Wendell Berry’s Apology for Theology

Wendell Berry

Having written some pages in favor of Jesus

I receive a solemn commendation crediting me

with the possession of a “theology” by which

I acquire the strange dignity of being wrong

forever or forever right.  Have I gauged exactly


enough the weights of sins?  Have I found

too much of the Hereafter in the Here? Or

the other way around? Have I found too much

pleasure, too much beauty and goodness in this

our unreturning world?  Oh Lord, please forgive


any smidge of such distinctions I may

have still in my mind.  I meant to leave them

all behind a long time ago. If I’m a theologian

I am one to the extent I have learned to duck


when the small, haughty doctrines fly overhead,

dropping their loads of whitewash at random

on the faces of those who look toward Heaven.

Look down, look down and save your soul


by honester dirt that receives with a lordly

indifference this off-fall of the air.  Christmas

night and Easter morning are this soil’s only laws.



(Poem VII. in Leavings by Wendell Berry)

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