processing through faith . . . (metaphors abound)

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I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Kedy — from my Creative Writing Class in High School.  It was in this class I learned to process writing, media, etc.  In class, we learned to take the quotes that resonated with us — and to really let the content sink deep until it produced new thoughts about the world around and within us.  So, thank you for this gift Mrs. Kedy!

She inspired a pursuit that I have continued to hone to the present day.  I soak up movies, novels (not great at reading fiction, but when it do), theology, philosophy, tv shows, art, poetry, etc  — all to have my eyes opened more to life — to self — to others — and certainly, to God.

Cloud Cult has been a band that spurs that value on in me.  I’ve often revisited there music over the years — finding a depth and meaning in their music that encourages my own pursuit and way with God in this life.  As we continued to consider our process in life/faith as a community, we talked about the great tragedy of ARRIVING.

I think one of the greatest values I can pass on to my kids (and we to our children in our community of faith) is to encourage them to KEEP PROCESSING.  The most tragic thing may be when we think we HAVE IT MADE, when we FOUND IT ALL, when we ARRIVE AND CONCLUDE.

And yet, to champion processing — we need metaphors that are beyond the stagnant — beyond “solid” and “rock”.  What metaphors might we have?  Certainly they abound.  But we entered this exercise by considering the Cloud Cult’s, GHOST INSIDE OUR HOUSE


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We saw a ghost inside our house,
Or was it wishful thinkin’?
Oh god, don’t leave us by ourselves,
Or we’re bound to take up drinkin’

Please send us a miracle, So I know that there is meaning
I said, “I think that it’s a miracle, Just to be breathin'”

So live on, Baby live on
Packed up my clothes in a grocery bag, I’m going to find the creator
An old man in the clouds or a happy little alien
Whoever it is I need to thank her

And even though I don’t know God, I’m happy with the mystery
And I’m certain that I feel it, Every time that you sing to me

Songs, you say, Life is like a song, It’s a song, A hum-able song

I watched you sleep until 5 am,
Cause I want to be part of your dreaming
Oh love, don’t leave me by myself, Or I’m bound to lose my meaning
We’ll start a little family, And call it our religion
Hunt for ghosts inside our house, ’Cause we’ll never give up wishing

That we live on, May we live on, In our song, Our hum-able song


What does this song stir in you?

Write down one thing you are “processing”?

Why do you feel you have not “concluded”?
Can faith be something always in flux?
Is there no destination or arrival?  Why?  Why not?


Barbara Brown Taylor writes,  To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else’s hourly failures to live up to divine standards . . . It means receiving the human condition as blessing not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality. 


On the evening we engaged in this dialogue — I also asked us to work through some poetry — and to even write some poetry in smaller groups.  I challenged us to use the model of Wendell Berry’s poem, to offer our own “limited-wisdom” on process.

 Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary, 

some in the wrong direction. 

Practice resurrection. 


Be like the _________

who _______________

(admission of limitations)
(life-giving restated)


Some of the examples are below . . . consider the grace of limited wisdom.  Consider the process you may be in the middle of.  How might you show grace and love through your PROCESS?  How might you SEE with new eyes your situation — and soak up the inspiration from the moment.


Be like the sun
Which produces heat and light.
It can whither life
But centers our universe


Be like the turtle who moves ever so slowly
and life may seem to pass him by
but he enjoys the moments
as they come


Be like the chameleon
Who changed colors like the wind
sometimes the camouflage is unhelpful
practice uniqueness



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