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Monday, October 22, 2007

quite awesome for those of us that find photomosaics to be kinda cool...

so here are a few notes from this past weekend. i have been thinking for awhile now what the implications of all that this 'image of God' talk that we read in genesis 1.26-31 could/should imply with regard to who we are from day to day... for visuals, as i shared some thoughts on image cultivation and such, i had random self-portraits done by familiar names in music, art and film shuffling across the screen. in conclusion, i had the image above...

when we read of how to treat another, we need to see that we are being commanded to go beyond the golden rule… Jesus, citing the prophets, citing God, speaks of loving…

this neighbour-person of whom Christ speaks bears the very image of God upon his or her life and ways. in recognizing in one’s own identity the ‘image of God,’ one must needs also recognize this in every other human being ever created.

the other is not God, but is the face of God” (levinas)

perhaps the only way to perceive the face of God is to gaze upon the collective face of humanity, acknowledging the rich diversity and beauty that is evident there- that is re-presented there.

put another way, perhaps as God gazes into the mirror of circumstance, God is able to perceive in humankind, an image, reflecting back the glory that is to be realized and released in each of us and all of us collectively…

of what kind of God do we bear an image for all to see?

RE: genesis 1.27; matthew 22.34-40; deuteronomy 6.5; leviticus 19.18

yeah, i know that God is presented here as an elderly male authority figure with a beard (taken from michelangelo's 'creation of adam' fresco found on the ceiling of the sistine chapel) but the idea of seeing the face of God when gazing at a crowd was impacting, and when i found this photomosaic i knew that i had found a nice illustration of a rather difficult idea for many to grasp without a visual.

by the way, hineini, thanks for regularly tossing small doses of levinas in my direction.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

offensive defense?

There is nothing I haven't already heard. Unfortunately there are those out there who cannot respect this and think they will be the one with that magical piece to the puzzle. I find this quite demeaning... (Yael)

so the phrase 'defenders of the faith' keeps bouncing around in my head.

i have no idea where it comes from, only where i think it leads.

to be thinking 'defender of the faith', is to presume that one's faith requires defending and that somehow one has the insight and the resources to somehow defend it.

defend it against whom?

hmmm... to presume certain things is to be presumptuous, right? typically when people are using such adversarial rhetoric, all the indicators are there that they are, in fact, the ones who need to be defended against, not that they are the ones doing any defending.

i have been thinking a bit over the last couple of days about the 'great commission' as spoken by Christ at the tail end of matthew's gospel. in common interpretation of the bit where he says 'go out into all the world, making disciples and baptizing them...' there always seems to be this sense of conquest. like somehow those who believe in Christ's words and way are to be going out there and winning something. i know that i have heard the phrase 'winning souls for Christ' a lot over the course of my lifetime as an evangelical christian. the whole winning and losing mentality, as though somehow the accomplishment of everything that God intends to do is contingent upon our little efforts and agendas, feels a bit... er... self-centered to me. what if Jesus meant something else?

what if Christ was prompting people to go and share the truth of their experience, to be dialogued and exchanged back and forth thoughtfully together with others? what if he was inviting his followers to speak in faith and love, allowing room for the Holy Spirit to actually prompt the heart of other person in the conversation to receive and weigh against his or her own experience and need just how this sharing was to meaningfully impact life from there? would the bit about making disciples lose any of its thunder? i don't think so.

in my view, discipleship is not intellectual, philosophical or spiritual cloneship. it is an ongoing, back and forth dialogue as the disciple seeks to embrace and apply the teachings of the master to real day to day life- to make the way of the master one's own.

in my view, Jesus wasn't, with his final words, imploring his followers to presume some violent and self-important role of moral authority or spiritual law enforcement for the whole planet... he was imploring his followers to engage in doing life with their neighbours, and being spiritually accessible, open and vulnerable when the opportunity to share the spiritual colour of their experience with their neighbours as a natural part of this doing life thing presented itself.

the decision to accept or reject these teachings and this way of life is, after all, the sole property of the individual, but should not disqualify this individual from continuing to be in fellowship with the follower of Christ.

Jesus didn't walk away from others, they walked away from him for reasons that were their own.