A TED talk by photographer Louie Schwartzberg, and a short film (exquisite) narrated by Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast. Watch and open your life to Life, experience the truth that "Today is a gift that was given to you, and the only appropriate response is gratitude." See the world again through the eyes of a child and an elderly man.
Christian Wiman is a poet whose prose has grabbed my attention. Having grown up in west Texas, where he never knew a non-Christian until he went to college, Wiman, walked away from his Christian faith, from any faith, until recently. In his most recent book, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, Wiman writes raw and articulately about faith. He's not a conventional Christian. He struggles to believe. He bangs against orthodoxy. But he can't shake that "insistent, persistent ghost". Here's a passage that names what many today feel, those who find it hard to believe in God, yet struggle more to not believe:
". . . nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God's absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-love at once protected me from and subject me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God's presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe."
Does belief pain you? Do doubts persist? Questions nag?
If so, you're not alone. Authentic faith has room for such a struggle. It needs room for that struggle if faith is to be real in times as troubles as these.
Intention: Today, I'll mindfully hold two things within my heart--my belief in God and my struggle to believe. That honest tension creates the inner space of true prayer.
Gordon Cosby may be the most influential pastor you've never heard of. He's a model and mentor of the kind of life I write about in these posts. And today, we need strong models, witnesses to the life of the Spirit. He's one who attracted thousands upon thousands to the Jesus of the Gospels, many who were either burned out or turned out by the Jesus of suburbia bandied about buy a large segment of American Christianity. His vision of Jesus and his way of life is particularly important in these days of increased suspicion, hostility, and violence. Gordon died on March 20, 2013 in Washington DC. The co-founder of the Church of the Savior co-founder and life-long servant leader he passed into the full presence of God at Christ House, a hospice he helped to found for the homeless.
From the Washington Post:
Gordon was absolutely Christian. He was focused on Jesus and sought to live deeply in Christ. I once asked him if his intense focus on Christ did not get in the way of interfaith conversation and respect. He told me that it was his experience that those who went most deeply into their own religion’s truths seemed to understand each other and communicate with each other best. He was profoundly and distinctively Christian without an ounce of parochialism.
How many of us have dreamed of doing something new, adding something to our lives, cutting something out? And how many of us have done what we've dreamed of doing? Why not?
In this TED Talk, Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, invites you to do something for 30 days . . . and see what happens. In less than six minutes, he'll embolden you to step out and achieve something new in your life.
Write a novel.
Break the Facebook stranglehold on your time.
Go deeper in prayer.
Stop dreaming and DO.