Monday, September 19, 2011

The Philosophy of the Dandelion, the God of the Future, the Treasures Hidden Inside

"When first it was even hinted that the universe may not be a great design, but only a blind and indifferent growth, it ought to have been perceived instantly that this must for ever forbid any poet to retire to the green fields as to his home, or to look at the blue sky for his inspiration. There would be no more of any such traditional truth associated with green grass than with green rot or green rust; no more to be recalled by blue skies than by blue noses amputated in a freezing world of death. Poets, even Pagans, can only directly believe in Nature if they indirectly believe in God; if the second idea should really fade, the first is bound to follow sooner or later; and, merely out of a sad respect for human logic, I wish it had been sooner. Of course a man might have an almost animal appreciation of certain accidents of form or colour in a rock or a pool, as in a rag-bag or a dustbin; but that is not what the great poets or the great pagans meant by mysteries of Nature or the inspiration of the elemental powers. 

When there is no longer even a vague idea of purposes or presences, then the many-coloured forest really is a rag-bag and all the pageant of the dust only a dustbin. We can see this realisation creeping like a slow paralysis over all those of the newest poets who have not reacted towards religion. Their philosophy of the dandelion is not that all weeds are flowers; but rather that all flowers are weeds. Indeed it reaches to something like nightmare; as if Nature itself were unnatural. Perhaps that is why so many of them try desperately to write about machinery; touching which nobody has yet disputed the Argument from Design. No Darwin has yet maintained that motors began as scraps of metal, of which most happened to be scrapped; or that only those cars, which had grown a carburettor by accident, survived the struggle for life in Piccadilly. But whatever the reason, I have read modern poems obviously meant to make grass seem something merely scrubby and prickly and repugnant, like an unshaven chin." 
~ G.K. Chesterton

IF thou wouldst live unruffled by care,
Let not the past torment thee e'er;
As little as possible be thou annoy'd,
And let the present be ever enjoy'd;
Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied,
And to God the future confide.

~ Goethe

"As I sat there, I began thinking about the heart, the center of the person, the 'who' we are. I thought about how often I miss the heart of the person and instead focus on their behavior. How often have I looked at someone and made an immediate judgment? I have seen the cut of their hair, the clothes they wore, the language they used, tatoos or not and I made judgments. I have seen those who are overweight, the 'wrong' color, living in the wrong part of town and I have made judgments. I have looked at my own children and family focusing on behavior and never really reaching their heart. It is easy to judge. It is hard to lean in, to listen, to look past the behavior and seek understanding. To seek the heart.

I was reminded of the following:
- The heart is desparately wicked
- I will give you a new heart
- Out of the heart the mouth speaks
- If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart...
- The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters

And I considered how God seeks our hearts. He is after us. He desires intimacy and the knowing of our true self. He, like the Prodigal's Father, looks past behavior and longingly looks down the road for his lost son. His heart breaks as he searches for the hearts he loves.

I am asking God to help me see the hearts of my wife, my children, my friends, my co-workers. I want to discover the richness and treasures hidden inside."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Other Side of the Season's Change

More and more I find that connections are everywhere. All things are linked. All people are just a thought away from each other. How marvelous to be able to step into someone else's mind, to peer into the corners and examine the cupboards. It leads to understanding, or compassion, or further confusion, or revulsion. But what is so different about them from our own selves? The same reactions arise when we peruse the halls of our own minds. 

On this rainy day with autumn leaves falling, there is the reminder that we are all traveling on the same River. Although everyone has their own stops to make as the current carries them along, we all have the same final destination at the Sea. Life is too short to row with an oar marred by bitterness. 

There is so much joy in reconciliation. After a week, a year, or five years, standing face to face with mutual forgiveness, receiving a letter of kindness, hearing the words "let's try again", knowing that your past wrongs are not held against you: how much healing can take place when two people are willing to hold grace higher than themselves. Love triumphs over our own fallen natures when we look through Another's eyes.

Seeing the connections brings meaning. It might take a long time, maybe not even occur in my own life, but the meaning will eventually be known. We are all meaning-makers. We are all a created work. We are all in the process of creating. 

Yes, there is hardship, and times when we just don't understand why or what. I've often compared myself to a miniscule ant in the vast universe trying to lift a heavy crumb. But sometimes in the midst of my efforts a fresh breath of hope sweeps in to bring new life. This ant is going to keep pushing at crumbs.


Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your eyes reflect more deeply the colors of a storm at sea
in winter, which contains mud, kelp, swimming things, 
swirled wind of December.
Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your slate-grey glance is veiled; the weather
of emotions are only let loose purposefully.
Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your eyes reflect more deeply the colors of a storm at sea.

The Changing of the Seasons

There is time.

For everything there is a season.

My time was born. When will my time come to an end?

There is a time to plant seeds, and a time to admire the beautiful life that grew from them.

There are times of pain, and times of healing.

There is a time to bring an ending, and a time to begin afresh once more.

There is a time to weep for what was lost, and a time to sing in thankfulness for many blessings.

There is a time to sit in sorrow when the night is dark, and a time to dance again with the coming of the morning light.

There is a time to scatter the foundations, and a time to build the foundations back up.

There is a time to gather the ones you love close to you, and a time to sit alone.

There is a time to search with all your heart, and a time to realize that your seeking was in vain.

There is a time to keep what is dear close, and a time to relinquish that closeness.

There is a time to rip apart, and a time to repair.

There is a time to keep one's thoughts secret, and a time to finally step forward and speak boldly.

There is a time for loving, for love to overflow, and a time to cut off love.

There is a time for facing a battle bravely, and a time for peaceful reconciliation.

In the best intentions, there is selfishness. In the most upright of humankind, there is hidden sin. One may hold out mercy and kindness with their right hand while concealing injustice in their left. No good can come of expecting perfection in anything, whether fallen being or fallen world. Once more the golden calf comes crashing down.

I know that God has made everything according to his plan, which I cannot even begin to fathom, but I am still a frustrated tiny ant who does not understand why the crumb I want to carry will not budge.

There is a time for everything.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Numbering Our Days, Finding Our Wisdom: Part I

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12

Old Orchard Church ©

Christ Jesus came into the world to save not the righteous, but sinners. He opposes himself to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. ~ Message of Mark 2
But we have turned away. Our race has become corrupt, and we have turned away from the glory of God.

What does the Lord require of his people?

Pure hearts... cravings to see righteousness- in ourselves, in the believing community, and in the world.

Compassion and real deeds of mercy toward the poor and the desperate.

Minds willing to go to their limits in thinking out the truth.

Love when it is hard and unrewarding.

Patience in the face of my weaknesses, my sins, and my limitations.

Patience in the face of the weakness of others.

Trust, gentleness, and self-sacrifice in our marriages and friendships.

The Lord asks of us that we give ourselves to him, in every single area of our life; that we trust him to change us, and not be overwhelmed by how far we have to go; that we live day by day in the joy of the Lord, and not in complaining...

The Lord requires of us that we believe what is true, and speak for it...

But we have failed much and often in these things.

Let God humiliate us then, by the power and purity of his righteousness, so that we might fly to Christ for safety; for his righteousness has become our own, through his suffering.

Mercy triumphs over judgement. ~ Mark 2:13b

Christ Jesus came into the world to save not the righteous, but sinners.

~ Excerpts from anonymous litany