Artful Land Care

Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Fathers-In-Law

In Chores, Landscape, Theology on January 24, 2016 at 8:00 am

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January 24, 2016

A fog storm settled in around us as we worked the rail fence. We started setting posts in the last moments of autumn hoping to beat the winter cold. We didn’t make it. The cold barreled in and uncritical chores became critical and the remaining post and railing took a seat. Those chores ended just in time for winter days who freeze nose hairs as you step out of the house.

Cattle are a curious bunch. So there we were trying to lag rails to the few posts we’d set weeks ago, with steers breathing out great buffs of fog as we worked, each settling a foot above our heads. Before you knew it, it was hard to see Belinda at the end of a sixteen-foot board. You think it an exaggeration? Well, perhaps a bit. Just the same…

I could hear Belinda’s dad scoffing at us as we worked. “Four below zero? Well, let me tell you. I was returning home from school one day when mamma stopped and picked me up. ‘Buddy,’ she said, ‘Don’t you know it is 43 below!! You’ll freeze before you ever get home.’ Four below, …hmpff.” My figures numbed inside unlined leather gloves.

My response was non-verbal, Dad has been gone for nearly three years now, “Yeah, well Bud, that’s what you Swedes and Norwegians get for choosing North Dakota when you arrived in this landscape. Some of us had the good sense to head straight to warm land, like, say, south Texas and California.” The trouble with having in your head conversations is you start countering your own arguments and it is no longer Bud but myself saying, “Oh Yeah, then why the hell are you here at the end of a board in below freezing weather? Damn!” I continued bickering with Bud and myself until the last lag screw is twisted in. We packed up the tools and took them to the shed. Then headed up to the house, the woodstove, a cup of coffee, and verbal conversation—I’m sure I will pick up the conversation with Bud another day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Belief of Everything

In Poetry, Theology on January 17, 2016 at 8:00 am

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barn hay debris floats
in january snow melt
string theory vibrating filaments

Sign—Post

In Poetry, Theology on January 3, 2016 at 8:00 am

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no hunting, no trespassing?
why do I assume
it was not “Welcome”

 

Not Probable, But Believable

In Peace & Justice, Theology on December 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

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December 27, 2015

Snow crunched as we walked to the truck. Christmas morning, 5:30am, 4 degrees, and a full moon had the landscape glimmering and welcoming in mystical, frozen sort of way. Little is like the sharpness stars take on when the air crackles. Thus an unexpected gift, I gave no thought to fifteen minutes earlier while pulling on boots next to the fire knowing the outside is cold enough to freeze nose hairs. Moments, when the world enters into sharp focus is unbelievable, yet believable.

Belinda drove as I tossed one alfalfa flake after the other from the back of the truck. Cattle followed until they figured one flake is as good as another and got to eating. Settled into routine, I wondered, then remembered a friend using a clip from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy Pevensie first walks through the Wardrobe, to open the Advent season in her church. When Lucy backs out of the wardrobe into a place of snow, so unexpected, the moment becomes mystical. As she chances movement away from the wardrobe and into a wonder snow filled forest, she comes upon a lamppost. Forest, snow, and a lighted lamppost, unbelievable, but Lucy is standing in its midst, therefore believable.

Leather gloves only go so far in the cold and as numb fingers dropped the last flakes I wondered more and stumbled upon the Pauline letter of Colossians and the words, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another… forgive each other… be thankful… teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” Maybe it was the cold, maybe the numbness was spreading, but in the dark of Christmas morning, the thought of compassion and kindness coupled with humility and meekness was unbelievable…yet… believable.

Imagine your, mine, our community where every person lives in a warm home? We all know this reality is not probable in our time, but don’t we all know it is possible? Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer & “God Isn’t Fixing This”

In Peace & Justice, Theology on December 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

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December 5, 2015

God Isn’t Fixing This and that is freaking people out.
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Last Sunday, like many pastors, I stood before a congregation asked what folk were joyful about and what they were concerned about. A few joys, a few concerns, and Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood—seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?—were mentioned. And we prayed.

Tuesday I sat in the Living Room of a 64-year-old who lost his wife last May. We prayed.

Wednesday I sat in a coffee shop and listened as a fifty-something spoke about the hardships of life lived and hope of tomorrow. I prayed.

Thursday I walked the pasture and then to the edge of the creek. Frozen snow cracked underfoot, a sentry Quail yelled “Chicago,” and a coyote broke through the bush. I prayed.

And I am not much of a pray-er.
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I have not read the NY Daily News article folk are talking about, but dealing with the headline words alone, I agree, God is not going to fix this problem of mass shootings or shootings at all. Hell, not only is Colorado Springs old news in light of San Bernardino, it is hard to remember the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in October, and the February Pasco, Washington shooting-lynching of Antonio Zambrano-Montes is long since forgotten. There is no prayer, to any God “out there,” that is going to fix or end the killings of our brothers and sisters.

Yet prayer matters because a bit of the Creator resides in all of Creation. Within Creation, within folk is the restorative creativeness that will bring about harmony. The first step, for those who pray, toward finding restorative creativeness is prayer. Prayer helps the pray-er grasp they have the Creators creative ability to bring about health, wellbeing, and balance. The pray-er can actively heal.

Healing, though, comes by perceiving prayer and creativeness as words of action. Neither is passive. Both are proactive. Prayer and creativeness are causative rather than inert or lifeless and calls for advance action rather than scrabbling response. Healing occurs when the pray-er gains strength from prayer to actively engage change.
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God Isn’t Fixing This, but the people of God can.