Snoopy beat me to it. These days though the issue for me when I do theology is not right or wrong but whether or not the theologian himself is right before God. To me theology and the theologian should be something that overlap. Theology without soul is dead letter. Soul without Theology is aimless and wandering. This is why I spend more time working on me before God in truth and then let whatever theology flows from that come out to give me direction. It is about being right in life and faith so it takes a more comprehensive view of things in my mind to do good theology.
Part of this is find that which transforms you. I have long ago given up that I can change myself too much other than in superficial ways like habits and choices as it is when those habits and choices put my in front of God that he changes me. It is about spiritual disciplines that place oneself in a place where God can change you. That is why I have spent an inordinate amount of time this week focused on myself as less on other things. It is about putting me back in perspective. My guess is that my surgery was the catalyst for this desire and the trigger. I also have been through prayer changing my way of doing things from tasks to roles.
The main thing here is that it is not about doing certain things but being certain things and then each day ding something that reinforces that role. The journal posts are an accounting and reflection of these things. When I say I am a theologian it means doing something each day that reinforces that idea either through drawing close to God or dwelling on his Word. This blog is then supposed to be a reflection of he results of that process in some way shape or form.
My main habit now as I have worked on this a couple of weeks is to first thing each day name off the roles one by one and ask what can be done to reinforce them that day. Then at the end of the day say them again and ask if I actually did what I set out to do that day. It is simple enough to say, harder to do. So far it has gone OK and there has been improvement each day. Sometimes a role has to be expressed in creative ways like Weight Lifter right now given my recovery restrictions. So I find other things to do that remind me of weight lifting but don’t actually involve weights and the gym. Each role has its own unique problems in expression.
By taking this approach, I hope to keep myself in a place where God can change me in a direction he would like to see me go, while at the same time preserving my own freedom to define myself which I believe God wants as well seeing he has given us freedom. It is a real balancing act.
From a theologian perspective it is all part and parcel to theology being built into life and constantly living and growing. If a person’s theology has not changed since they became a Christian, I would question their walk with God. God and life are just to being and vast to think we have them all wrapped up and understood in a short space of time. Even if we were to live a thousand years, this would be so.
Blessings and Cheers!!!
It is hard when you can see the end of something that has been enjoyable. This sabbatical has been something that I have enjoyed immensely mostly because I have been able to really refocus on what I think is important. This is not a final report as that will come Friday. Tomorrow is the last day and there are some things that I must do so here we go.
The Sabbatical Rundown:
- Am I further along perhaps but there is something to be said for a couple of concepts that keep going over and over in my head – 1) That I need to work on facing the truth about my current situation, 2) I need to be more aggressive in pursuing and expressing what needs to happen in my life. Am I missing more assertiveness?
- This is the point of the sabbatical where returning back to the grind is kind of a dark cloud over the whole thing. The only thing is that number one above is really making it clear to me what needs to be done.
- No progress since last time.
- I have an appointment with the doctor about my hernia tomorrow, they better act quickly or there is little point because by August I have to start thinking school. There is no way I can have this done during school. In the meantime it has been a great week lifting and hiking so far. It has been very meditative.
- Definitely rested, final report Friday.
- On hold for dejunking because there is one tool that I want to get yet – a dumpster and then I can really get going on this. I am thinking simplicity and minimalism these days.
- So far it has been OK but we will see when things get a little farther into Summer.
One more day tomorrow and then it will be time to get back to work.
Blessings and Cheers!!!
In my searches through the internet for hiking, I have stumbled upon the idea of minimalism and I wondered what difference this had with the Christian concept of Simplicity. If there is a difference then it is of degree. A person stretching for simplicity seeks to remove the complexities of life while the minimalist seeks to get rid of all that is not essential. That is a rough definition but I have seen minimalists and those who follow simplicity go to such extremes that you wonder what it is that they enjoy. On the flip side, some of both state clearly that if there is something you truly enjoy you should keep it around because it is both used and enjoyed. My point is that there are different shades of grey on both and that can keep you scratching your head.
Where minimalism comes to play in hiking is the idea of carrying on your back only that which you truly need. It is a good concept to at least engage because the one thing you do not want to have is something weighing you down that you truly do not need. For the hiker minimalism will in some way be part of your life as you shed your stuff to accomplish something better.
Right now both of these concepts are at war in my spirit as one of the things I am trying to do with this sabbatical is simplify my life and remove the baggage of stuff and crap I do not need anymore. I love my book but how many of these things am I actually going to read again. I have many book I have bought but have not read. Will I really read them. In addition there are lots of stuff items that need to be gone through and discarded or kept. At home I am trying to be a person who practices simplicity.
When I put my pack on my back I am a minimalist. I want to have what I need and nothing more other than a few things needed to get by without going mad. I imagine this fight will rage in me the entire sabbatical and beyond.
Blessings and Cheers!!!
I played ‘hooky’ today. I know it seems out of character but even I do this at times because sometimes. Not that it was really hooky from my own church, everyone knew I was going to be gone. What I did do I was not in church at all for the first time in years. If someone were to ask me why? It is simply no longer restful for me to go in any church.
I was discussing this yesterday with a friend. I can’t go into any church anymore, because I go into ministry mode almost immediately whenever I walk in the door of the church. Any church. If it is mine the reason is obvious but when I am in someone else’s, the gear turn anyway although in a different direction. Is that the right way to do ministry? Is the sermon effective? Do the ministries of this church line up with their stated vision? etc. I step in a church and I am at work and this sabbatical I am going to avoid work at all costs.
That also said I have large misgivings about modern church ministry these days. Let me list them: 1) Being fake and having to put up false fronts, 2) Having to placate people who are not right with God in order to survive financially. 3) The aging congregations of churches across the board. 4) Apathy. etc. We have seen this list before in many books and many conferences. The issue is will things change. I have come to the painful conclusion that only a genuine revival from God will do so and I simply don’t see God acting yet. He I suspect is waiting for some move toward something on our part that demonstrates our faith and trust in him. Unfortunately, I think American Christianity has become too religious. We have become too religious.
The Spirit Rundown:
Leadership: I have a stack of stuff on my desk related to this as well that I need to finish this week. I want to go into my anniversary weekend, with nothing on my plate.
Ministry: Sabbatical – No Entry.
Celebration: All things are focused on my son’s wedding. In less than two weeks, he will marry the love of his life. I simply want to be for there for both of them.
Spiritual Disciplines: I have not spoken of it much but hiking has become in many ways my new form of both solitude, silence and meditation. It has been a wonderful breath of fresh air in this area.
Blessings an Cheers!!!
I have one more Sunday and then my sabbatical begins. I have never looked forward to something this much in a long time. It is not that I dislike my job as a pastor, far from it, I just need to take a break. This last year has been difficult. The church has lost a beloved saint, I seem sickness after sickness in the others. It has been very taxing fro ma stress point of view trying to get a new vision going and to be honest I really need to reevaluate my direction personally. Simple put – time to take a break.
That said this month off has some things to be done. 1) Visiting an old friend’s sons graduation, 2) My wife and I’s 27th anniversary on June 10th and 3) My son’s wedding on June 17th. On top of that I need to clean the garage, work on my physical health and generally deal with some other issues.
The Spirit Rundown:
Celebration: Been a good weekend as we celebrated my son’ bachelor party and he has been up for the weekend. I will say no more.
Spiritual Disciplines: Lots of prayer but mostly mediation as I walk each day.
Leadership: I need to finish up the registration process to run for office of the local school board.
Ministry: One week till my time off.
Blessings and Cheers!!!
I am not sure how else to describe it. I guess others have called it melancholy but that would imply depression and I don’t know if that is what I am feeling these days. It is more of an uneasy boredom coupled with energetic excitement. I call “The Grey”. I used to get depressed back when my father first died quite a bit. I don’t think my family knew how to handle it and I certainly didn’t receive much help from my church or pastor at the time. Eventually I came out of it on my own but I know what depression feels like and this is not depression. For me I think it stems from the fact that the school year is ended and I need a new learning fix and I am rapidly working through the things I picked to the point that all the reading on my reading list may very well be done before the end of May let alone June. This whole college thing has reignited my passion to read if nothing else and that is a good thing.
The other thing that goes into The Grey, is when I read or watch something that is particularly emotionally resonating to me. I just finished Saturday the Hunger Games movies and I have to say that it hit me where it counts in this regard as the main character resonated with me quite intensely. I understood the character’s struggles , frustrations and fears. It had a rather twisted way of taking me back to my childhood. A few movies and shows do that every time. This list includes Babylon 5 the Series, Hook the film and now I would say the Hunger Games. I can’t tell you why specifically with any of these, but I know I am not be able to watch them without feeling The Grey.
Now you would think I would consider this a bad thing but I don’t. The Grey simply is neither good or bad to me. It usually signals that my spiritual state is changing, if that makes any sense and so I am listless, bored and at times melancholy but it is also mixed with curiosity, energy and at times – joy. I wish I could explain it better than that but you know what I mean if you have experienced it. It is like being on path that is covered in fog. You know you are walking it, but you can’t see where it leads so you are afraid and excited at the same time.
The Spirit Rundown:
Spiritual Disciplines: Lots of meditation on my walks this week.
Celebration: My son’s bachelor party is this week which means he will be home and I can’t wait because I do miss him being around. Soon he will be married and I couldn’t be more happy for him.
Ministry: I have two Sundays and I will be on sabbatical, hiatus or whatever I am calling it. All I know is that I need this month off desperately and it has caused me to realize that I will be taking at least two weeks vacation every year from now on.
Leadership: Had a board meeting last Monday. It was OK but I find the MOISD less intense than RCAPS. I guess that is why I am running for the RCAPS office again.
Blessings and Cheers!!!
Disclaimer: This series is a serious consideration of nudity in art as it relates to spirituality. As such it does contain artistic images of nudity in the form of paintings, drawing and sculptures. The reader is advised that if these kinds of works of art offend you not to proceed further. Thank You.
I haven’t written in this series for a while so it should be explained that this is kind of my way now of exploring the subject of nudity in a spiritual context. It is about ultimately trying to recapture the idea of spiritual nudity and the idea that nudity in and of itself might be considered as spiritual discipline. You the reader can of course take that literally or metaphorically and when it comes to nudity in the context of spiritual art you should keep a foot in both.
I left off this series looking at the art of Karol Bak. The first post in this two part series on his works was kind of a panorama of some of his different works but this time I want o focus on the painting above which I find mysterious. When judge on my spiritual criteria takes flight as it were.
Vulnerability: The woman is completely vulnerable in the painting. She is engaged in a full frontal with her arms over her head and laying on her back. This indicates a kind of comfort with her body and situation that Karol Bak has definitely placed in this painting.
Openness: Not as much as you might think. It is almost like she is flying she is vulnerable but a little closed and fierce to me. She is flying and so seems to be keeping her distance slightly. She wants to be seen but not touched.
Intimacy: It is really hard to depict intimacy with only one person in the painting. I would say not so much but I like the intimacy with the spiritual forces that is depicted by the symbols that float about her.
Genuineness: Definitely being who she is. Her nakedness simple adds to the absolute depiction of her femininity. A strong woman is depicted here as well as an attractive one.
Wholeness: Once again difficult to do with one person but she seems complete within herself. She float alone but in power and confident in who she is.
Equality: Not easy to say. She almost seems to have a look of superiority despite her nakedness and that is tough to do. She definitely comes off strong.
Ultimately we have a depiction of a spiritual woman who is strong in her spirituality and her nudity does not take away from that but seems to add to it. She is not open but vulnerable. She is genuine and powerful. She is above all things and yet connected but distant. Truly a lot of contradictions but that my friends is what I think makes a great work of art. I can foresee Bak’s painting being considered very highly.
Blessings and Cheers!!!