Tag Archives: spirituality

Not Blogging

Not Blogging

For me, words can’t reveal like the camera can.

It seems a bit off to write a blog post about not blogging.

Nevertheless, since this is what I’m thinking about, here we are.

I like writing. I like the process of crystallizing my thoughts to the degree of being able to express them to others via printed word, in hopes that they will get a clear idea of what’s transpiring in my head.

I like the art of crafting communication, considering word choice, sentence rhythm, symmetry and variety as facets of communicating with lively interest.

I mostly think in words, in lists, in essays…rather than in pictures or physical movement.

And yet, with all of this internal appeal, in this season I cannot say that I feel the same way about writing as I do about photography.

I have mentioned previously that I am on a journey of exploring the creative outlet of making images digitally. More life-giving than a hobby, more essential than “art for art’s sake,” photography is touching on something deeply within.

Shockingly, something more intrinsic to me than writing.

Writing is certainly a creative art.

But composing a literary piece is not touching those same spots within me as photography is, those places where the image of God is seeded, waiting to come to fruit.

I have found myself with a need to create–to go out and make new images, or at the very least to process images previously received and bring them to the height of my heart’s desire. Flickr and Facebook are becoming the avenues for sharing my heart, more so than articles and blogs.

I’m still writing (obviously)–even working on a book project–and I don’t expect that to come to a complete halt. But how long will this season of photographic primacy last? How long will the camera call to me more loudly than the pen or keyboard?

Who’s to say? But for now, I long to enjoy and must be faithful to the drive within: to reveal the image of my Creator God through my humble, limited opportunities for producing what my own heart conceives, what my own eye fancies. Perhaps the world may too enjoy something it has never before received.

Perhaps it will just be for me…and Him.


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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Life


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That’s So Totally (not at all) Random!

That’s So Totally (not at all) Random!

“Just the other day, I randomly bumped into…!”

“I had this totally random thought…!”

“I found that I had a totally random connection to…!”

We use the word ‘random’ often enough. As we observe conversation, relationships, connections we often apply the label ‘random.’

Even scientifically, we discuss the random motion of particles, the generation of random numbers, and the probability of the occurrence of random events.

piAs a mathematician, I’ve thought a bit about randomness.

My conclusion?

“We use that word a lot; I do not think it means what we think it means.”

It seems to me that when we run into a situation that is immeasurably intricate, overwhelming complicated, where the interconnections and relationships are just too complex, we attempt to simplify all of it by calling it random.

Coincidence. Happenstance. Surprise.

Unpredictable, perhaps, but not because things are so purely random: they’re just often too multifaceted, too deep for us to be able to appreciate and handle. Chaos theory, anyone?

I think back to my early days of computer programming. When you needed a random number, the computer asked you for a “random number seed,” a starting number that the computer would then perform some complicated mathematical operations on in order to generate another number, seemingly at random–but truly not so: the relationship of the result to the original random number seed was just too complex for us to grasp. But in the earliest days, if you used the same random number seed, you would get the same “random number” each time.

Who were we fooling?

Instead of being comfortable with complexity, we’ve tried to hide it under this idea. “Well, that was random!” We comment on someone’s remark, or on a sudden malfunction, or on some other surprise event.

Likely, it wasn’t random at all. But we don’t want to stop and consider all the relationships and factors that went into bringing about that occurrence. So we simplify our understanding.

Talking with a group of friends recently, we were discussing the idea of the mysteries of God. There are many things we can know about Him, much that we can say. But there are some things that are not fully explainable, things that we can’t completely describe (I love the word ‘ineffable’). There are some areas where we can take our knowledge and understanding to a certain point, but no further.

For some people, this is frustrating or even unacceptable. Intellectuals (like me) may not be easily satisfied with anything less than exhaustive understanding. We may not like the idea of having to eventually say, “I just don’t know.”

For us, eventually confronting this idea of mystery is a challenge, a spiritual discipline in and of itself.

Interesting: so willing to label the happenings of life as random (content with a lack of understanding), but so resistant to labeling the things of God as a mystery (demanding full understanding).

For the one who looks to science to explain all things, it surprises me to find such contentment with the notion of random.

And for the one who looks to God as the source of all things, it surprises me to find such reluctance to permit a significant degree of mystery.

We as people seem to have caught ourselves between two silly extremes.

We daily admit to ourselves that we cannot understand the depths of everything going on, and yet we make demands of God about why certain things do or don’t happen, how He can possibly be regarded as good, powerful, or just based upon all the evidence we observe.

We contentedly limit science (as we apply the label ‘random’), but we want to fully master God, as we demand full knowledge of Him…all the while disgruntled by the seeming incongruities between God and science.

If we took the fervor that we sometimes apply in trying to crack God’s code, getting into the secret realm behind the curtain to expose Him for who we think He really is–if we took that same fervor and invested ourselves in the conversations, relationships, interactions, and thoughts that we so readily refer to as random, I wonder if we couldn’t enjoy the best of it all: deep awareness of the world we live in and the people we live amongst, all the while acknowledging (which means knowing) a great, powerful, and mysterious God who is watching over us all.

Perhaps these thoughts above strike you as totally random.

I assure you, they’re not.


Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Life


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A Churchless Cross?

A Churchless Cross?

I recently participated in a one-day pilgrimage that focused on the symbol of the cross. We explored its centrality and importance in Celtic Christianity, and had opportunities to consider our own life of prayer.

It got me thinking about the cross.

It’s a rather ubiquitous symbol, even outside of the church grounds. In fact, in some cases, it’s more prominent outside of churches than in them.

I always cringe when I find a crossless church. I have been in many modern sanctuaries and places of worship where a cross is hard to find, perhaps only represented in silhouette or by the negative space created by some architectural ingenuity. Sitting in my church during this day of reflection, I counted 9 crosses visible from my place in the pews. I was satisfied.

Rightfully Associated - The Cross and the Church

Rightfully Associated – The Cross and the Church

But perhaps even more disturbing should be the presence of a churchless cross. One can easily find necklaces, earrings, t-shirts, paperweights, greeting cards, ornaments, and all manner of paraphernalia displaying a cross. But I wonder: how often are those crosses–and their owners–completely detached from the Church? How often do these crosses exist in isolation, symbols presented with no intention of them actually pointing to anything of substance?

That’s not to say that we can’t use this symbol outside of the churchyard. But do we use it with intentionality, with a desire to be reminded of the heritage, the community, the truth of our faith in Jesus Christ?

Some might say that this display of overt religiosity and intentionality would be offensive. But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? A device for execution redeemed to represent the victorious Christ and majesty of God and presented with firm conviction isn’t likely to be welcomed by the world. But we seem to be trying our hardest to make it so.

We cannot rightfully separate the Cross from the Church. The sacrifice of God without the people of God is void. The people of God without the majesty of God are bereft and hopeless.

Let us hold both the Church and the Cross, the community and the Christ, as intimate aspects of our life and perspective, our worth and our worship.

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Theology


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