Wednesday, August 29, 2007

fledge: Lost Words (part 1)

Here's the first in a five part fledge series, called "Lost Words."

fledge | v2, i9

While I was sitting in a wooded park this evening, three boys around age 7 rolled up on their bikes to the market in the campground. They went in the store and back out again, talking in excited, disjointed phrases. Then the mother of one of the boys rode up on her bike with urgency and a firm face, "Where’s your brother!?"

"He's at the campsite," said the boy distractedly.

"No, he isn't. I was just there." Her eyes scanned the picnic tables where I was sitting.

"Mommy, come see this thing in the store!" said the boy.

"I need to find your brother!" She leaned her bike against the fence, sighed and looked up the road...

If you would like to be on the fledge list, go here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Turning on the Light

It’s dark in the kitchen and your stomach growls. Feeling the wall, then an appliance, than the countertop, like a blind person you search for food. You touch something crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. You lift the morsel to press your tongue and teeth into the bread.

Would it matter to you that the bread is moldy? Would it matter that bugs are crawling on it? Would it matter that it wasn’t bread at all (as you perceived with your hands) but rather a ratty sponge, crisp around the edges?

Would you prefer a light switch nearby to get a good look at what you're holdnig in the dark?

Today, in the world of spirituality, people often prefer mystery to knowledge. It leaves people in the dark to heighten the anticipation of new light. It is more appealing in ways to some, even safer. It cannot be scrutinized because there isn’t much to examine. It promises that just around the corner everything will suddenly explode into what they’ve always wanted—peace, money, love, happiness.

But why do we take this approach with spiritual experiences that we would not assume with any other experiences? In searching for food, we prefer to see it in the light.

In contrast to many religions and secrets of “The Secret,” Jesus isn’t bound to mystery. He is bound to knowledge. He doesn’t hide in blindness, but encourages sight. He doesn’t wow us with obscurity, but makes things clear. He doesn’t play hard to get, but makes himself available to all. If Jesus isn’t rooted in actual history and knowledge, if he isn’t found to enter into everyday human experience, no amount of spiritualizing will help.

If we will turn on the light to inspect our physical food, what keeps us from flipping on the light to inspect our spiritual food?