In the last few weeks, I have had several all day classes. I discovered a lovely route to take a walk along a road with a lot of plants and trees, and I’ve been enjoying the restoration I experience walking mindfully through that beauty. This weekend, I did the same. I noticed after about 10 minutes, though, that I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings like I had done before. They weren’t new anymore, and they didn’t automatically make me notice them.
I decided to be intentional about it. Last time, I was highly mindful of all the growing things, and they were lovely again, but what caught my attention once I encouraged myself to be curious were the things that were placed by human hands.
Read More Open to Seeing
There is some vulnerability in sharing my ideas, especially considering how little I like conflict since there will always be someone who disagrees. But there’s not that much risk to it. I’m really good at being able to engage, share thoughts, talk about ideas, ask questions, and even answer questions about myself—all without really exposing anything really very real about me.
Read More Really Known
Shame and fear are there, and they’re real. And I am trying to learn stillness. To quiet the fear and transform the shame. To learn to trust and know the value and grace that are more real than any of the rest of it.
The year is 1996. A sixth-grade boy (Boy-Number-1) was on a school bus, and other students were filing on one-by-one trying to find a seat by a friend or at least in a spot that wouldn’t ruin their day. Another boy (Boy-Number-2), trying to explore what it was like to express an opinion like a man, overconfidently asserted something about women’s proper roles that illuminated much about the general level of sleaze he was being exposed to by the adults in his life.
Read More Buses and Curses: Gender in Genesis
I’m a counselor in training, and a five-minute video about what the Dougy Center is all about wiped me out. Not only am I training to become a counselor, I don’t just want to be a listening ear that then responds by teaching people helpful skills or goes through a surface level, manualized, step-by-step response. I fully intend to support people in wrestling with deep issues of meaning and purpose and rewriting the narrative they use to define themselves and their lives.
And death and grieving are going to come up. They just are. What am I going to do if I can’t handle people’s grief?
So then I start questioning myself, and the shame starts to whisper and creep in, and I doubt whether I can be a good therapist. Just imagine it. The first day in a session after I get my degree, someone is going to walk in and need to process losing their child to cancer. And I’m going to freeze. And they’re going to leave worse than they arrived. And I’m going to have to retire on the first day because in good conscience I can’t keep doing that to people.
It’s the same struggle Eve and Adam faced in the Eden narrative. A choice between connection and purpose and joy on the one hand and shame and disconnection and death on the other hand.
Read More Naked
So what role did this lying, terrifying, accusing character, the serpent, have to play in a world that is so whole and interconnected and luminous as the creation we’ve seen in the first two chapters? Everything so far has had a divine purpose and cohesive role in the beauty of it all. Why the snake, and why a tree that ruins everything?
To this point, Yahweh designated humans as his representatives, the idol in the temple of creation. Yahweh made it clear he intended togetherness and connection among the humans, between humans and the rest of creation, and the most intimate sharing of life between Yahweh and humans. Yahweh withheld no good thing and gave more responsibility to humans than anything else.
Read More The Beginning of Fear
Creation is not just a dogma or an ‘ism.’ It includes but is more than even just the existence of the world around us. Rather, you and I and every other person and plant and animal and mountain and sea and plain and metal and chemical, all of it is the result of creation. Creation is intentionality. Creation is life and growth and care. Creation is personal and inherently inspirational. It makes something where it did not exist before, and it gives it shape and purpose, and it spreads, giving life to others (both biologically and spiritually) to create as well.
Read More Formed of the Earth
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
It’s the most simply elegant opening I can think of for what is any but a simple book. Or rather, anthology of written works of a whole spectrum of genres and complexity levels and audiences and languages and cultures and time periods.
This history is about God and creation. About all people and life and presence. About words and light and life from God, about God, being God.
Light and life and presence. Intertwined motifs that cannot be overlooked. They remain throughout the Bible, and sometimes we hear more of one or more of another, but everything is about these things in one way or another.
Read More The Story of Life: A Beginning