 “The clear meaning of “justice” is “what is right” or “what is normal” — the way things are supposed to be. The fairness of laws coupled with fair and equal treatment under the law are common biblical concerns. Throughout scripture, God is the defender and protector of the poor, the alien, the debtor, the widow, and the orphan. Justice can also mean “deliverance,” “victory,” “vindication,” or “prosperity” — but for all, not just a few. Justice is part of God’s purpose in redemption.

One of the clearest and most holistic words for justice is the Hebrew shalom, which means both “justice” and “peace.” Shalom includes “wholeness,” or everything that makes for people’s well being, security, and, in particular, the restoration of relationships that have been broken. Justice, therefore, is about repairing broken relationships both with other people and to structures — of courts and punishments, money and economics, land and resources, and kings and rulers.” 

Quote from Wallis,  How the Bible Understands Justice ( )

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Life Doesn't Wait

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 is the famous Biblical passage which declares, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: ... a time to plant, and a time to uproot ...."  My garden is a reminder this week that (1) timing is important, and (2)  the proper time for planting is not a matter depending on convenience for me.  Ecclesiastes is right, after all.  There is, indeed, a time to plant. It's spring. For most of us, the time is now.

By June, we can expect some days over 100 degrees F here. I've learned that trick where I live is to get an early start on spring gardening, so that plants have time to produce a crop before the summer heat sets in and they are unable to cope with the heat. (For instance, tomatoes no longer produce flowers or fruit after the temperature reaches 95°.) I had set a goal to have my seedlings in sprouting pots very early, so that they could be set out at the earliest date after there was no danger of frost anymore.

In terms of gardening timing, once again I've been a failure. I didn't make the cut! Even though I started numerous veggie seeds indoors on March 1st, that wasn't soon enough!  It is already late, in terms of having nicely filled out seedlings ready to put out into my garden by the time of the last frost.  The little plants I put out this week look like tiny sprigs instead of baby bushes!

Broccoli Seedlings 3/28/17

Procrastination is easy.  I've been so busy this spring on other things! So many excuses!   It's cold outside in the mornings, I'm out of the habit, I'm busy, etc., Yet, excuses have no meaning in terms of real life effects. . It doesn't matter how busy I am. With regard to my garden and the need to work in it, time was still moving forward, no matter what my other plans were.

 Photos from last year are indictments of my tardiness! Some things simply are time sensitive. If we miss an opportunity, the opportunity is indeed gone. By this time last year, I had lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, kale, all well underway for spring dining.  

Fortunately, the consequences for me are relatively inconsequential since I'm still able to purchase food in the grocery store or produce market. No one will starve on account of my failure.


The purpose of this post is not really to talk about the timing of garden plantings, but really to talk more about failure and how I cope with it. We all fall short of our own expectations from time to time.

One of my first inquiries is to ask, "Who did I fail?" If I failed someone else, I may need to do something to undue harm or to prevent harm to them. I may need to apologize.  In the garden situation, I'm spared this step because the only person I've failed is myself. My expectation was that I would have been keenly aware of the timing of planting my seedlings to get a great start on my Spring garden. I set a goal to watch my calendar and be very proactive this spring. I failed at that. 

I don't like failure. Does anybody? What do we do about it, when we fail at our personal goals?  Well, one thing is that in order to learn from any failure, we must first acknowledge that it  happened.  Another step is to analyze what went wrong and fix things so they don't happen again.  A third, obvious but sometimes more difficult step, is to pick ourselves up and move on. 

In terms of learning from failure, it is important to understand what went wrong.  Keeping a diary of what works and what doesn't work in my garden is a great idea. Based on my records, I know that this time last year I had little lettuces,  spinach, chard, broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage, all well along toward providing Spring harvest. Setting goals, documenting our progress,  and providing ourselves with yardsticks to measure by is a good way to keep track of how we are doing. (Last year, I killed some plants by applying too much fertilizer.  Oops, won't do that again!)  Whether we fail or succeed, measurements and documentation help us learn from both our successes and our mistakes.  

Dates and Labels help with documentation and identification later
Another thing I know is that, while it is helpful to learn from mistakes, beating myself up mentally and dwelling on the past will not help me. The only option real option  is to move forward from where I am now.  I cannot really make up for lost time, I cannot undo the consequences. All I can do (besides making amends with those whom I've wronged) is to make the best decisions I am able to make from this point forward. 

I am pleased at the thought that my gardening this season is (so far at least) not yet a total failure. There is room for redemption!  I do have broccoli seedlings and tomato seedlings and artichoke seedlings and pepper seedlings ... They are not as far along as I would like, but it's better than nothing and hopefully not futile to plant them. Here's to moving forward. 

Broccoli Seedlings 3/28/17
Eggplant Seedlings 3/28/17