Skip to main content

scale

Since we have downsized, scale has become an important dimension in my life. We have been shopping for a dining room table and chairs and I quickly realised that no matter how much I liked the furniture, if it was too big or too small or too wide or too long, it would not work well. And we are determined to work well in this space - to work with it and not against it. That being said, we must pay attention to dimensions and scale and proportion and adjust our expectations and wants accordingly.

The hind feet of my brain start to fidget every time I think about these things, so I know there is something important to be learned here, to be aware of. I know too many people who have crammed their small spaces full of stuff, either things too large or just too much. It makes one confused and unsettled when you walk in the room. Overly large items make a space seem smaller than it really is. Too small furniture and the room dwarfs you with its cavernous echoes and feels empty and bare.

I think most of us want big. We love large and dynamic and stunning and eye-catching. We also love more. More of everything. If we have liked something in small measure, certainly more is better. Always more. We can stuff in more.

I have seen people expect God to operate in this same way, with no regard for scale, proportion or capacity. I often do the same thing. I expect extremely big results and changes and revelations and miracles without taking into account how these large scale acts might impact the tiny space cleared for the divine. When we are touched in some way by a teaching or a reading or a song, we often fill our lives and homes with every teaching book, cd, dvd, and musical output available from a certain artist. I am not negating the usefulness of these tools, but oftentimes I think it is clutter. We think that more of the same is going to give us more of the experience. But there is no substitute for going to God every day for fresh and living bread. And things never happen the same way twice, to quote Aslan again from the movie, Prince Caspian.

Clutter means we have less room for the important stuff to live and breathe in our daily lives; we limit the capacity for new surprises and fresh truths to rearrange our souls into a more godly frame of being. Too large expectations mean that we miss the smaller scale of what God is doing right now. Focusing on not overextending ourselves by sticking with the small stuff leaves a big empty space that refuses to welcome others into it and results in a shriveled up soul.

How big is the place God has put me in? Am I working with it or against it? How big is my space for God? What am I filling it with?

This is but a small part of the vast Atlantic Ocean somewhere in New Brunswick on a cold foggy day in spring.

Comments

Lynn said…
Can I just copy everything you put on your blog, and paste it on mine? Just kidding. I love the way you think, Matte!
Shelley said…
I have been totally astounded this year about how much I have learned while trying to live in the moment and with a few, and letting go of reaching many with big things.

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…