Category Archives: God
A friend sent me this TED talk by Dr. Ken Robinson today and it has me thinking about how we experience the world and the God who created the world.
If you want a more in depth perspective, take a look at The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist. Thick book but solid perspective of the brain in the Western world.
How do you understand intelligence and how do you cultivate creativity?
Life has suddenly turned busy over the last few weeks as I continue to work, now have 2 kids in school and have started back to school myself in a doctoral program focused on discernment of images and activity in a shifting culture (depending on what you call it).
In one chat session with our cohort last week, we discussed the picture to the left that is Michaelangelo’s painting of God’s Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In September 2004, I saw this painting from the floor of the Sistine Chapel but I had never considered the significance of the painting.
As you look at the painting some questions to consider: What is the focus of the painting? How is Adam portrayed in the painting? What is God doing? How are they interacting? What does the space between signify?
See what you come up with as you think through this painting. The image is powerful and certainly communicates more than a 1000 words.
There are many layers to the movie Inception and on my second viewing with new friends from my new doctoral cohort, I was captivated by the questions surrounding how we know, believe, feel and experience reality.
As a part of an earlier conversation in the day, Len Sweet shared that we can recognize reality by it pushing back. This is the future story we will live with holograms and avatars. Inception poses the solution of knowing reality by the physical marker of a totem–a physical item with specific characteristics and weight unique to every person. This makes a great deal of sense to me when I think about the Reality of God.
What are your totems that bring you back to the Reality of God?
As the only woman in our household, I always get to be the girl Super (as we call them) in our stories – Elastigirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, or even Princess Leia – and I love it. Last weekend, however, I had my eyes opened to a new perspective. I’ve been blessed to spend this weekend at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention in Nashville with three friends from our church, along with 4,000 moms from around the country.
In a general session today, we had the great gift of hearing from Efrem Smith, a leader and speaker who can bring it like few others I’ve heard. After he shared with us from the gospel of Matthew about Tamar, a descendant of cursed people who was also in the bloodline of Jesus, he challenged the moms in the room to love the unlovable mom – to find them, love them, connect them, and show them Christ’s love.
How in the world can we – who are possibly very busy with crazy situations inside walls of our own homes – do that? Luckily we have Jesus living on the inside of those crazy situations with us, giving us special powers. But like Syndrome, Batgirl is not a real Superhero. She is simply mimicking a guy, Batman, who is also not a real Super. Batman is a very rich man who spends his life creating gadgets that make him seem like he has super powers, and even though he uses the powers for good and not evil – he is hiding behind the mask and gadgets. And instead of living into her own identity, Batgirl assumes a false mask.
On the other hand, Wonder Woman was born with real power – it is her true identity. If you get close to her, you know where her power comes from. She can go higher than the average human woman, and does not hide behind a mask. She lives in her true identity – and if we do this, live in our true identity in Christ, we also have real power from the one who created us in his image.
In one hand a business book about “the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.” And in the other hand a book about our spiritual journey with God and how God transforms us to his image of his Son Jesus in order that we would lay down our lives for others. My question is, how can anybody in their right mind carry around these two books and be reading them at the same time?
In response to their questions about his authority, he says this, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven (God), or of human origins?”
They don’t know how to answer his question honestly and answer “We don’t know.”
So it is after Jesus stumps the leaders about the origin of John the Baptist’s authority that he tells this story about two sons.
The post below is from my wife Amy. Since this blog is dedicated to encountering God in the everyday reality of life and we frequently talk about what God is teaching us through parenting, she will be a regular guest writer on my blog.
A good friend of mine told me about a grocery shopping trip with her little girl, Janie. It was truly a revolutionary story for me, one that changed my whole parenting tone and communication strategy with my kids. Sweet Janie is one of my favorite kids – she was born over a year before our oldest, so she was one of the first babies with whom I had ‘hands on’ time. She also has a very strong and determined personality – so one day when she was in Trader Joe’s with her mama and didn’t get her way, started to throw an EPIC fit. And kept throwing the fit, while my friend (who had her other two kids with them as well) walked up to the front to pay for her groceries firmly holding Janie’s hand. Janie kept trying to throw herself on the ground, wailing and screaming for the entire store to hear. If you are a parent, you’ve probably had those moments before too. If you are not a parent, you’ve probably judged parents having those moments – at least, I know I did before it was my turn.
At the front of the store, my friend got more looks and glares from fellow shoppers and felt herself very, very near the end of the rope. Seriously, what we do in these small moments as parents is so defining! And it’s not always pretty, but what my friend did is one of the reasons I will always look up to her as a mom full of grace. She picked Janie up, hugged her as close as she could, and began to whisper to her, ‘Mama loves you when you’re good and Mama loves you when you’re bad. Mama loves you when you’re good and Mama loves you when you’re bad.’ Over and over, just like that. Janie went limp in her mama’s arms for a minute or two while they paid, silent, contemplating. When they got outside she was back to herself – she cheerfully apologized to her mom and they went home without any more drama.
It’s been months since my friend told me this story and it comes into my head at least once a day. I’ve started saying these words to Brighton when I am feeling frustrated with his behavior – Mama loves you when you’re good and Mama loves you when you’re bad. Some of his behavior is simply not what I would choose (asking me to buy him something over and over after I’ve said ‘no’ ) and some is truly bad (knocking his baby brother’s head into the wall). But either way I repeat these words to him, hoping that he’ll know this unconditional love before he knows my frustration.
And then there are the moments when I have my own temper tantrums – usually over something small, but always something that made me feel small and insignificant. In those moments I have begun to hear God whispering to me that he loves me when I’m good and loves me when I’m bad. I’ve had some of my lowest lows since becoming a parent. The struggle with post partum depression and balancing the needs of small people with my own needs has found me wanting over and over – and at times things have been very out of balance. And in spite of myself, actually even because of myself, God reminds me of his love.
So the story comes full circle. This morning my younger son, Everett, was overly hungry for breakfast and was throwing all of his brother’s toys around, and generally making himself a nuisance. Brighton’s response? He looked his brother in the eye and said, ‘Everett I love you when you’re good and I love you when you’re bad. Let’s get you some breakfast.’ Amen.