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toxic images

January 25, 2023 Leave a comment

If we want to go to the mature, mystical, and non-dual levels of spirituality, we must first deal with the often faulty, inadequate, and even toxic images of God that most people are dealing with before they have authentic God experience. Both God as Trinity and Jesus as the image of the invisible God reveal a God quite different—and much better—than the Santa Claus god who is “making a list, checking it twice, who’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice” or an “I will torture you if you do not love me” god (worse than your worst enemy, I would think). We must be honest and admit that these are the versions of “god” that most people are still praying to. Such images are an unworkable basis for any real spirituality.

Trinity reveals that God is the Divine Flow under, around, and through all things—much more a verb than a noun, relationship itself rather than an old man sitting on a throne. Jesus tells us that God is like a loving parent who runs toward us while we are “still a longways off” (Luke 15:20), then clasps and kisses us. Until this is personally experienced, most of Christianity does not work. This theme moves us quickly into practice-based religion (orthopraxy) over mere word and ideas (orthodoxy).

—From YES, AND…, pp. 65-67

“If we want to go to the mature, mystical, and non-dual levels of spirituality, we must first deal with the often faulty, inadequate, and even toxic images of God that most people are dealing with before they have authentic God experience.”

Regardless, if we want to grow up in our spirituality or not, our image of God “makes us.” In other words, how we see God “affects” and “infects” how we live. The entire notion of a “Christian witness” is null and void if it is not a true representation of the nature, character, and loving responses of God [see the life of Jesus: Colossians 1:15]. We need the Spirit’s discernment to see this. We need the Spirit’s influence to bolster and shape our will to reflect God’s true image. Some of what we see in God’s people is anti-Christ. People who are looking for reasons to throw rocks at the Christian mission and message have no trouble finding targets because of our blatant hypocrisy.

I recently watched a short video where the commentators were discussing the fallout and steady decline of church attendance within our culture. The “good-old-days” are long gone, and modern culture (particularly millennials) are “checked-out” and mostly dismissive of traditional worship settings across the board (not always, but mostly). The simple reason for this isn’t about logistics or their “other” interest. The explanation had everything to do with the incongruence of Gospel evidence regarding how Jesus lived, loved, and preferred others—in comparison to the normal inconsistency of “identifying Christians” who look, act, think about, or relate toward others nothing like Jesus would. In other words—there is a massive disparity between the love of Jesus—and how “Church” people respond to the real-time events and people around them in their daily lives. That’s a brutally painful thing to hear, but we need to hear it and be motivated to re-evaluate and live better. This thing about “following” Jesus isn’t satisfied just by our attending church or religious functions. —MDP

LIVE YOUR LOVE.

IT REALLY MATTERS.

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the shift towards passion

January 11, 2023 Leave a comment

And just like that we are on our annual slide towards the cross and the empty tomb. Advent was full of so much expectation, and now we can look with eyes wide open at the great revealing of God on mission with what and who God loves. Honestly, this reading might be better served during Lent, but it seems right to jump start the meditations earlier than normal. I would ask you to “read,” and attempt to “see” what this reading really offers and invites us to know. Not everyone will… nor will everyone even try… but you might IF you’ll consider the revelation with more than a casual glance.

Every liturgical season is another opportunity to see (maybe) what we’ve never been able to see. To look longer and more intently into the depths of what (maybe) we’ve never been able to comprehend. That’s usually my approach anyways, and I pray that you heart is stirred all over again at the gloriously horrible, and the mysteriously beautiful, journey of the Passion of our Christ!

Dying, Christ destroyed our death.

Rising, Christ restored our life.

Christ will come again in glory. AMEN.

As always… much love,

Mike

The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: he who was everything had everything taken away from him. He who was seemingly perfect (Hebrews 1:3; 5:9) was totally misjudged as sin itself (Romans 8:3-4). How can we be that mistaken? The crucified Jesus forever reveals to us how wrong both religious and political authorities can be, and how utterly wrong we can all be—about who is in the right and who is sinful (John 16:8). The crowd, who represents us all, chooses Barabbas, a common thief, over Jesus. That is how much we can misperceive, misjudge, and be mistaken.

Jesus hung in total solidarity with the pain of the world and the far too many lives on this planet that have been “nasty, lonely, brutish, and short.” After the cross, we know that God is not watching human pain, nor apparently always stopping human pain, as much as God is found hanging with us alongside all human pain. Jesus’s ministry of healing and death, of solidarity with the crucified of history, forever tells us that God is found wherever the pain is. This leaves God on both sides of every war, in sympathy with both the pain of the perpetrator and the pain of the victim, with the excluded, the tortured, the abandoned, and the oppressed since the beginning of time. I wonder if we even like that? There are no games of moral superiority left for us now. Yet this is exactly the kind of Lover and the universal Love that humanity needs.

This is exactly how Jesus “redeemed the world by the blood of the cross.” It was not some kind of heavenly transaction, or paying the price to an offended God, as much as a cosmic communion with all that humanity has ever loved and ever suffered. If Jesus was paying any price, it was to the hard and resistant defenses around our hearts and bodies. God has loved us from all eternity.

—From Richard Rohr, “YES, AND…” pp. 79-80

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no longer dismayed

December 13, 2022 Leave a comment

The Christmas contemplative knows that hope is a gift, an undeserved gift of peace, but that is also a call to decision—the decision to trust…

Hope thrives on the difficulty and challenges the conclusion that our only contribution to the world will be, in the words of T.S. Eliot, “an asphalt driveway in front of our home and a thousand lost golf balls.” Hope convinces us that in clinging to our miserable sense of security and status quo, the possibility of growth and greatness is utterly defeated. Hope says that I no longer need to be dismayed over my personal dishonesty and self-centeredness and feeble life of faith. That I no longer need to feel defeated, insensitive, and superficial.

Because the question no longer is: Can I do it? Am I able? Can I overcome my moodiness, my laziness, my sensuality, my grudges and resentments? The only question is: Is Jesus the Christ able? Can my Savior, the Lord of my life, revive my drooping spirit and transform me at Christmas as he transformed the world through his birth at Bethlehem?

—From Reflections for Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning

“The only question is: Is Jesus the Christ able?”

 

In another Advent reading this morning, I was reminded that we Americans suffer with a lot of self-hate. The author went on to explain that we’ve set ourselves up for all kinds of self-disappointment because we’ve got the wrong agenda… the wrong influencers… and we’re so damn competitive. Another suggestion was that we’re too cozy with the whims of image makers who found a little success in their niche, and somehow… magically… by our swallowing all they promote and spin… the same is guaranteed for us. We are that gullible, and it appears we are starving for validation, recognition, and significance. Here’s the quote that kinda tipped me over:

 

“Competition is simply our name for domination. Whenever you create a society that has to define itself by power and success, there will have to be those who are powerless and the non-successful. And that’s the vast majority of the people in our society. People in our society are set up to lose.”—Rohr

 

I’ve never really thought a lot about the HOPE inside Advent, but man oh man… do we ever need HOPE!  Manning’s words set us on the right rails.  It all leads to the question: IS JESUS ABLE? That’s where the living waters reside.  That is what quenches and extinguishes the raging fires of self-hate and dissatisfaction with ourselves. We no longer have to be dismayed OR found groping for another affirmation of our value. So, Yes! Our God is able. Yes! That’s our real HOPE. Yes, say it again: Jesus is able. Amen.

Have a blessed Christmas! Much joy, love, peace, and hope! —MDP

 

BE GOOD AT LIFE.  LIVE YOUR LOVE.

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a love so prodigal

November 30, 2022 6 comments

Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death. He simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.

—From Reflections for Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning

I cannot love this any more than what I do! BM wrecks me with a lot of his writing, but this offering just explodes in HOPE, FAITH, JOY, and PEACE. Sometimes the gospel is just “too good” to be true for most folks.  Come on Church!  It’s true! Fear not! —MDP

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strangely warmed

November 8, 2022 4 comments

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. 

—Rev. John Wesley

“I felt my heart strangely warmed.”

 

It’s good every time I read it. Assurance is the byproduct of an awareness of the presence of grace… truth inside… working in us… in our heart… in our soul… in our mind… even our strength. It’s the end of wondering about it all. We can now finally see AND feel that grace in us. God is our divine parent… and we are God’s beloved children. We have always been so, but now we know it is a love and care that we cannot escape from. —MDP

 

 

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weirdness

October 26, 2022 8 comments

Wednesday nights at my church are interesting. A small group of people gather for a little table fellowship, a meal, a few grins and giggles, a few words from me on stuff I find spiritually interesting, and then they’re off to Bells, and/or Choir practice, and/or their recliners at home. Recently I read some stuff to them about wisdom. One of my favorite authors likens prayer to being awake to God’s presence and being aware of God’s presence.  This is wisdom:

“It is usually over time and with patience that we come to see the wonderful patterns of grace, which is why it takes most of us a long time to be converted. Our focus slowly moves from an initial preoccupation with perfect actions (first half of life issues), to naked presence itself. The code word for that is simply prayer, but it became cheapened by misuse.” -Richard Rohr

I have no idea if my beloved people appreciate or care about the tokens I give them to ponder, but I’m convinced the time-released process will eventually have a positive effect. Maybe. Hopefully.

With that said, I cried this morning as I read from Brian Doyle. Thoughts of my dad, my grandparents, and other lost loved ones came to memory with sorted trinkets of weirdness that are still dear to my heart. Memories are a blessing, most of the time. But physical touch, smell, and tangible presence are all beyond description. I miss them all deeply.

Honestly, I don’t know how Brian’s words will land on you. There is no expectation on my end, only hope that something clicks inside of your spirit, as it did when I read his words. Presence does things like that. The Spirit lands differently on us all. Isn’t that awesome?

Love to you! —MDP

HIS WEIRDNESS

A friend of mine is dying in the fast lane, he says, smiling at the image, for no man ever loved as much as he did zooming those long stretches of highway in the West, where there are no speed limits or curves or cops and nothing to kill you but sudden antelopes. But now he can see his exit up ahead, he says, and he has slowed down to enjoy the ride. He’s been pondering the sparrows, who do not sow and neither do they reap, he says, shuffling into his yard armed with fistfuls of seed.

The woman who loves him watches him go, smiling. There are so very many tiny things that are exactly him and no other man on earth, she says: When he shaves his neck every other day he bangs his razor against the right side of the sink, and there’s a little tiny scatter of hairs, which drives me stark raving insane, because never once in forty years has he remembered to rinse that off, despite one million promises to do exactly that. One time I wrote the words clean the sink! actually in the sink, with a big red arrow pointing to the place where he bangs his razor, which made him laugh so hard I thought he was going to lose a kidney, which he didn’t, nor did he clean the sink. Also he has a pair of boxers that are so incredibly ancient and threadbare you can, I kid you not, see through them. It’s like eight threads with a waistband holding them together, but God forbid he throws them out. I have pointed out to him that this article of clothing is no longer serving the purpose for which it was designed, but he won’t let them go, which tells you something about his commitment, or his craziness. Also he has a weird habit of slicing off the crust of a loaf of bread an inch at a time, which drives me stark raving insane, each piece the size of a quarter, which leaves a naked, crustless loaf of bread on the table, and who wants a loaf that looks like a skinned snake? Also even before he got sick, he shuffled, you know? He never lifts his feet. The kids and I always thought it was because he’s distracted all the time. There are ten things going on in his head at once, and walking properly is just not on his priority list, walking is something he can do on autopilot. But it sounds like there’s a rhinoceros in the hallway, and after you hear that ten thousand times, you want to shriek, My god, will you walk like a normal person! But he’s not normal, you know. That’s the point. Also he hums all the time, and he doesn’t hear it. Every day a new set of songs. Lately it’s all Beach Boys, all the time. He says he used to get in trouble in school when he was a kid because he would be humming during tests and exams and driving the other kids and the teacher stark raving insane. Same thing happened at work, he says: he would be in meetings with his soundtrack going full blast, and after a while he’d wonder why everybody was staring at him. I have been listening to his humming for forty years, and, me personally, I think Van Morrison is the all-time playlist champion, although there was a long stretch there, two or three years, where it was mostly West Coast jazz, Chet Baker and Art Pepper and stuff like that. See, that’ll all be gone when he goes, and that’s what makes me cry at night. Mostly we just try to enjoy the time we have left, but sometimes I think ahead to when the sink will be totally clean in the morning, and that will be awful, or the bread won’t have white holes where he’s cut off pieces of crust the size of a quarter. What kind of raving lunatic would do such a thing? Only him. People think what we’ll miss most is his humor and kindness and all that, which sure we will, but lately I think what we’ll miss the most is his weirdness. His weirdness is what he was. Everybody else saw him as a good guy, but we saw him as the humming rhinoceros in the hallway, you know what I mean? And sometimes I get really scared of waking up in the morning and not hearing that stupid shuffle. I hate that shuffle. I love that shuffle. That’s as close as I can get to what I am trying to say.

Let’s go feed the sparrows with him. You will not be surprised to hear that he has a weird thing going with feeding the birds: a different seed every week, and he keeps track of which ones they like. He has a piece of paper pinned up on the garage near the bird feeder with his charts on it and also, God help me, a section for comments from the birds, with a little tiny pencil. I told you the man was a total nut. Did you think I was kidding? I was not kidding. What kind of man would go to the trouble of making a pencil exactly two centimeters long? It works too. He tested it, of course. And it tells you something about him that, deep in his heart, he wouldn’t be surprised if someday he shuffled out to feed the birds and found a tiny complaint written there. Nobody who ever lived would be happier to find a complaint from the sparrows about the seed of the week, believe me. He’ll probably write a little tiny reply from the management, you know? With a promise to do better.

—Bryan Doyle, The Sun Magazine (Issue 428) “His Weirdness” August 2011.

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holy tears

October 12, 2022 8 comments

The ancient East understood there to be different types of tears, some of spiritual origin and import, or others not. Spiritual tears in themselves were variously categorized and described. They could have purifying power. They might function differently for those just beginning on spiritual journey and for those far along. They could be provoked by memory of sin and well as consideration of the goodness of God, the desire for heaven, the fear of hell, or the thought of judgment.

Overwhelmingly, tears were understood as a gracious God-given gift, a wonderful physical sign that the inner world of a person was being transformed. There is in these ancient Eastern masters a sense of the ongoing cleansing taking place as a person draws nearer to God. Tears thus become, in a sense, a sign of the continuing power of the baptismal waters to redeem the created world.

—Wendy M. Wright, “Tears of a Greening Heart,” Weavings

Overwhelmingly, tears were understood as a gracious God-given gift, a wonderful physical sign that the inner world of a person was being transformed.”

 

I find this somewhat comforting and confirming of something that I have thought and experience for a really long time. Although I’ve not used the words “spiritual tears,” I have believed that tears often signal the Spirit’s working inside of my stodgy heart works. Dry seasons, life pressures, disappointments, betrayals, fatigue, and other hard things can quickly dry up the life-giving moisture inside our emotional eco system. The Spirit’s interruption to those rhythms of thorns and thistle seem to show up when we least expect it, but mostly need it. Often… people get agitated or embarrassed by those sudden flashes of tears. I’ve come to believe that tears signal not so much our over-whelming grief… as more of a reminder that the presence of God is “there” in the moment, up close, soothing and comforting our thirst for living waters. If I’m right… those tears are pure gift! —MDP

 

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second half of life stuff

September 14, 2022 8 comments

What is God doing in the Scripture really? With that question in mind, I want to give you an operative principle, which, I believe, had it been used in the last 500 years, would have ensured a much more exciting and positive Christian history. If you’re meditating on a Bible text, Hebrew or Christian, and if you see God operating at a lesser level than the best person you know, then that text is not authentic revelation. “God is love” (1 John 4 16), and no person you meet could possibly be more loving than the Source of love itself. It is as simple as that. You now have a foundational hermeneutic (interpretive key) for interpreting all Scripture wisely. Literalism is the lowest and most narrow hermeneutic for understanding conversation in general and sacred text in particular.

Haven’t you read text and not know what to think? See, for example, where Yahweh presumably tells the Israelites to kill every Canaanite in sight—men, women and children—and then imposes a ban on every pagan town, telling the Israelites to enter, burn, and destroy everything in sight (as in Joshua 6—7). Do you really think that God is talking? I don’t think so. They have created God in their own image instead of letting God re-create them in his image.

“Well,” you say, “it is in the Bible, and that makes it true and right.” That is why we have to use a whole different lens for interpreting any authoritative text. How we deal with sacred texts is how we deal with reality in general. And how we deal with reality in general is how we deal with sacred text. And both reality and all sacred text are also fragmented and imperfect (1 Corinthians 13:12). It takes a certain level of human and spiritual maturity to interpret scripture. Vengeful and petty people find vengeful and hateful text (and they are there, but some find them even when they are not there)! Loving and peaceful people will hold out until a text resounds deep within them (and there are plenty there!). In short, only love can handle big truth.

+Adapted from the webcast “A Teaching on Wondrous Encounters”

 

That is why we have to use a whole different lens for interpreting any authoritative text. How we deal with sacred texts is how we deal with reality in general. —Richard Rohr OFM

 

It takes a fairly big investment of years, time, concentration, openness, and honesty to come into agreement with what Rohr is suggesting here. I’m not sure you can just start here. It might even be the second half of your life before you’re even willing to consider that this might be true. Honestly, it is much easier to just swallow what your pastor says (or church teaches) and live inside literalism. I’ve been there, and I know it uncomplicates (to a certain extent) where one might stand. But there are a million collisions with life that requires us to back up and contemplate what the deeper… more inherent truth might be (besides a chapter and verse response). What more aligns with the true nature of the Triune God? I say it all the time, biblically versed individuals (especially literalist) can be some of the meanest, nastiest, judgmental, and life-sucking people walking on this planet. Even Jesus asked us to live in a way and do things that are next to impossible to do without a serious download of Spirit and deep character development (i.e. love your neighbor as yourself). Ask yourself: What reflects Jesus and the goodness of God? In my estimation… that’s the better place to start. —MDP

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non-polar thinking

August 31, 2022 2 comments

Non-dual thinking is a way of seeing that refuses to eliminate the negative, the problematic, the threatening parts of everything. Non-dual thinking does not divide the field of the naked-now, but receives it all. This demands some degree of real detachment from the self. The non-dual/contemplative mind holds truth humbly, knowing that if it is true, it is in its own best argument.

Non-polar thinking (if you prefer that phrase) teaches you how to hold creative tensions, how to live with paradox and contradictions, how not to run from mystery, and therefore how to practice what all religions teach as necessary: compassion, mercy, loving kindness, patience, forgiveness, and humility.

—Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, Richard Rohr

For whatever reason, this really caught my attention when I first read it. It reminds me of Peter’s message:

Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests, don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you. Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in a measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in the revelation of his glory and celebrate with even greater gladness!” (1 Peter 4:12-13, TPT).

It’s a jolt to remember that we should not be too surprised when life goes sideways at times. In fact, that is the perfect proving ground (agitation, life pangs, disappointment, failure, rejection, etc.) for the manifestation of the things that Rohr mentions:

compassion, mercy, loving kindness, patience, forgiveness, and humility.

Those things are very much a part of the “Fruits of the Spirit” package, and that can’t really be faked very well while under pressure. Either you ooze the juice of the fruit—or you do not.

If the truth were to be known, marriage or covenant partnership might be the most perfect proving ground for what’s really inside us. Patti and I have been married 45 years, and even after all these years, we still have “come to Jesus” talks where we must be painfully real about how the relationship is going. It’s not always pleasant and I don’t always like how I respond to the process, but I always feel that we come out stronger and clearer in what we envision for our life together. Fortunately, we’re never too surprised that we get crossways with each other. We’re both strong, we’re both somewhat opinionated, and we’re both certain that we’re right in our positions. Like I said, those seasons of stretching are good proving grounds for what’s really in us. Fertile soil for good growth has all kinds of critters in it. The contemplative and the willingness to listen beyond words forces you to get good with the messy and complicated.

Recently, I’ve been pondering two questions that I think fit loosely into the genre of Rohr’s article. I don’t necessarily like the questions, but I think it might be important to face them from time to time. I wish the first question was “unthinkable,” but because I don’t want it on my plate or anywhere near my table, I’m willing to consider it’s all too often reality. I truly think it’s important to look at them and bring an honest response.

QUESTION ONE: If my mate (i.e. husband, wife, partner, significant other) announced that he or she was leaving the marriage without warning or negotiation, would it be justified at any level because of my actions, lack of actions, abuse, infidelity, lack of care, or love?

I realize that what would be considered “justified cause” would be dependent upon the individual wounded in the relationship or the damage done by some abuse or neglect of either or both parties. Real integrity with the question would probably trigger us in our culpability in what “justified” would mean. To be fair, I’ve been guilty of things that could be considered justified means. These are things that I know I’ve done that were not helpful or edifying to the relationship. But grace, and my wife’s love for me, saved the day. Just saying.

QUESTION TWO:  What would need to change in me that would validate trust (again) and promote the perpetual promise that I made when we cut covenant in marriage?

I’ve always been told that you can’t fix the “other” in your relationships. That means we only have real control or leverage with ourselves, and that’s where the work needs to happen.

Why these two questions? The only thing I got here is, why not? If I’m better for my [spouse, life partner, mate, soul mate], who is 50 percent of me, and better for myself when I’m oozing those fruit juices, especially while under strenuous pressure or complex issues, then it’s another chance to shine the goodness that resonates from my center. Honestly, facing these questions can be helpful to anyone who sincerely wants to uphold his or her side of the covenant. Even if your marriage is good and healthy, the questions make their way inside of us. If you’re aware of potential “just cause” issues, take the time to own and deal with them, repent of them, and say whatever needs to be said to the one wounded by such actions. This is the work of covenant. It should be normal, and it’s definitely necessary.

And, it’s not always bold and outrageously obvious. There can be danger in the hidden, vague and fuzzy gray. This is the crux of non-polar thinking. It appears to be imperative for healthy relationships of all kinds. —MDP

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it’s in the package

August 17, 2022 3 comments

We do not begin life on our own. We do not finish it on our own. Life, especially when we experience by faith the complex interplay of creation and salvation, is not fashioned out of our own genetic lumber and cultural warehouses. It is not hammered together with the planks and nails of our thoughts and dreams, or feelings and fancies. We are not self-sufficient. We enter a world that is created by God, that already has a rich history and is crowded with committed participants—a world of animals and mountains, of politics and religion; a world where people build houses and raise children, where volcanoes erupt lava and rivers flow to the sea; a world in which, however carefully we observe and watch and study it, surprising things keep on taking place (like rocks turning into pools of water). We keep on being surprised because we are in on something beyond our management, something over our heads.

In prayer we realize and practice our part in this intricate involvement with absolutely everything that is, no matter how remote it seems to us or how indifferent we are to it. This prayer is not an emotional or aesthetic sideline that we indulge in after our real work is done; it is the connective tissue of our far-flung existence. The world of creation interpenetrates the world of redemption. The world of redemption interpenetrates the world of creation. The extravagantly orchestrated skies and the exuberantly fashioned earth are not background to provide a little beauty on the periphery of the godlike ego; they are the large beauty in which we find our true home, room in which to live the cross and Christ expansively, openhearted in praise.

—From Earth and Altar by Eugene Peterson

I love this. Peterson offers a wonderful reminder that there is more for us to consider… more to regard… when beholding God’s creation. No doubt, it is exhilarating to see Colorado’s purple mountain majesty, aqua-blue waters of the Caribbean, and the grasslands of Kentucky! Drive through the Black Hills of Wyoming! It’s gorgeous in every direction! Yet, I wonder if we ever consider that this is part of God’s love package? In other words, I think it’s safe to say, God is emotionally vested in ALL of creation. Do we realize that? Do we care about that?

I notice there is a lot of disdain for “conservationist i.e. environmental activist,” especially when it comes to the economy (which is often our fear induced bottom line), but we all could do with a little more environmental sensitivity and nature care when it comes to honoring the vastness of the God’s love. God loves what God creates. Of course… that is you and me, but it also includes what is on, above, and below the planet’s natural surface. —MDP

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