Skip to main content

flux

It is an unsettling day today. The weather has been windy, rainy, sleety and much colder than normal. I am unsettled as well. An important meeting that was supposed to happen this afternoon was cancelled. I am in limbo about how things will unfold in the next few months as I finish my degree. I just received a second offer of admission for doctoral studies, which probably won't change my direction, but it adds another factor to the mix. We are in the process of moving my work space to the guest bedroom (which doesn't have a lot of traffic these days). Also, any vacation plans we have tried to make in the last month have all fallen apart due to scheduling conflicts or unique opportunities that keep popping up.

Unsettled. The path is not clear ahead. I cannot step forward decisively. I must wait until the things that are in flux touch down. Flux. That's an interesting word. It means 'flow' or 'moving across' and has a dynamic quality to it, like a river which is always in motion. Despite feeling a bit like I am going 'round and 'round in a washing machine today (as my clothes have been all afternoon), being unsettled is good for me. If I go with the flow of life as God allows it to unfold (as I prayed this morning), I find myself listening more closely. I often see things I had not noticed before. I remember to hold things lightly, and make time for contemplation and rest.

If I fight against the current of the flux of life, I tire quickly, because despite my best efforts, I don't get anywhere. I cannot make the skies clear and the clouds stop hurrying across the landscape. I cannot force a meeting when numerous other people are involved. I cannot control the speed at which institutional administration decisions are made. I cannot transport furniture from one room to the next and conjure up new furniture out of thin air (though I would love to be able to do that today). I cannot inject extra days into a calendar. All these things are feeble attempts to fight against flux.

Aside from being a term used in physics to denote magnetic and electric flow, flux is also a word that refers to the turnover of molecules in the body. Like what is happening right now as a cut on my finger heals. Flux is the movement of life. It is necessary not only for healing, but for growth and progress. It keeps me buoyant and moves me along from one place to the next. If I embrace it, there will be no painful wrenching or uprooting.

I read something today that reminded me of this type of fluidity in the context of living by the spirit: Let prayer become life and life become prayer.

This is a photo of the rope that holds the drumhead taut on Dean's djembe - an example of well-placed tension that allows small movements to become become beautiful sound.

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…