Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sacred Compass 2

Today I'm blogging in growing green of Ordinary Time and starting with a backtrack from my Sacred Compass blog 1:

Sacred Compass is the latest book by Brent Bill, my friend who's a Friends (Quaker) pastor who lives in Indiana and sometimes hangs out on Facebook. Brent blogs at Brent Bill dot com and at the highly sacramental-sounding Holy Ordinary. Since I posted my first Sacred Compass blog Brent has started a Spiritual Discernment Blog; amazingly, blogger had reserved the Sacred Compass name in advance! I'd asked "is 'serendipitous' biblical theology?" I think maybe it is!

edited later: sacred compass blog spot no longer is active, so you can claim it for yourself.

Sacred CompassBrent is doing a great job keeping his book before the public and I want to be a loyal fan; after all, I'd like a few groupies surrounding me when my book (the one I haven't worked on at all for ages) debuts.

As we humanoids often observe, life is a long, strange trip. To name a handful who have walked in trust, like Abraham, Jacob and Paul and exactly like Bonhoeffer and MLK, those of us who commit to an often precarious path quickly discover it's far stranger and way more exciting than any human could invent.

Brent mentioned Mother Teresa's now-famous lack of conventional faith, suggesting her initial call to the ministry she performed may have been so blazingly glorious that almost everything in its wake plain lacked flavor. But was the Saint of Calcutta's experience unique or even unusual?? We all walk by Spirit-inspired faith rather than being led by physical human senses and plodding reason and in order to not stay stuck, everyone frequently needs to follow what seem like illogical signals. Amidst these discerning days I'm constantly reminding myself, "I'm a theologian! I can do ambiguity and paradox!" But living theology visibly out loud still take guts and generates anxiety.

What similar illuminations have I experienced?

In my first blog I quoted from one of my old commonplace books: "You won't know where you're going if you are always looking back!" And also cited a car commercial: "The need to make it home is basic, instinctual, undeniable..." on the same page of the same yellow-covered notebook I filled with mostly green writing, I wrote The road that leads you away will turn and lead you home.

In recent years a pair of extremely significant homecomings have happened to me and for me, despite my ongoing restlessness and doubts.

The first is (notice I'm present-tensing) a turning twisty road I walked in order to spend the last 18 months of my mother's life with her, a narrative easier to relate face-to-face than on paper or on the computer screen. I now recognize many of the ways God and circumstances were preparing my heart and my head to do what I needed to do and finally wanted to do.

The second road that led my heart home is the one I followed finally to become the graphic designer I'd aspired to be as early as pre-kindergarten. In my other blog I wrote:
I'd planned to become an artist, ideally to design textiles. I constantly feel and think in color and obsess about typography and I've taught art and freelanced some as a designer, but my narrative includes telling people "a greater Love than art found, claimed, and continued drawing me."
Precisely so, but I also think of the two scholarships to art school I received, along with my reasons for not going, and then the sudden opportunity I had to complete a certificate program in interactive media and graphic design. That kairos timing allowed me to gain proficiency and exposure to current softwares, something that wouldn't and couldn't have happened ages ago, and makes that part of the story very cool. Needless to say, I've had to keep updating my skills, but as an artist and designer I've come home to my heart to a satisfying degree. And as I noted, the intervening years were not artfully devoid in the least, so my experiences teaching and freelancing and always thinking in color, line and type prepared me well.

As a somewhat compulsive theologian who absolutely loves to read, study, write, teach and preach, the witness of scripture is huge in my life and world, especially as it reveals Jesus to me (of course) and particularly its revelation of how God has walked before other saints and set them free to hold wilderness feasts; I'm finally starting to own that story.

Recently I added to my list of quotes on Facebook from C.S. Lewis' Dawn Treader:
...said the Lamb, "For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world." ... "There is a way into my country from all the worlds," said the Lamb...and he was Aslan himself...
Sometimes by radically rooted trust and sometimes with reasonably clear vision and hearing, often by gracefully perceiving subtle signs and signs, I've been making my way into Aslan's country, but the past decade has been lonely beyond description. As part of this current discernment phase I'm praying to discover a community that will welcome me into its journey, a people who will take time to learn who I am and celebrate my gifts and sense of call...

...another big "thank you," Brent!

my Amazon review: circles, angles and trajectories

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