The Wildest Being in Existence

Idolatry always reduces to the worship of something “made with hands,” something confined within the terms of human work and human comprehension. Thus, Solomon and Saint Paul both insisted on the largeness and the at-largeness of God, setting Him free, so to speak, from ideas about Him. He is not to be fenced in, under human control, like some domestic creature; He is the wildest being in existence. The presence of His spirit in us is our wildness, our oneness with the wilderness of Creation. That is why subduing the things of nature to human purposes is so dangerous and why it so often results in evil, in separation and desecration. It is why the poets of our tradition so often have given nature the role not only of mother or grandmother but of the highest earthly teacher and judge, a figure of mystery and great power. Jesus’ own specifications for his church have nothing at all to do with masonry and carpentry but only with people; his church is “where two or three are gathered together in my name.”

-Wendell Berry, Christianity and the Survival of Creation

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