February 18, 2013

Lent 3: See

The word for day 3 was "see" so I just went for the straightforward image of my glasses which have been helping me to see for about 27 years now. Last summer, I (foolishly) wore my glasses into a wave pool at an amusement park in Iowa, and promptly lost them when the first large wave hit me. I spent the rest of the day (and part of the next) in full blur mode. It's amazing how something as simple as a piece of plastic shaped in just the right way to refract light, can make the difference between seeing the world and being effectively blind.

There are lots of ways to turn that metaphor into a sermon, but I'll spare you that, at least for this time...

Lent 2: Return

This is the second image from the Lenten Photo-a-day project in which I'm participating. The word was "return" and while the first thought of "return" for me was the story of the Prodigal Son (and I sort-of had an idea of how to capture that), I guess I was still in an Ash Wednesday mood Thursday morning when I was ready to work on the project, and instead went with the scripture "to dust you will return."

At the same time I was preparing this image, I was also working on a poem that was part of a larger piece with 6 other poets on the seven last words of Jesus. The phrase I had was "it is finished", and so that idea of mortality, and in particular how we, as modern-day Christians, I believe, really shield ourselves from the painful reality of death was on my mind. (I'll probably get the poem posted on the site closer to Good Friday).

On this same general theme, I was reminded again just this week, just how amazing Leonard Cohen's song, "Going Home" is, (one day I hope to write, and even sing like this)...

February 17, 2013

Lent 4: Injustice

The theme for this day was "injustice." The day before, I had spent time both in Flint and Detroit, and there were opportunities to take pictures of the "obvious" images of injustice - urban blight, abandoned homes, "pay-day loan" stores, but none of those really appealed to me, and the idea of photographing abandoned homes felt a little like it could be perceived as "ruin porn," so I thought it more appropriate to just write out one of my favorite verses from scripture.

Until that day comes, I'll just keep singing (out of tune) with Billy Bragg...

When the world stops making sense, I need a new alphabet...

Once again, here I am trying to get caught up. The addition of a couple classes has really thrown off my blogging routine. Here's what's been of interest from the past few weeks:

Donald Miller: What is Self-Righteousness and Why is it Annoying?

Fred Clark: Secrets and lies and the deeper scandal of the evangelical mind.

Dan Dick: The Hegemony of How.

Seth Godin: Those People. (really, if you are just going to click one link today, click this one, it's really a must read).

Julie Clawson: Celebrating the Flesh.

New York Times: Even if It Enrages Your Boss, Social Net Speech is Protected (Sometimes)

File under things that are awesome: White House Announces National Day of Civil Hacking.

A couple interesting pieces from Fast Company: Can Creative Companies Save Detroit? and Rebuilding Detroit by Hand.

New music from Eels that came out a week or two ago; this video is a little odd, but I enjoy it...

February 14, 2013

Lent 1: Who am I?

In this season of Lent I'm attempting the UMC's Rethink Church Photo-a-day Challenge where I am posting a photo each day related to a specific word (or words). My hope is in addition to posting the photos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I would also try to add them to my blog with a litte explanation behind my thinking.

For the first day, "Who am I?" - I decided to keep it pretty simply. Just start writing out words and phrases that would describe me. What I found interesting about the exercise was a commitment to try and keep it fairly honest - especially with it being Ash Wednesday I didn't want to write only positive things, I felt like some measure of confession and self-reflection was due, but I also refused to write only the negative things (which is where I often go, internally, already). So I found myself pairing off words that describe me, but also speak of contradiction - things like "fearful" and "brave"; "healing" and "hurting"; "myself" and "fake".

We all have these contradictions, we all live in the grey in-between area of vice and virtue, between saint and sinner, but all too often, I suspect, we gravitate towards the easy labels. We force ourselves to choose one or the other. Especially when it comes to other people - we tend to judge them in very black-and-white ways, forgetting that we are all multifaceted beings.

What would it mean if we were to finally come to peace with our contradictions, to laugh at our imperfections and see the amazing complexity in all those people around us?

Hopefully that will be one of my aims this Lent.