Ludwig and Jacob, at the Wreckage of the Tower of Babble

“My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)”

-Ludwig Wittgenstien


The hubris, of course, was aimed  upward,

And therefore was an easy thing to pull out of their tower and into His grasp.

Those great calloused sculptor-hands reshaped it into something new.


Ambition had been the organizing principle and the support structure of that project

Cracks spiderwebbed through the bricks.

Mortar, which held the promise of changing everything, dried

And released the blocks from its embrace.


There was a terrible, timeless time of silence.

A gentle swaying in a soft breeze, at first.

But the tower never returned to its baseline.

The noise came, then.  It was all noise, then.


Broken dreams and shattered bricks littered the ground.

They looked at each other with haunted eyes.

Unable to string together words of comfort,

They resorted to pantomime which was unequal to the task.


They left then,

In ones and twos and flocks.

They left then,

On foot and horse back and wagon.


It took a day and a second and a week.

The length of time it takes

To relive a life,

Flashing before the eyes.


Only two remained

In the wreckage of the tower of babylon.

Only two remained:

Ludwig, one was named.  Jacob, the other was named.


God looked down on them.

The hubris had grown warm in his hands.

The hubris had grown new in his hands.


Ludwig and Jacob built a ladder.

Each man built his own ladder.

Each man, worked together on the same ladder.

That ladder was a wave and a particle.


It stretched itself up, and up, and up to heaven itself.

But it had come with an invitation.

The angels began to run up and down.

Ludwig began to climb around them, and planned to kick it down when he reached the first cloud.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “Ludwig and Jacob, at the Wreckage of the Tower of Babble”

  1. I don’t know how I missed your comment! Sorry! And thank you. Sure, please do share it with your class.


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