Skip to main content

trees are important


This picture was taken on my walk through Cal State University in Berkeley on Tuesday, January 30, where there are a group of students protesting the removal of a section of oak trees in order to build a new gym facility. Some of them have built platforms and are actually living in the branches in makeshift shelters. It is amazing to me the various causes that people will get behind and pursue with a zeal that makes many of us uncomfortable. What is worthy of my public protest? What would I live in a tree for? What would I lose my so-called respectability for? I used to be quite the religious zealot (with judgmental tendencies often masquerading as zeal), going around telling people Christian rock music was an oxymoron and the celebration of Christmas by giving gifts might steal your soul (I even renamed it "Gift-mas"). Zeal without wisdom and love is a fire that can easily bring destruction to the very causes it means to spread and the people that encounter it. Thank God that he continues to show us his mercy and gracefully teaches us a better way.
Currently, I am a generally easy-going and fairly unopinionated person, so there are few issues I would sign up or go on record as being a staunch supporter or activist for, but when it comes to people I love, I believe that I have developed some fanatical tendencies. I want everyone to know that I am Dean's biggest fan and would do the silliest, embarrassing thing just to make him smile. I have no problem traveling long distances just to spend a few hours or days with the people God has put on my heart. I usually stop everything I am doing when a friend wants to talk to me on msn - because "stuff" can always be done later. My highest calling is to be a friend - of God, of Dean, of those Jesus points out to me as important in my life. Friendship takes time, and we all have equal amounts of that; it just depends who or what you want to spend it on.

Trees ARE important: Jesus did not think it beneath him to be nailed to a tree in order to make my (and your) friendship with God possible, so like Zaccheus, I will not think it too foolish to climb a tree to see God more clearly.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

lessons from a theological memoir and a television series about lawyers

It's a hot Wednesday afternoon, so let's talk about false binaries. Basically, a false binary or false dichotomy happens when a person's options are artificially limited to two choices, thereby excluding all other possibilities. Insisting on the limited choice of either A or B leaves no room for middle ground or another, more creative solution. In other words, a false binary assumes the rest of the alphabet (after A and B) does not exist.

Binary thinking is quite prevalent in our society. Either you are for me or against me. Either you are guilty or innocent. Either you are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal. Either you are a Christian or a pagan. Either you are all in or all out. Admittedly, it is convenient to see things as either black or white, but we live in a multi-coloured world and not everything fits neatly into two categories. This is why insisting there are only two choices when, in fact, other options exist, is labeled as a fallacy in logic an…