Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grace is like a pair of sunglasses.

Plato may have been a genius, but he was also pretentious.  Take his Allegory of the Cave for instance.  If you're not familiar with it, check it out - Book VII from Plato's Republic.  This text has become a model for the way people understand knowledge and Truth.  But there is a problem with the model.

Plato assumes that only select people are able to withstand turning to face the light head on.  If most people in the cave saw the light of Truth, they would be blinded by it at best.  I can't agree.  I don't believe that only a few people can really know Truth.

However, that doesn't mean I believe everyone can look into it either.  Quite the opposite- I believe no one can look on Truth without being blinded, consumed by the light.  This is where a pair of sunglasses comes in handy.

Grace is like a pair of sunglasses.  It allows us to see Truth we would never be able to bear witness to on our own.  Looking on Truth, God ("I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life", John 14:6), would indeed blind any who turn to look.  But with grace on, we can not only look on Truth, but come to know Him and enter His realm of consuming light where we become more whole than ever before.

Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Worship: a Reminder

To worship in Spirit and in truth.  (John 4:23)

To open myself to the Creator of the Universe, and let Him not only look into my heart, but live there.
To give Him the key, and even let Him redecorate, renovate.
To give Him the grand tour of the nooks, crannies, and secret hiding places.
To let Him poke around and find for Himself the ones I couldn't bring myself to show Him.
To hold nothing back.
To be completely honest.

To be.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rest for the Unweary

After six days of creating a good universe and good things to fill it, God rested.  And yet we are told, "He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps," (Psalm 121:4, NLT).

The fact that a God who spends every night sleepless without ever getting tired rests anyway says a few things about His character:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The little road

I am reminded of sliding and picking my way down the ravine behind the parsonage where I grew up: past two old outhouses that had long since fallen into disuse and disrepair; past discarded Christmas trees, now needle-less; being careful not to step on any rusty cans or kitchen utensils left over from the days when my back yard had been a Free Methodist campground.

The ravine was steep.  I would loosen my grip on one handhold, a tree or protruding root, and half run, half fall down the slope to the next.  The ground flattened out in a broad plateau at the bottom of the ravine where more and thicker trees grew, interspersed with tiny maples, ferns, and wild flowers.  There was also a little dirt road which avoided the steep slope of the main roads it connected to at either end.  It never seemed to match where it was coming from or where it was going, as if it was a slice out of some other world.

Monday, October 28, 2013

John Locke on Words

"The very nature of words makes it almost unavoidable for many of them to be doubtful and uncertain in their signification."
- An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke

Isn't it ironic that the very medium we use to communicate turns out to be inherently ridden with obstacles to communication?  Is human history anything more than a series of miscommunications?  Even at our best - all parties listening and speaking fairly - all we can hope for is that the significance of a word in my mind is close enough to the significance of the same word in your mind that we understand each other. 

It makes me wonder, why speak (or write) at all...?

But here I am, anyway.  I keep writing, speaking, thinking.  Continuing to use words to explore my own thoughts, and mystically transfer them to others in some form, is the best way I know of getting to the bottom of the issue. 

Literary optimists are lucky.  They get to believe we get closer and closer to true understanding the more we try.  Whether this makes me avant-garde or a fool, I don't know, but I throw my lot in with theirs.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

I closed my eyes.

I saw the universe outlined as if it was in the shape of a man.  He was tall and strong, arms at his sides, on his back in the nothingness that exists outside of time.  His body was full of the night sky and stars that shone from out of his deep blueness.  It was less like he had blue skin, and more like the sky defined his form.  And even though I could tell he was laying down, his body was horizontal, not vertical.  I knew the man was God.

I realized that I was the man too; each person is that man in a way.  We all have the universe inside of us, the stars shining out of us, everything swirling through us.  

I looked closer, and I saw that I was inside the man.  I saw His veins, stretching across the universe.  I saw that I was the blood; we are all the blood.  I knew that if we are the blood, then we are perpetually coming and going to and from His heart.  We are constantly being washed, made new, pumped back through His glowing heart and out into the universe once more.  I felt myself being pumped through His heart.

I opened my eyes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Note: Another New Page!

Check out some of my flash fiction by clicking on the tab of the same name. 

Currently, two stories from a project I started a few years ago called "You & I" are up for now.  My goal with this project was to explore everyday encounters between strangers.  We have these all the time, but it's not often we stop and think about our role in the stranger's story, or even their role in ours. 

Degas on Art

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
                                                      -Edgar Degas

Friday, October 11, 2013

Forward Motion

When I was in high school, my favourite band was Relient K.  Their music was OK (pretty generic poppy-teenage-rock) but their lyrics were inspired.  They had one song that went like this:
I struggle with forward motion.  I struggle with forward motion.  We all struggle with forward motion.
(Admittedly, this is not the best example of their inspired lyrics.  For a better example, click here.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Note: New Page!

Check out my new "Couldn't Say It Better" page by clicking on the tab above.  This is where I will document phrases that are turned just right from favourite writers or experts on topics relevant to this blog after I post them on the main page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Writing Credo of a Modern Day Scribe

My aunt, Joan Lucius, is a phenomenal artist.  She sent me her art credo.  It made me want to cry.  I know it's not poetry, but it's one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read.  I considered asking her if I could share it here, on my blog, but decided it would be better to share this one line instead.
"never believe in anyone else's credo, invent your own"
That's good advice.  I took it:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Heatmoon on Writing

"A year earlier, I gave consideration to making the voyage alone in a motorboat, because, for a journeying writer, companions human or otherwise are distractions...Isolation is more than a boone to a writer's efforts - it's a near necessity.  However - however - the greater enemy of long-distance solo travel is...desolation."  
- William Least-Heatmoon, River Horse

Friday, September 27, 2013

Facing Primordial Fear

If a tree creeks and cracks in a deep, dark forest and thinks no one is there to hear, it does make a sound.  I discovered this on the trail somewhere between Bristol Springs and Naples, NY.  It was already starting to get dark as my husband and I finally found a place to make camp.  After taking a wrong turn that led us  more than a mile in the wrong direction, we were backtracking - almost back where we had started.  We set down our packs and quickly began gathering firewood and pitching the tent.  It wasn't supposed to rain, so we left the fly off.  "It will be fun to see the forest all around us, stars peaking through leafy branches," we thought.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cicero on Writing

"For I have often heard that no man can be a good poet...without ardor of imagination and the excitement of something similar to phrensy." 
(A short excerpt from De Oratore)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I want to be blessed.

[CAUTION:  Proceed at your own risk.  This is radical truth.  This is what it means to follow Christ.  These words will chase all that is not of God out of you with its tail between its legs.]

Luke 6:20-26

Looking at his disciples, he said:
[We are Your disciples Lord.]

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
[What more could we ever gain?]

Monday, August 26, 2013

Corporate: united or combined into one body

I was praying this morning, and started thinking about prayer.  I suddenly realized something about prayer that I have not articulated, at least recently:  Prayer is not "talking to God" as I have so often put it to myself and others.  Actually, it is conversing with Him.  Prayer is a conversation, not a speech.  That completely changes things, because a speech is all one-way communication, but a conversation is a flow between parties.  It is even different than speeches alternating back and forth.  There is a continuous give and take in a conversation, and a responsibility to both contribute and listen in order for the conversation to be maintained.  This is prayer.  This new perspective on prayer was revolutionary enough for me this morning as I sat there eating my oatmeal and trying to commune with God, but there is a little more.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

In Pursuit

I was challenged at work this week by my boss; she didn't even know she was doing it.  She shared some experiences that she felt had been encounters with the supernatural, though she likely would not phrase it that way.  I had never thought she took the Christian faith she proclaimed exceptionally seriously.  Maybe she doesn't think she takes it seriously either.  She admits that she has never been one for studying the Word extensively, but that she was more of a hands on, practical-type as far as faith goes.  Honestly, from what she shared with me, I'd say she was on  the right track.  The fruits of the Spirit and of Jesus' character were evident in many of the parts of her life that she opened up to me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On Suffering and the Mind of Christ

I have a friend who praises God every time she stubs her toe.  She has been developing a habit of speaking praise instead of a curse whenever she experiences suffering, even for small things like stubbing toes.  This challenges me.  It has taken time for me to look this challenge in the face, but lately, I have been finding myself turning towards it. I have by no means grasped the full weight, nor practiced to the fullest extent of this truth, but my understanding of suffering is being changed.