The PARABOLA SUMMER 2011 Issue has sprouted!
FOCUS | From the Editor
THIS SUMMER 2011 issue of PARABOLA explores the universal rhythms of giving and receiving.
We know that life is a gift. How do we receive it? The exceptional man who opens our Giving & Receiving issue, Gregory Boyle, chose the path of a Jesuit priest—or did the path choose him?—and now tends the souls of gang members on the hardest streets of Los Angeles. The issue begins with a powerful excerpt from the priest’s memoir, TATTOOS OF THE HEART, followed by an in-depth conversation with “Father G.”
Other contributors to this issue respond to the gift of life in varying ways. Mary Oliver writes poems that celebrate nature and speak to our inner-most self; we are proud to offer four new poems from her here. Joseph Bruchac, one of PARABOLA’S founding contributors, returns with a rewarding meditation on American Indian Giving that reflects his deep experience and knowledge. Another contributing editor, Margo McLoughlin, translates Jataka tales from the original Pali, enriching our treasury of wisdom stories about the Buddha, as in this issue’s “The Antelope Birth,” a charming story of unexpected mutual support and friendship.
And then there is Wavy Gravy, the legendary trickster whose entire life seems both gift and myth. Interviewed here by our West Coast editor Richard Whittaker, he reveals that, like many of us, he finds giving easy enough, but receiving is for him a “work in progress.”
Why is receiving so difficult? Joshua Boettiger, a rabbi, approaches that question in an essay that ties in God, Moses, and Bob Dylan; it is our vulnerability, he explains, that makes us wary of receiving.
Even so, to be alive means to constantly receive—impressions, food, energies—and to unceasingly give as well. We are each a facet of Indra’s net, connected to everyone around us, and every breath, every gesture, every thought resonates in some way, for good or for ill, serving either, as Gregory Boyle puts it, the so-called “Real World” or “The Kingdom of God.” For just as there is exchange on this earthly level, there is giving and receiving between levels, both Higher and lower, as evidenced by numerous contributors here. As William Segal writes in this issue’s ARCS:
Man’s body mediates
Energies on every level.