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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

It’s raining…again. We’ve had around 3 inches of rain in the last couple of days, everything is soggy and I can’t wait for spring. This is disappointing because I usually look forward to winter. I love snow. I have very warm memories of snow days at home as a child; being outside in the woods with my brothers and the dogs; walking on frozen ponds, which, in East Tennessee was taking our life in our hands since the ice never got very thick; staying out (with bread bags taped over our shoes) until we couldn’t feel our toes; coming in to hot chocolate on the stove and a jigsaw puzzle. We lived near on the edge of a woods on the side of a mountain and the back of our house was big picture windows. When it snowed it was so beautiful, almost magical. Walking in the woods in the snow is one of life’s great experiences. The snow on the trees muffles all the sound and the light glinting off the snow crystals gives everything a luminescent quality. The contrast of the white snow with the green of the spruce and pine trees and the gray of the bare hardwoods lends a simplicity restfulness to the eye that is not present in the other seasons when there is more color. I miss that experience.

The grayness of the winter here in Indiana is difficult to deal with but is normally tolerable when there is more snow. Grayness and rain and a damp cold that clings to the skin is hard to take. I find myself wanting to hibernate, feeling less creative, etc. I’m sure the presence of grief and feeling of being unsettled about the future does not help matters any. So I am left with the question of how to tolerate this season in my life as I wait for the sky to brighten and signs of new life to emerge. It occurs to me that the season of Lent, which begins today, Ash Wednesday, offers some parallel to my experience.

During the season of Lent, followers of Christ are asked to make a commitment to a period of reflection and self-examination in preparation for the observance of Holy Week and Good Friday, culminating in the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection: Easter. Lent is not a happy-happy-joy-joy stop on the calendar of the Christian year but then not all of life is that way. There are periods of darkness…rain…sorrow in all our lives. Lent is a time for looking inward and allowing God to illuminate the parts of us that need attention. It’s also a time for looking outward to allow God to help us see the needs of a hurting world. Finally, Lent is a time for looking upward for it is during these these times of darkness, rain and sorrow in our lives that we can, if we pay attention, experience God’s presence, strength, comfort and guidance in deeper and more meaningful ways.

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My eight year old son is afraid of dying. It’s sad, I know, but true. When he gets anxious about something like the start of school or an impending change he starts to worry about dying. He’s always asked a lot of questions about death and what comes after but it was only after his teacher died last fall from injuries sustained in a car accident and an elderly friend of ours died this spring that his fear became more acute and focused. I’ve come to understand that the fear of death is, for him, symptomatic of other, unsconcious anxieties. (more…)

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We spent the evening sitting on pins and needles with our eight year old son, Ben, as he tested to try to move from yellow to blue belt in his martial arts class: Taijutsu.  Taijutsu is a traditional Japanese martial art which emphasizes self-discipline, respect and self-defense. We love the program because the instructor, Peter Ellery, models self-discipline and respect and is very encouraging to the kids.  Ben has taken Ninjitsu for a year now and was ready to move up into the next class, the blue belts.  Unfortunately, because of travel schedules, church camp, etc., Ben missed a lot of training this summer so it was questionable whether or not he would be allowed to move up with his training group.  (more…)

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