The Promise and Challenges of Seeing God Everywhere

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Photo credits: Pixabay

I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God…. Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me.

St. John Damascene (675-749)

Tigers and ticks. Trash and tornadoes. Matter isn’t always easy to honor. Yet, St. John makes no exceptions. How do we reconcile distasteful things with a loving God who fills all things?

I don’t like chiggers. If you’re not familiar with them, you’re fortunate. Continue reading “The Promise and Challenges of Seeing God Everywhere”

The Nature of Creativity, Nature, and Delight

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When we think of names people give God, Creativity usually doesn’t come to mind. Yet scripture scholars say that God’s most fundamental relationship with the cosmos is as its continual creator and sustainer. God’s always creating. We do call God, after all, the Creator. So, if it’s in God’s DNA to create (so to speak), then exploring the nature of creativity might lead us to insights as to how God relates to the works of his hands.

I don’t know how many times I have heard an artist say that, when they started writing or sculpting, they didn’t know what the finished product would look like. Continue reading “The Nature of Creativity, Nature, and Delight”

Homecoming: The Power of Land and Memory

IMG_20160712_085847689Photo credit: Robin Gottfried

As I walked down the country lane that passes by our house I once again took in a favorite sight on this familiar jaunt – an old farmhouse in a field nestled up against the woods. While I’ve always enjoyed the scene because it reminds me of similar sights in the rest of Appalachia, this time it actually transported me back to Spice Creek and my friends years ago near Boone, NC. This wasn’t just a memory, but a bringing to life the place and people I called home many years ago as a graduate student gathering data for his dissertation.

Land has a way of doing this, of providing meaning, rootedness and healing across time and space. Continue reading “Homecoming: The Power of Land and Memory”

Contemplation, Appreciation, and the Book of Nature

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Photo credit: Pixabay

Today was an amazing day. After a week of sultry summer weather this morning broke clear, cool and crisp. The light radiated joy as it dappled through the leaves of the trees around the house. Today I learned a bit more about thanksgiving, appreciation, wonder and praise.

These attitudes, or approaches to life, all form part of natural contemplation, the contemplation of nature. Continue reading “Contemplation, Appreciation, and the Book of Nature”