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Tag Archives: faith

Biblical Wisdom Day 40 last post on it

via Biblical Wisdom Day 40 last post on it

This is my opportunity to thank you Jonathan for following me for several years and sharing a number of my blog posts through his reblogs.

Several years ago, I met Parker Palmer and thanked him for introducing me to other writers and thinkers, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran priest who refused to not speak out against the Nazis, was imprisoned, and executed hours before the Third Reich was defeated.

In the original post shared by Jonathan, there are several questions to consider and reflection activities and this brings me back to Parker Palmer who introduced me to Thomas Merton who I read extensively.

Yesterday, Kathy and I went shopping at a small store where we are visiting. It has a Christian component to part of their retail focus with many books and I purchased two more Thomas Merton books. Kathy said, “you don’t have them all” after I joked “there is no such thing as too many Thomas Merton books.” The one book is similar to the how the shared post is structured. It is called A Course in Christian Mysticism and has reflective questions to consider in written and oral ways. The second book is called When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature.

The second book has a short postscript from a section in Hagia Sophia called Emblems of a Season of Fury (p. 61), referring to the etymology of wisdom. It is as follows:

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.  This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility.  This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.

I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity.

We are not outside of Nature and it is not outside of us. We are unified and integrated with the wonder and fertility of Nature, not separate.

Skyline Regional Park February 13

We took this picture in Phoenix. You can see the urban piece in the top half of the picture just short of the far hill. Often, I do not have to go far to recognize Nature is there in the urban sprawl. It does not have to be somewhere exotic and distant. It is where we each find meaningful moments of solitude with and without the company of others. It is near at hand. For me, the questions always centre around “if it is close at hand, how do I conserve what is immediate? How do I become awake to the divine fecundity in my daily, often busy life?”

 

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“He who allows oppression shares the crime.” — Art of Quotation

via “He who allows oppression shares the crime.” — Art of Quotation

Gigi shared a wonderful quote from Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (known as Erasmus) who was a Catholic priest during the Reformation. He is a humanist and spent little time as a priest and is considered to be a reformer who remained in the church , questioning its abuses. In some ways, he was Thomas Merton (the link is to an article by James Martin, SJ) some 300 years in advance.

I had not read Erasmus before last fall. His works were part of my syllabus for an educational foundations class I taught. I have since purchased a book with his essays and find him refreshing in many ways in today’s context.

When we ignore things that are improper and inhumane, we become complicit. This includes my place in Nature. It is hard to speak in today’s world without fear of being attacked. How I undersgtand the world and my presence in it, is less in terms of polarities and in continous emergence. Even the past holds uncertainties. When I sit and reflect/meditate, I often find phenomena emerge I did not experience in previous moments of reflection/meditation.

It is the same in my reading. I am re-reading Wendell Berry and find so much about how he speaks about Nature can be applied to teaching. We are stewards in this world and this includes stewards for our children and grandchildren. We are not seperate from Nature, even in urban settings. How do we preserve and conserve Nature for our children and grandchildren? Economy comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning household. How do we keep our household in order?

Gulls at Neurotsis Inlet

I took this picture in the river valley here in Edmonton. It is a beautiful place to walk and a historic, cultural, and natural gathering place for people and animals as demonstrated by the terns. Not in the picture are the people who gather to walk and sit along the river.

A Pearl from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

via A Pearl from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

David Herbert posted this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in April. Bonhoeffer was executed hours before the end of World War II by the Nazis who held him as a prisoner for about 1.5 years. He is a modern day martyr and opposed the Nazis fromt the time they came to power.

David’s quote is a wonderful insight into how God is not driven by human views, opinions, and ideologies. We each have free choice and will to live in proper ways and to treat the world we live in (we are not separate) with reverence.

Nature, including humans, are gifts given to preserve and conserve in their purest forms.

Daffodils, Lake, and Mountain in Glacier

Of all the pictures I post, this is my favourite. Kathy took the picture as she drove through Glacier National Park in Montana. With the flowers, grass, trees, lake, mountain, snow, clouds, and sky, there is so much of Nature’s in the picture.

Thistle And Bee

via Thistle And Bee

Kenne is a wonderful photography and poet. In this post, he provides beautiful art along with a quote from Alan Watts.

Watts was an early interpreter of Eastern philosophies. In his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, he distinguishes between faith and beliefs. To have faith, one accepts what comes. According to Watts, we reduce our anxiety. To believe, one fits the world to fit those beliefs.  In this case, we create doctrine and dogma, religious and otherwise, to suit what our beliefs are. We become anxious in our defense of our beliefs.

When we have faith, we accept what comes and we are part of the larger whole. When we have a belief system, we defend it and treat people and things as if they are resources and disposable. Nature is something exploitable and not something to enjoy and protect.

When I look at the picture Kenne shared, I am reminded how each person, being, and thing is somehow intertwined with everything else. The bee depends on the flower and we depend on each of them in particular ways. We treat the thistle as a weed, rather than as a source of food for the bee and the bee’s honey a source of food for us. Without either of them the universe is diminished. As Watts suggested, we have to see and listen with the eyes and ears of the universe to appreciate the universe’s magnifence.

Yellowstone Elk

I took this picture several years ago in Yellowstone National Park. I was about 20 feet away from this elk with my camera and a few trees between him and me. He knew I was there. A moment before he looked at me, seemed to sense I was not a threat and went back to eating. I did not move suddenly and kept my eye on him each moment I was down there.

Dance of the reef heron…

via Dance of the reef heron…

Sriram shares beautiful photos from nature along with poetry and quotes to complement.

Wendell Berry reminds me nature is a place of refuge among the wild things we share the universe with. It is in those spaces we dance with the heron and others.

Nadia Janice provokes me to pause and experience what I imagine as flight. Here, I imagine in ways the universe becomes even more than I experience it in my senses.

Several years ago, I wrote a class paper sharing how the Psalmists and Psalms resonated God’s voice and vision of the universe humans live in with all other creatures and natural phenonmenon. Our anscestors understood the universe as a place of wonder and imagined how it spoke to them and revealed itself in divine ways.

Faith

Today, was the last full weekend of classes for me. I have one more class to go and I need to finish the preliminary document for my dissertation proposal which is this weekend’s job. There is a faith that comes with this latter effort. When I began, it seemed daunting, but with over 100 pages for the first three sections in place it is more manageable looking.

Along with finishing classes, I will go home and the bulk of my work will be done there. There are challenges in that, as at Gonzaga, I had a particular discipline which was not the case at home before I retired from the classroom. Working full-time and all the other things that life brings, did not always provide time to work at the necessary routine in a disciplined way. Having said this, the shadow of newly found discipline casts a shadow which gives life to it.

Czeslaw Milosz suggested a shadow is what gives something strength to live and I am thinking of discipline and routine that way today as I ready myself for my Sabbath.

The word Faith means when someone sees
A dew-drop or a floating leaf, and knows
That they are, because they have to be.
And even if you dreamed, or closed your eyes
And wished, the world would still be what it was,
And the leaf would still be carried down the river.

It means that when someone’s foot is hurt
By a sharp rock, he also knows that rocks
Are here so they can hurt our feet.
Look, see the long shadow cast by the trees;
And flowers and people throw shadows on the earth:
What has no shadow has no strength to live.

A Real Christmas Gift

I struggled to get the words together. I find I forget the message of this time of the year. Jesus was marginalized at birth, but I can imagine the regal presence and bearing of his parents. He was devoted to those in need. I think of Jesus as rebel as he helped the marginalized. He disagreed with political and religious leaders of the time and sought out those on the margins; those in the most need.

Along a dusty road–

A carpenter strode,

The expectant mother rode,

A donkey her only transport

Her regal carriage–

Back straight, head high

Refuge sought–

Turned away countless times.

Marginalized–

He arrived humbly

Born in a stable,

Cradled in a manger,

Welcomed by beasts,

Royal gifts showered upon us–

Without cost;

Priceless.

He only asks, “Can you open your heart?”

He returns each year–

Lights our way,

A source of strength,

Humbly receive gifts,

Restock spirits,

Replenish the soul.

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