Skip to main content

FoCuS

There is one thing wrong with the spiffy camera Dean bought me for my birthday a few years ago: it does not have manual focus. Instead of highlighting the wonderfully ripe cherry above, the all-knowing camera believed that the disturbed snow on my deck was a much more interesting subject.

Today, I also feel sightly out of focus and wish there was a handy manual setting to realign things in their proper perspective. Perhaps it was the trek outside to wrangle some windblown trellis out from under my deck that resulted in cracking my head on a wooden beam and then breaking one of the trelli (I am almost certain that is the plural form of trellis and if it isn't, it should be), or the fact that Tea was convinced that she needed a second feeding and meowed in my ear for an hour this morning interrupting my 8 hour sabbatical, or the detour on the way to the bank that sent me driving through winding residential roads without cause (at least in my opinion), or any number of tiny things that just did not go well today. Somewhere along the way I set my patience adrift and chose annoyance and criticism as the motivational force for my life on this particular January day. Bad choice.

I was reading one of my fellow blogger's posts today in which someone chastised him for being too critical of the church. Are there glaring wrongs and errors in the church? Of course. Should we shy away from pointing them out? Not really, for how will things change unless we admit there is something desperately wrong? But I also understand this reader's comment. While I love this blogging man and his daring honesty, sometimes I think his focus, like mine, is just a bit off. The beautiful bride of Christ is before us (in fact, IS us) in all her imperfect and underdeveloped glory, but she is glorious all the same because Jesus chooses to imbue her with his love and stand with her and shine on her. If I lose sight of that glory at any time, I become the most cutting and critical cynic, pointing out so many flaws that hope starts to wilt in even the most buoyant souls. It is not a question of being truthful or honest, it is a question of focus. If my focus lies on the faults, where does hope live? Truth is not what we see in front of us, but how God sees what is in front of us.

I very much desire to see the creative power of words evident in my life, a characteristic of God (see Genesis one) and Jesus (be healed!) that I believe is lying mostly dormant in us because we don't know how to use our words. When I speak, I want life and light to come into any situation.

Anyone can see a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), but it takes a true prophet, a true seer, a person with a keen eye focused on the subject (and the subject of life is Jesus) to be able to call them to join together and live!

This cherry was sacrificed to my enjoyment immediately after this photo was taken.

Comments

Shelley said…
Over Christmas I got into a controversial conversation with my bro, (what else is new) about the catholic church. I keep thinking about it, and I realize that while he is ever on the lookout for deception and wrong doctrine (according to him) I am on the opposite end. I work in a the catholic school system, and I am always looking for truth and life and real relationship with JEsus, and I find it everywhere. Sure the other stuff is there too, but what is the point of focusing on that? Far better to blow on the flame that I do see....
shane magee said…
calling all 21st century prophets. god knows we need you!

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…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…