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Archive for the tag “Spirituality”

Dear You,

It’s been a long week. Stressful and trying in many ways, but it was, as so often happens, educational nonetheless.

The week (Sunday the 18th) started with an encounter with a woman named Bess. She’s homeless and working her way back to a state of solidarity. I talked with her awhile that day and we discussed God, and how these events teach us to know God and trust God, and realize the transience of this world. From here, the week rotted. It was busy at work, stressful all around, I’ve lost my patience on a few occasions and failed a time or ten. But, as they say, it works out in the end.

Now, in the quiet aftermath, I’ve had time to better digest these events and I’m left with this image: a figure, who is me but not me, hanging on a cross, while I look on with scars on my arms.

If this were a story, Bess’s conversation would be the foreshadowing; the week of conflict the journey; and the final image a resolution. Bess’s conversation points to God, as though to say “Listen, you are about to endure some things which will cause you grief, but will also temper you and your faith.”

The conflict acts as a microcosm of how it is to live in sin (which is to live for oneself and not for God). Because living a life of the self, by the self, for the self, leads only to malcontentment.

And the image of the cross is the completed idea that the old self is dead, and we have been resurrected with Christ- bearing the marks of our crucifixion and our old life, not as marks of condemnation, but as testimony to our transformation with and through Christ.

But this is the ongoing process- we learn by seeking God in all things, both good and bad, that we learn to pray (which is to turn our thoughts to God and speak to a friend). We learn to pray in triumph, in failure, in peace, in war, in calm, in chaos- in all times, at all times, praying to know God and seek The Kingdom, praising God that we may bless the world; all sinners and saints, friends and enemies.

It’s Ephesians, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:1-5 )

And you know, as is usually the case, all these sequences are just a reminder of what has been said and resaid: I am a sinner in need of help, full of flaws and imperfections. I cannot save myself with 10’000 good deeds or by any act of piety. I am saved by grace.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galations 2:19-21 )

I hope things are well with you,

Your Friend,

Book Blurbs (A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins)

A Walk Across America (1979) is a memoir and adventure story written by Peter Jenkins (1951 – ) as he walked from Alfred, New York to New Orleans, Lousianna. His walk began October 15, 1973 but his journey started in the years before through his experiences in Woodstock, his work through college, and finally a divorce with his first wife. Then he spoke with Stu Wigent, a security guard and friend at Alfred University, and Stu tells Jenkins something that still resonates fourty years later:

“‘All this commotion that’s happening in the country? Sure, it’s all happening. You think it’s something new?’ He glared at me like a prizefight and shook his head. “No, sir! It’s been going on for thousands of years. Yeah, and a lot worse too. What you need to do, Peter, is stop believing all those slick people on the television and news and stop listening to those crazy people making that stuff they call music!’ He leaned forward and put both elbows on the desk with his hands together. “If all you college kids want to leave this country or burn it down, you better be mighty sure you know what you’re doing.’ His arms swept up and backward. ‘If you want to leave, go right ahead, but first you sure as shootin’ ought to give this country a chance!'” (15-16)

Jenkins was incredulous at first, but eventually he set out on the road and encountered America and her people. Along the way he met city folk and mountain men, experienced racism and country prejudice, church services, revivals, and cult-like farms, but from all these things he found that he lived in a country with a heart to it, and found a faith in God he was searching for. He concludes “In this book I’ve told you about the America I discovered as I traveled from Alfred, New York to New Orleans, Lousiana. There is much more to be told, and much more awaiting Barbara and me as we leave the Rockies and head for the Pacific.” (291)

Jenkins, Peter. A Walk Across America. New York: Harper Collins. 1979. Print.

Saints and Effigies

Saints and Effigies,” is a collection of pictures composed of three effigies:  a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus,  a wooden owl, and a pink ‘magic eight ball’ Jesus. The ‘Mother Mary’ series were taken in December of 2012 at my grandparents house and is a photo representation of Faith as it endures sickness. Mother Mary I is the young faith, and self-assurance of new belief, then Mother Mary II and III introduce doubt, sickness, and strife in the form of the various pill bottles, leading to Mother Mary IV which is the faith darkened, though matured, from the previous turmoil.

This then leads to Owl I and II, which is a wooden effigy pictured with gold and pewter in the background. The owl itself “is the symbol ofthe feminine, the moon and the night.The owl is the bird of magic and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom.” (Lin’s Domain) while the gold and pewter represent the different pure and tainted qualities of the soul. The Owl, then acts as a physical search for renewed faith leading to the ‘resurrection’ of faith with Pink Jesus I.

The journey of faith concludes with Pink Jesus IV as the manifestation of a more real faith, which understands that grasping the True character of the infinite God is beyond the capacity of the finite Creation. The faith is, however, not as one might expect because not only is Jesus pink, but also plastic and static describing the individuality of faith and understanding, and also the dangers of ascribing finite features to an infinite spiritual entity.

(Author’s Note: Pink Jesus first appeared in an article written for my school blog and newspaper which can be found at Judah LoVato’s Blog on the Rocky Mountain College website)

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