Face washed and pants on

“I took to studying the ones of my teachers who were also preachers, and also the preachers who came to speak in chapel and at various exercises. In most of them I saw the old division of body and soul that I had known at The Good Shepherd. The same rift ran through everything at Pigeonville College; the only difference was that I was able to see it more clearly, and to wonder at it. Everything bad was laid on the body, and everything good was credited to the soul. It scared me a little when I realized that I saw it the other way around. if the soul and body really were divided, then it seemed to me that all the worst sins – hatred and anger and self-righteousness and even greed and lust – came from the soul. But these preachers I’m talking about all thought that the soul could do no wrong, but always had its face washed and its pants on and was in agony over having to associate with the flesh and the world. And yet these same people believed in the resurrection of the body.”

-Wendell Berry in Jayber Crow: A Novel (Counterpoint, 2000), p.49


4 thoughts on “Face washed and pants on

  1. Thanks for another great quote and for continuing to inspire me to read more than I currently am, but not as much as I say I'd like to. I still don't know how you manage to fit so much reading time into your busy life. I admire your mental stamina.Wendell Berry is an author I've been recommended a couple times in my life by people I respect, but don't necessarily agree with (present company excluded). Since I'm somewhat of a Kentuckian now I guess it's time to pick up one of his books. I'm sure our library must carry him.After briefly scanning Wikipedia I'm fascinated by his convictions and associations. Thomas Merton? Very interesting. Whom was also a resident of Kentucky at the Abbey of Gethsemani. I didn't realize that about him.

  2. The best way to tackle Berry is to just start reading. Probably best to start with his essays, since each stands alone and you can read one and put the book down until you have time to read another. I loved What Are People For? (skip the first part of the book, which is book reviews). I don't agree with or identify with everything he writes, but he's a fascinating man and gifted writer.

  3. Most of Wendell Berry's essays are available online. There's even one that is on something like the Lesbian society of America, which is a wonderful essay starting with why he has his wife type his essays for him.Joel, completely agree: just start reading. I've been reading Fidelity and have enjoyed the stories.


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