Skip to main content

the power of one

Do you have recurring numbers appear in your life? I do. The number one appears many times during my day. I usually happen to look at the digital clock when it reads 11:11 or 1:11 (yep, I stay up that late and no, I am not a clock-watcher by any means). People tell me I am good one-on-one. I have clothes that are size one. I am not very good at multi-tasking - I like to do one thing at a time. I have one husband (okay, that's hardly extraordinary, I admit). Several times a week I spend wondering what all these one's mean. Yesterday was another one of those times.

We just had someone move out of our house after a few months' stay and it is amazing how much one person's presence changes the dynamic in a household. And how one person's absence can affect you in a profound way. Yesterday I had a friend call me for directions and after I told her how to get there in a few easy steps, she told me that I have a gift for making things simple and it eases people's stress and makes them feel less overwhelmed. That one sentence deeply affected me. It made me see the value of how my mind works, and acknowledging my value is something I am being challenged on right now.

I often find myself saying or singing, "Jesus is the one," and I inserted that phrase on my facebook profile where you are asked to fill in your religious views. The power of one man and one life have never been more perfectly illustated than in the life of Jesus. There is only one true God. One cannot serve two masters (so that would make it only ONE master can be served at a time).

The fact that I am so deeply moved and affected by one person, one moment in time, one phrase, one touch, or one glance at the sky means that I must also see the value of the "one's" that I deposit in this world and in the lives of those around me. I write a weekly email for our church and in addition to the usual announcements, I try to be a little more thoughtful and include a few quotes and perhaps something personal that I am learning or experiencing. It is just one email once a week, but this week several people responded to say what I had written spoke to their situation very directly. Just one small email written by one person sitting alone by their computer wondering if all this pondering and writing is really a worthwhile use of my time - the power of one.

Another side to the "one-ness" is the power of unity: when two or more come together and become one in purpose or heart or mind or body (I am talking marriage here). One is sometimes made out to be a very small number, as in "I only have one friend, or one dollar, or one pair of shoes." One is not small. One matters. One often means you have selected only the best. One means you are not wasteful. One means you are not lacking - it is more than zero.

Be one. Have one. Take one. Give one. Join with one. Enjoy one.

This is one deer out of many at the Ecomuseum.

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…