A Voice in the Shadowlands

Archive for September, 2010

Taking a Second Glance

I’ll admit it. I’m weird.  I have gotten used to the fact that I have a unique way of appreciating life. It leads to meeting a weird and wonderful group of people in many aspects of life but when it comes to the religious life, you tend to find yourself on the outs. Still that usually doesn’t bother me. In fact, I feel like it leads to me having a very individual and interesting way at looking at an area of life that often gets excused as either confusing or boring. Confusing? Oh yes. Boring…not if treated properly.

I’ve written before about my questions for stories that are hinted at in the Bible but not addressed and my ponderings on Imago Dei. Perhaps you are aware that I’m dabbling in writing a play that had been poking at me for a while. I’m in a bit of a stall at the moment with it, but I have an idea for where it’s going. Some folks that know about it are amused, some are just baffled. It’s my attempt to make the Bible a bit more accessible to people like me. I believe it’s the overflow from a lifetime of reading odd things and watching too much TV (I am, after all, the only person I know who associates Elijah’s showdown on Mount Carmel with a good old fashioned Western). In a sentence, it’s an attempt to present every book in the Old Testament in the manner of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged. Fun, but frustrating and I’m not sure if that’s natural or not (this is my first large scale drama venture.

The last week or so I’ve been wondering exactly how worthwhile the endeavor is. Is it for too much of a niche market? Have I danced around the line of sacrilege so closely that I’ve finally crossed it? If I do finally finish it, would anyone come to see it? Am I too weird?

I was comforted this week when I ran across a website called Word. Word is an artists attempt to combine his love of design and the Bible coming up with some amazing designs for passages from different books, or the books themselves. He also has reflections for each work. It has made me happy to find someone who appreciates the subtle humor that lies in a pair of she-bears mauling young men who are joking a bald prophet.

It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only oddball who reads the Bible the way I do. It gives me a bit of a push that maybe I’m not too far off for writing this play (or for wanting to attempt the other stories that are crammed up in my noggin).

So, I think about the Bible in a non-conventional way. I’m all right with that. If nothing else, I can explain it to myself in a way I understand.

-Pax


There and Back Again

I have had a bit of a hobbit’s holiday. It’s similar to a busman’s holiday, except that at various points in the journey you feel like you’re about to die, you never seem to be able to misplace a ring, it gets insanely hot and you eventually learn a life lesson or two. On the upside, it seems that I’m coming through some of the spiritual funk that I’d been experiencing.

We’re all entitled to them, and even if we aren’t, they seem to find us and drag us down. It’s funny that while these are the times that you need to dive closer to God, they’re the times you least want to. I am eternally grateful that eventually God either pokes me enough or breaks a divine 2×4 over my head to get my attention. And, when you finally surrender, you do feel better. For me, the struggle with release is the fact that I have to admit that I can’t do it by myself.

So, after being slammed with the “Ecclesiastical” idea of “this too shall pass” I find myself a bit less neurotic, a lot more calm, and a bit more peaceful. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world. My time to do what I was born to will come and I’m just in training (and lately have several new ideas). My worries are only light and momentary when compared to what I will become. I am responsible for my spiritual growth. The more I release, the freer I become.

I’m still trying to understand all it is that I have learned. You have to ponder and ruminate these things. So, tonight’s words are short but pleasing to put down.

For those of you who read (which honestly amazes me), may I suggest that when the time comes that you experience the dark times that you look up Brooke Fraser and listen to C. S. Lewis Song. Sometimes what you need is a little perspective.

“Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me”

~Pax


That’s Enough

I feel like I spend so much of my life waiting. You wait to get old enough to do stuff. You wait in lines (the ones in Wal-mart are the worst…I’m becoming more and more convinced that ol’ Wally World is an annex of Sheol). You wait for Friday. For 5:00. For dinner. It never ends…and I hate it. I hate spinning my tires in idle. I hate feeling like I’m doing a whole lot of nothing.

And waiting seems to be an important part of the spiritual life. Doesn’t that just give you warm fuzzies? It makes me want to throw my arms up and walk away from it all sometimes. God has an interesting sense of humor on top of being our Parent. Years ago I felt the call to my special purpose. I tried to follow but I know now that I wasn’t quite mature enough and the time just wasn’t right. I got burned; I got scared and I ran. Several years later, I decided to play substitute with God. The old “What you want me to do doesn’t really thrill me so what about if I do this for you instead” routine. God let me indulge in that (and I think do a fairly good job) but I realized that, as scary as it was, I would not be happy if I didn’t do what God made me to do. I let God take me to the mat, ate some crow and started to actually get me excited about the possibility. So, of course God would come in on his white horse, do his God-ly duty and make everything fall into place. I’ve heard it happens like that sometimes but only very rarely for me. So, I’m still waiting, but I’ve never been patient.

I know that it’s for my own good. Apparently, I still need to learn patience and other things but it weighs on me. Lately, I’ve had other weights around my neck. I keep saying that the “period” term is out of sorts, but there is a term older than the 18th century that we still use today, “dark night of the soul.” Thanks to St. John of the Cross, I think I have the best term for what I’m experiencing. Still, in the midst of the darkness, I can appreciate the light that I see. God answered some prayers Wednesday night. I have hope that situation will continue to brighten. Wednesday was also the third time recently I was reminded about a situation in Job. Through all of his suffering and the unhelpful advice of his friends, Job just wants to confront God and lay out all the questions he has. If anyone had a case, it was Job. He lost his kids (10 of them), sheep (flocks of them), camels (herds) and legitimately all hope that he would ever have comfort or security again. Finally, God shows up but before Job gets his say, God has a few questions of his own. They go on and on. It is nearly 4 whole chapters (if I remember correctly) that God talks and then he let’s Job go.

Job doesn’t ask questions. None of his questions were answered. But, in front of the storm, Job simply says,”

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

God showed up. That was enough.

I’m jealous. I want that. I could be all right then, I think. The waiting. The seemingly pointless stretching out between the call and fulfillment. I honestly believe if he’s just show up…that could be enough.

On a night without a lot of peace…Pax.