A Spirituality of Waiting

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Henri Nouwen, A Spirituality of Waiting

“Waiting is not popular. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, “Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don’t just sit there and wait!” For many People, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place.” “But there is none of this passivity in Scripture. Those who are waiting are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. That’s the secret. The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening. A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and life the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there.” “To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wit actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.” 

This is not where I am at right now, but this is where I want to go. peace,Marshall

on waiting

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5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—      and wait for what he’ll say and do.   My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,      waiting and watching till morning,      waiting and watching till morning.

Are you, like me, a terrible waiter?  By waiter, I mean one who is waiting.  It’s really neither an art nor a science, it’s a spiritual discipline and one that does not come natural to most of us.  Of course the culture is all about instant gratification and the promises for satsifaction that it sells, but it’s fools gold.  The best things in life are aged and vintage, not rapidly produced.  Quality and wisdom take time.   Shoddy craftsmanship and foolishness can be cranked out in a instance. 

I know that waiting is good, I know that waiting is godly, but it runs counter to my temperament.  The very process tells me that I’m not in control, there’s nothing I can do and no amount of productivity on my part will bring the results.  The results will come only in the waiting.

There was a time in my life, over a decade ago, that my journal was filled with this line:  “God, if you don’t come through, there will be no coming through.”  And I find myself there again.  My heart has copied and pasted those words to my mind today.  It seems, I thought I left this place in the woods, but through a series of twists and turns, I find myself here again.  Wishing, wondering, waiting . . . ultimately I”m hoping. 

If you are out there today, and you are waiting on something that is weighing on your soul, I’m in solidarity with you.  And as you wait, know that somehow it is yet good. 

 

peace,

marshall

Pacman a Bengal

* Warning, unmeaningful sports blog to follow*How long until this is the result, utter failure?  [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wT-8Dm1VThc" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]Well, here it is, Pacman Jones is now a Bengal. I am a die-hard Bengals fan and this team is getting harder and harder to root for, it’s painful.  I want my team to have some sort of character standard but in a city of unyielded conservatism, the football team is as liberal with their personnel hires as a frog’s butt is water tight.  If history is the best predictor for future results then this team is headed for a season straight out of our former mayor, Jerry Springer’s, greatest hits. I need to figure a way to compartmentalize my fandom.  Don’t view them as people, role models or citizens . . . rather just see them as entertainers and warriors for my gaming pleasure.  Not sure this dualism works for me, but apparently, if I want to be a Bengals fan again this season, it will be required.To the boys in bengal stripes, let’s behave ourselves, please.sincerely,One of your fans.

Theory of Everything?

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nS734OF1PiI" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /] This BBC series of paralel universes is always something I have found really interesting, if not fascinated by.  I am not a physicist, in fact, I have never taken physics, although I’m fascinated by it.  I am just a thinker and at most, a theologian.  As a theologian, I am very interested in the questions of how and why, much more than what.  The theologians of the Modernist world were soley interested in what, objective truths to build a systematic theology on.  They sought to remove all mystery from the faith in search of a dogma that would stand the test of time.  In my opinion, often what they created was a sub-culture that does not account for culture, history or worldview assumptions. We all start with worldview assumptions, whether we are conscious of them or not.  It’s best to just admitt them up front.  I admitt that I see the world as a Creationist, that God is one and the uncaused Cause of all that we see and perceive.  And that God is both transcendent over the universe as well as immanent and close to the Creation.  God revealed himself within creation in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who explained, taught and modeled the basis of life, that which he called “the Kingdom of God.”  To me, the Kingdom of God, as revealed by Jesus is the theory of everything for practical, daily life.  The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is the heart of the KOG, a map for living and finding harmony within Creation.  So when I read, listen and think about Scientific discussions and theories, its impossible for me to view them outside of these assumptions.  That is how I approach Einstein’s theory of everything, or otherwise called String Theory.I perceive a lot of truth in String Theory.  It is just that, theory, but I come alive thinking about it.  I can’t factor the equations, but I can comprehend the ideas and the thinking behind them.  I’ve been reading, listening and discussing this theory for the past few years and the controversy between old science and new science is another dynamic of it. From a theological standpoint, it just makes sense to me.  That there is Unification to the universe, a master equation.  As a Creationist, I believe in a vastly intelligent designer who created based on order, unification and design.  I perceive the universe as a result of purpose, instead of random chaos.  Do not parallel universes fit within the idea of the spiritual realm that our Scripture narratives tell stories about?  That there is a daily interaction between the spiritual and the physical realm?  And what about the Incarnation?  How exactly did Jesus, (God in human form), leave the realm of heaven and enter physically into the earthly realm?  Could that be explained with a wormhole?  Jesus’ miracles, his healing of the blind and the crippled.  Is there not a scientific/physical explanation for the events themselves if we believe them to be historical?  Is a healing simply a re-arranging of strings through a supernatural energy source?  I’m amazed that Christians don’t want to have this conversation.  Why should we be afraid of physical explanations of supernatural miracles?  The supernatural is the energy and agent/cause of the effect, but the effects can be measured and understood on a natural level.  Why be afraid of that?  The best conversations I’ve had on this topic has not been with other Christians, but with atheists or agnostics who are constantly seeking understanding of what is real. I’m interested in truth.  I emabrace though, that wrapped up in my search for truth is an amazement with mystery and the unknown.  The God I know, that I perceive, that I have a relational connection to (as John Calvin calls a “mystical union”) is as much a mystery to me as a known quantity and I’m okay with that.  I am challenged to that conclusion over and over again, but I keep coming back to it as my theory for everything.  String theory interests and fascinates me, somehow I find a spiritual connection to it all.peace, Marshall