Skip to main content

Are you at home?

A few weeks ago I was taking a train ride back to Stratford, Ontario where we used to live and as often happens when I travel, I found myself experiencing that strange jumbled sensation which simultaneously and randomly shifts my emotions from the sadness at leaving home to the joy of coming home to wondering exactly where home is to longing for familiar friends and places, yet knowing I will never find them exactly as I remembered them to excitement at the new adventures and relationships I have yet to discover. As I let the changing moods and scenery drift past me, I was reminded of one of my favourite playtime activities as a child: building a home. I spent hours drawing houses on paper and envisioning the 3-D model in my mind. Often I dragged all the kitchen chairs into my bedroom and constructed a maze of hallways and walls. The tall grass and trees along our driveway were the perfect raw materials for creating a primitive outdoor getaway with several small rooms and a grass bed. A simple wool blanket became a tent in my front yard where I could read a book or watch the clouds as the wind morphed them from one abstract masterpiece to another.

I suppose I have moved quite a bit for the average Canadian (13 homes, 2 school dorms, and one year on the road…thus far) and the practice of making a home out of whatever I find around me has been a perpetual mission in my life, but every so often, the whole thing just gets old and tired and I wish I would finally find a place I could plant my feet in and stay put. However, this restlessness is not mine to eradicate and if it were to disappear, I admit I would miss the hunger it creates. I have long since ceased trying to find my home in a “place”, but the constructing of the never-ending dream house still continues. It is smaller than ever because I have to transport it wherever I go, but in many ways it has become larger than I ever imagined: big enough to permanently house those dearest to me, roomy enough to welcome frequent visits from those I call my friends, and never too crowded to house the strangers and needy that come across my path.

What makes me feel at home? Anywhere I sense God is near and the love of a friend is present.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

theology from the margins: God of Hagar

Our contexts have major implications for how we live our lives and engage with our world, that much is obvious. However, we sometimes overlook how much they inform our concepts of God. For those of us occupying the central or dominant demographic in society, we often associate God with power and truth. As a result, our theology is characterized by confidence, certainty, and an expectation that others should be accommodating. For those of us living on the margins of society, our sense of belonging stranded in ambiguity, God is seen as an advocate for the powerless. Our theology leans more toward inclusivity, and we talk less about divine holiness and righteousness and more about a God who suffers. On the margins, the priority is merciful and just action, not correct beliefs. 
There are significant theological incongruences between Christians who occupy the mainstream segment of society and those who exist on the margins. The world of theology has been dominated by Western male thought…

the movement of humility

We live in a context of stratification where much of society is ordered into separate layers or castes. We are identified as upper class, middle class, or lower class. Our language reflects this up/down (superior/inferior) paradigm. We want to be at the top of the heap, climb the ladder of success, break through the glass ceiling, be king of the hill. This same kind of thinking seeps into our theology. When we talk about humility, we think mostly think in terms of lowering ourselves, willfully participating in downward mobility. This type of up/down language is certainly present in biblical texts (James 4:10 is one example), but I believe that the kind of humility we see in Jesus requires that we step outside of a strictly up/down paradigm. Instead of viewing humility as getting down low or stepping down a notch on the ladder of society, perhaps it is more helpful to think in terms of proximity and movement.

Jesuit theologian, James Keenan, notes that virtues and vices are not really…