Thursday, June 8, 2017


These are troubling, disturbing, even dark times in which our basic institutions of church and state and being tested to their cores. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the gravity of all of this. The grand old diocese of South Carolina lies shattered in four parts and bitterly divided, hostile parties in civic courts. There is no resolution in sight. The courts appear to be unable to resolve the differences. Our federal government is now being tested to see if the old constitutional system can stand the challenge of a president who does not understand, let alone respect, the basics of the American constitutional governmental structure. The problems of both church and state here stem from the same basic issue: government by laws or by men. As for the old diocese, the majority decided that it would no longer recognize the rule of church law and turned to guidance of a leadership that declared it alone knew truth. They threw in their lot with a highly authoritarian system in defiance of the standing church law. In short, they chose rule of man over rule of law. President Trump is trying to do the same, to set up personal power in disregard of the traditional structure of the government. He is challenging the country to decide between rule of law and rule of man. I think the government is strong enough to stand up for itself although getting there will be traumatic. We have always been a country of the rule of law and I am confident this will prevail.

Yesterday, I returned to work in my garden for the first time in six months. I managed two periods of work. It was my best day in months and I slept soundly afterwards. This lifted my spirits greatly. I think we are all in need a lift now. So, let's take a break and walk around my garden as it appeared this morning. (You see from the weeds all the work I still have to do, but then a garden that will not grow good weeds is not much of a garden.)

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii, "Black Knight") and Sabal minor "McCurtain." In late afternoon, the bush is covered with numerous monarch butterflies.

Gardenia "August Beauty." Every southern garden should have gardenia, for the aroma is nothing else.

Dwarf peach tree (Prunus persica 'Bonanza').

Japanese Pea Shrub (Lespedeza thunbergii). Tiny purple flowers from frost to frost.

Every southern garden/yard should have a banana tree.

Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus). Tough perennial.

Andorra juniper, lower; Dwarf Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria 'Nana'), middle; Abelia grandiflora 'Sherwood,' with white flowers.

Beyond, or in spite of, all the disturbing events going on all around us, the beauty and wonder of God's creation is a constant. It is always there. It reminds us that in the big picture there is an order in the universe that exists independently of human behavior, good, bad or indifferent.