Goodbye Manhattan Monday. Goodbye Theology Thursday. Goodbye whatever other alliterative rules I subject myself to for my blog.
And hello Project2012 Bonus Round.
I am (once again) changing my blogging rules. Because when you make the rules you are entitled to change them once in a while. Especially if you find yourself in a self-created restrictive system.
My new goal is to write more and blog less.
I’m going to pick a monthly theme and write on it every day. (In theory, each month could produce the first draft of a book.) But you’re not going to see everything I write. Because while I will be writing more I will also be blogging less.
While I will be writing every day, I plan on blogging once a week, distilling something from my week’s worth of words into a single blog post. And if you’re lucky you might find a bonus post sneaking up, whether something from my monthly theme that I couldn’t keep to myself or a random idea or adventure I stumble upon.
I currently have an outline and a few ideas running laps through my head all focused on the narrative of the Bible from Creation to New Creation. And so starting in August (which is frighteningly just around the corner) expect to see my (at least) weekly posts on the topic. And feel free to check in with me on Facebook or Twitter to see how my daily writing is coming along!
The space between the future and the past is the ever-fleeting present.
It seems that we rarely experience what is happening as we are so caught up in processing what just happened or what is about to happen. We live our lives in a state of recollection or anticipation (both of which are often saturated with anxiety).
We live somewhere else, somewhere other than the present.
A couple years ago for Lent I gave up five miles per hour.
Whatever the speed limit was, I would drive five miles less. This was not just my attempt to incite road rage in the drivers around me. This was my attempt to be present, to be where I am instead of where I’m going to or coming from.
I realized that most of my time driving is spent looking at what’s coming ahead and glancing in mirrors to see what’s just behind. But these are more than just necessary driving habits; these are the ways we live our lives. We are constantly looking ahead at what’s coming up or glancing back to see what we left behind. We live in a perpetual “there” when all that really exists is the actual “here.”
My five-miles-less experiment was a reminder to myself to be present in this ever fleeting moment. I wanted to be where I am instead of where I’m not.
What does it mean to be where you are? What does it mean to smile, breathe, and go slowly? To soak up this moment and not the one behind or ahead?
If you ask someone why they eat breakfast you will likely hear a myriad of answers: to start the day, to gain energy, to stay healthy, to satisfy early morning hunger pangs, etc. Yet all of these responses are ignoring the present moment for the sake of the future. They are all anticipating something.
Why do I eat breakfast? To eat breakfast. (The same could be said for running but I’m a much more avid breakfast eater than I am a runner.)
Be present. Be where you are. For it is the only place you can ever truly be.
Become aware of each in-breath and out-breath, present with the only moment that ever is: this one.
We will start by talking about various passages throughout scripture that talk about the earth belonging to God (Psalm 24 is one of the lectionary passages for the day) and look at what they teach us about ecology and theology.
From there we will explore the Hebrew word erets (which means “earth” or “land”), eco-theology, a theology of Wall-E, and the Year of Jubilee, all landing on the question of what church and/or faith traditions have taught us about ecology.
Lastly we will turn to various hymns, for the songs we sing have always been one of the greatest source of theological education in churches throughout history.
I’m compiling the lyrics to various hymns fertile with eco-theology roots and stumbled upon six verses to This Is My Maker’s World (commonly known as This Is My Father’s World but I’ve parsed out the gendered pronouns for God — you’re welcome). I’ve always been a fan of the hymn but after singing all six verses in my head (and maybe a little bit out loud) it is officially my favorite.
Can you guess what parts I like best?
This is my Maker’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Maker’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; God’s hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Maker’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Maker’s world: God shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear God pass; God speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Maker’s world. O let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Maker’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and Heaven be one.
This is my Maker’s world, dreaming, I see God’s face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Maker’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, God’s Only Son, came — a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Maker’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Maker’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod. No place but is holy ground.
This is my Maker’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes God’s glory known.
This is my Maker’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whatever my lot, it matters not, my heart is still at home.
The other day ago Jes and I went on a three hour tour around Manhattan. We floated past all the boroughs and under dozens of amazing bridges. And the final bridge on the tour was the one I use every day for Our Daily Bridge. And while you may have noticed the bridge before, chances are you didn’t notice the Little Red Lighthouse that lives at the great gray feet.
Jes and I ventured down from the Upper West Side yesterday afternoon. After spending an hour at The Strand (the best bookstore in the world!) and escaping the heat at a coffee shop with our newly purchased books we meandered to Washington Square Park (my favorite park in New York City!). Rather than entering through the iconic archway, we came in from the east end of the park where we were greeted by this musical treat.
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