Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Posts tagged “Earth

Sunday: Relational-Faith

jonatan-pie-216311-skyIt’s Sunday … all day … and I’m thinking about how differently I used to think of Sunday say, 15-years ago. Sunday was a day that anchored the week. It was a day of going to church, of meeting a bunch of people who politely smiled and shook my hand. It was a day of mere religion and social etiquette. It was a day of doing what I was “supposed” to do. In my heart, it was a day of seeking Him but never finding Him, and I used all of the religious processes and procedures I’d been taught in order to corner Father and have a close encounter of the personal kind.

Today, Sunday is just another day of the week for me. I was thinking about why Sunday no longer seems set apart nor is particularly special. Father God, just now commented, Sunday is no longer any different from any other day of the week for you because now you and I are together all the time, 24/7. You no longer use Sundays to merely come visit Me. We’re in love with one another and we’re infinitely close, at the Quantum level in fact, and beyond.

For me, so much has changed in this last decade. The single biggest change has been in my relationship with Father God. I now dwell in what I call relational-faith. This is a faith which is based on our spirit to Spirit mystical union. That’s how He and I “talk” to one another, spirit to Spirit. That’s how we journey through the Cosmos together, and discover things of significance and wonder. We are a relationship. We are together, whether asleep or awake, no matter what day of the week it is, or what year of life it is. My beloved Father and I are together all-ways.

Jesus, my dearest Brother, Savior, and Counselor, has made this union possible. His blood, shed for my redemption, sanctified me – made me Holy before God – and His death ripped the veil between Father and me. Because He loved me first, while I was still a sinner, I now have full, unfettered access to His Divine Presence. I can approach the Throne of Grace unafraid and can enjoy His adoration and love, as I adore Him and love Him. Thank You, Brother Jesus. Thank You, Prince of Peace, Immanuel.

Sundays … these Sundays, are not even a shadow of the former days. The life transforming relationship I experience each day with Father God is intimate, somewhat messy, lavish, and always filled with our love for one another. In these days, I worship Him more deeply, more often, more powerfully than I ever have in all my many days. In these days He and I meet at the Table of Making to venture out on the journey of creativity. This new and wondrous relationship I live with Him, who made me, who saved me, who loves me, is the very fuel of our life together. It’s already an eternal life even as I walk this wondrous Earth He has provided.

For me, at least, Sunday is like all of the other days of my week. It’s another day of wonder, filled with love and discovery with my Father God.

Amen ~

Where’s the Wonder in It?

These days, I don’t wonder much about life, it’s purpose and meaning. The way we humans behave; the way we greedily grab, use, and discard everything has dissolved much of my wonder about who we really are and what we’re doing with our lives.

In a pair of documentaries on China; Up the Yangtze and Beijing, I saw the virus of Western culture enveloping that great huge expanse of ancient genius with modern industry. The Chinese are rapidly adopting the Western world’s consumer-throw-away values in a transformation which eclipses the Industrial Revolution of nineteenth century Europe. There is a tidal wave of change pouring into China and it is drowning many of her people.

We humans are, at our core, Havers; we want this and that and when we’re bored with it we throw what we wanted so badly away. Our advertising driven consumer culture transcends borders, races, and ethnic cultures. We seem to think that having more, having it now, and getting the next newest thing tomorrow is the most valuable attribute of our lives. And we seem to invest our very beings into this futile pursuit. For example, we Americans have adopted a great national pride in “being busy” – whatever that means.

As evidence I offer up the preoccupations of governments – the stimulation, development, and preservation of monetary economies. Economies are driven by people buying and selling goods and services. Jobs and the economy are at the heart of the workaday lives of every human. Governments rely on this focused preoccupation to remain in power; for money, and to have someone to rule. Without economies, governments, as we know them, would evaporate.

The culture of Havers races across the globe far faster, far more powerfully, with far more implications even than the Gospel of Jesus Christ – which is of infinite significance. It’s almost as if, being infected with our man-made virus of having, we humans have become a parasite to this Earth as we rape her for everything she’s got to give us, and doing little to return or sustain her.

Becomers – the people who advance slowly, treasure those advancements, and live within the natural cycles of nature – are rapidly vanishing.  Here in America – and I do love my country very much – the Western migrations of settlers trampled and destroyed entire cultures of Becomers.   These are people who are content with enough, and who work and live in a way which enriches, nourishes, and sustains the Earth. The heart of their lives resides in being, and becoming more, not in the material sense, but in the spiritual sense. A bit like monks in a monastery; a bit like, because true Becomers aren’t stuck in a time warp. No, I believe great Becomers have learned what Gleaners have known all along, that you will find bits and pieces of progressive answers in many places, from many sources, and it’s your task to creatively assemble them into something useful without violating your core values of living in sustainable harmony with Creation.

This Becomers mentality has haunted me for almost three decades, and has taken on many forms. At first I thought romantically, as many generations have, that it would be great to live on the land, earning a living by raising food and becoming largely self-reliant. I’m a city-kid though, and don’t know a thing about living off the land, and besides there’s always the tax collector demanding his share of your labors in the name of the law. God save us all from the law; but enough of my sarcasm.

Today Becomers of all stripes are appearing in the form of ecologists, architects, designers, engineers, and spiritual leaders who encourage us to live in harmony with this Earth or suffer our own demise. These are the new Becomers who put their money where their mouths are, instead of wasting their time carrying protest signs.  They combine the talents of the Gleaners and Becomers into a fusion of technologies both new and old. These aren’t fools who cast off something just because it’s been done, or is from yesterday. These are brilliant minds driven by curiosity who ask, “How can we use this long-term, sustain our values, and not harm the Earth?”

Where many Becomers are religiously driven and seem quaintly frozen in the past, the new Becomers realize that landfills aren’t garbage dumps, they’re resource wells. They see materials as something which needs to be constantly remade, and reworked as one generation after another uses, and reuses them. It may be somewhat idealistic, but it sure beats more landfills.

Certainly there are spiritual Becomers, perhaps the greatest of all, who thank God for the very power of creativity to solve the problems we have made ourselves. I may lose confidence in where we’re going, and why, but as long as there are Becomers in this world I have modest hope that we can live lives of meaning and purpose beyond the fast-track, have it now, throw it away culture we’re so terribly proud of.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff

Our youngest son attended an overnight youth-fast event at our church and when I went to pick him up the next morning he was all a chatter.  He is normally when he’s really excited about something, but on this morning he couldn’t wait to tell me about a program he’d seen at the retreat.

Last evening the youth group sat down and watched a couple of really informative presentations.  The one I want to share with you, the one which excites me as much as it does my son, is The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard.

From the website…

What is the Story of Stuff?

From its extraction, through sale, use, and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

I have long lamented – very long – that much of our “modern life” seems predicated upon the idea that we’re here to make money for the IRS and the GNP.  I love our great nation, but there’s just got to be more to life than ripping resources out of the ground, to make stuff we think we want until we don’t want it anymore, instead we want the next one.  Then we throw away what we already have, or worse, we actually pay someone to store what we don’t use.

It reminds me of films like George Lucas’ 1971 feature motion picture, THX-1138.  The concept there was very much the same; make more, sell more, buy more.  By the way this is not a film for children.

That’s enough of that…

I encourage you to have a good look at The Story of Stuff.  It’s informative, not a ranting ecologist with an axe to grind.  This is real information creatively presented.

Watch it several times and see if there aren’t some things which make sense to you.  It’s a really fun presentation.  It’s only a short 20 minutes, and it is very suitable for kids.  Enjoy!

Engage.  Enlarge.  Respond.

Amazing Planet – Amazing!

I watch a lot of documentaries and this one is excellent. Produced in 2006 by National Geographic Geographic Channel, it’s available on DVD, from the video store, online store or your local library.

It’s an action packed three hours featuring Born in Fire, Ocean Realm, and, Destructive Forces. The pace is intense, the science is great, and the sheer big-picture comprehension of our wonderful world is something you’ll carry with you. This isn’t a green-agenda production. It’s a powerful exposition of the latest facts and theories of our current understanding of Earth, it’s origins, it’s geologic and climatic processes, and includes a sneak peak into our possible future.

In fact I was recently revisiting my collection of Mars images from the two rovers currently trotting across the Martian landscape. I was struck by the evidence of Mars’ own water and wind, and yet it being so desolate. I suddenly realized, but for our own Earth orbit around our star, the Sun, there go we.

Born of Fire focuses not only on volcanology, but on the entire “fire cycle” where Earth’s crust is made, subducted, and re-made; the origin of our atmosphere and our water; and the titanic forces of plate tectonics.

Ocean Realm deals with seven-tenths of our planet, our oceans. We know more about the Moon and Mars than we do about our own oceans. You’ll discover just how important the Earth’s oceans are to our weather, and our climate, and our atmosphere.

Destructive Forces focuses on the three most powerful elemental erosive forces on Earth; wind, water, and time. I know a good deal about these forces having, as most of us have, studied them in science classes from High School through College Geology, but this presentation is fresh and engaging.

If you love good science, well presented, you’ll want to check out Amazing Planet by National Geographic.

Engage. Enlarge. Live.