New Year Promises (to myself)

 

To see, as God sees, I must quiet my imagination. I must see only what is there in front of me, and not what is being pushed in from the sides of my vision by others. I must see blue in its own magnificence, and not in the remembered shadows of a swimming pool. I must see you in the image of God and not in the reflection of myself onto you. Therein, are the visions of God.

To hear, as God hears, I must focus on that which normally cannot be heard over the din of human chatter and mechanized noise. I must hear the wind, and the cicadas, and the sounds of grass, in their symphonic harmonies. I must hear the sun on my skin and listen for my pulse. Therein, are the sounds of God.

To touch, as God touches, I must caress rather than grab, cup rather than pull, and learn of what I am touching rather than manipulating it. I must know that which I touch as a part of myself and not as a thing distinct and separate from me. I must be gentle in both love and fear. Therein, are the textures of God

To smell, as God smells, I must breathe deeply and discover the essence of the flower, the food, or the person toward which I lean. I must not evaluate, categorize, or criticize; I must seek the smells which are unique to every being, the eternal signature of their very nature. Therein, are the fragrances of God.

To taste, as God tastes, I must open my senses in anticipation, and not close them tightly in defense of memory. I must seek the ocean’s saltiness, the sky’s freshness, the kiss of winter cold, and the satisfaction of springtime rain. I allow tradition to act as a condiment rather than a definition, and permit even that which is bitter to be revelatory. Therein, is the palate of God.

I must run toward opportunities to experience that which is not-yet-known, with the same speed I move toward the comfort of that which is God-affirming. I must be ready, anticipating, and excited about the new, even as I am strengthened by that which is already known.

Flaming Lips- "Do You Realize?"

Miranda, one of my favorite bloggers (here), began some discussion about the Flaming Lips song, “Do You Realize?” It was a song I’d never heard of, but now have watched the video of about ten times since she brought it to my attention. Watch it, then tell me or tell her what you think. Or read what my son says about it – AFTER YOU”VE WATCHED IT! He’s nailed it. (Like son, like father..that is so much fun to say!)

An excerpt of my son Joshua’s comments on this video:

“That’s pretty heavy: Death, then, is only an illusion. It’s not an end, it’s not even real, and certainly not something to fear or dread. Hmm…

“From where I’m sitting, the sun is setting outside my window. But it’s not setting. Nor is the sun rising elsewhere. The sun isn’t even moving. And that is what The Lips want us to see, that we speak and think in antiquated terms. That the definitions of our world (and ourselves) are still flat conceptually.

“Now you’re job is to let your loved ones know that. Only, of course, you can’t, because you don’t know that yourself yet, because it’s the hardest thing you will ever come to know, so hard only the best among us ever figure it out.

“And here we see what the song is really trying to do. It’s not trying to tell you that you’re going to be okay because the worst thing that’s going to happen to you in your life is that you will die, and that dying isn’t that bad, because dying is just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

“No, it’s asking you to tell that to someone else. Knowing that if you can tell someone else that, and explain it to them so they will understand it and be comforted by it, then you just might begin to understand it yourself. And what a thing that would be. “

(I love it when it when I get to learn stuff from the younger ones. Really! Thanks, Miranda. Thanks, Joshua. I love you, too! And you get it– that’s too cool!)

The War Prayer.. by Mark Twain

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle-be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.                                                                                                      

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!                                                                                                                                              

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.

Amen.

Being Creative..

                    center for contemporary art afghanistan

This picture makes my heart soar. It is a group of young Afghani women who are organizing the Center for Contemporary Art in their country. It is one of those Shouts to world from an unexpected place that there is more to say, more to see, and more to be from people who want, and are taking the chance, to get those things.

There is just something magnificent about the colors against the sand and dried mud background; there is something revealing about the colors that have been simmering and now have a place to boil over; there is something gorgeous about these young women’s souls.

R.E.M.- Everybody Hurts

It is one of the small tragedies in the American church, that there is something called “Christian music.” My personal bias is that the word “Christian” is just about worthless as an adjective in the first place. It has been usurped by marketers who use it to penetrate the religious market with all kinds of silly junk- but that’s another rant for another day.

Christian is a noun; first and always.

Because there exists this entity known as Christian music, however, many people are missing the spiritual treasures to be found in many other pieces of music. R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” is one of those treasures. It is even better the tenth time one watches it, than it was the first- I know, I just did, again. Here:

See what I mean?

Thriller..Sometimes, Things Just Make No Sense

And this is one of them.

A group of prisoners in the Philippines practice for a production..of some sort. I laughed all the way through it- it may be the Most Ludicrous Video, ever..

There may well be some ontological, existential, surrealistic, neo-realistic, Jungian, Freudian, or post-Christian meaning to all of this. If there is..well, frankly, my dear, I don’t care.

For Inspirational Purposes Only..Jesus of the Week

j2k7-23

It appears to be ceramic, maybe plastic; but then, it matters not at all, does it? What does matter is where such a thing would be displayed, and for what purpose.

Here are some of my immediate thoughts on where? and why?:

1. On a bedside table, to frighten you awake.

2. On top of the refrigerator, to remind you that you are not really as hungry as you thought you were.

3. In the front yard under the tree with a knot that looks like the BVM, to support your assertion of having had a personal visitation.

4. On the counter top above whatever drawer contains the First Aid kit, for obvious reasons.

5. On eBay, to get it out of the house.

Thanks to:  Jesus of the Week (always a risky click!)