Skip to main content

see-through

I have been looking through some of the pictures I took on our road trip to the East Coast this past weekend. The scenery through northern Maine was beautiful, as was the foggy, rugged landscape of New Brunswick. We didn't have a lot of time to trek around outside, so many of the pictures I took were through the windshield of a moving car. Now that I take a closer look at the the photographs, I can see all the bug guts splayed on the windshield, distracting from magnificent sunsets and lush greenery. I also notice all too many blurred images that indicate we were rushing past some amazing scene at high speed, and all I could do was capture an indistinct representation of its uniqueness. Sigh. Such is life. We see indistinctly and we hurry through.

I often view the beauty of this world through the bug-spatter of my life's idiosyncratic paradoxes. Incredible scenes play out before my eyes even while small deaths are happening all around me. And if I am not attentive, brief moments of touching poignancy which whiz past me without any fanfare, can be lost. I do not always see clearly. Life is messy and my eyes are often drawn to the mess instead of the beauty behind it. Sometimes I get tired of constant change and the speed of life and can miss the fleeting moments of unexpected, simple splashes of colourful inspiration along the way.
Two things I do know: my myopic eyes can never diminish the beauty that is always present, and my undisciplined attention span cannot negate a moment of divine synchronism. Beauty and defining moments will follow me all the days of my life. Will I choose to dwell with them?
Pictures along the way:
1. Sun going down in rural Quebec. Rain splashes and bug guts in the foreground.
2. Two bikers that we followed for many miles through small towns in Maine. They, no doubt, got more acquainted with the bugs than I ever did.
3. One of the bright, quaint, homey houses we passed along the trip. I just barely managed to capture part of it.
4. I never did get my camera out in time to snap a photo of the small herd of deer nor of the moose at the side of the road that we saw one morning in New Brunswick. Fortunately, not everything needs a picture to remember it by.

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…