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Entries in cosmology (2)


The Face of Emmanuel

This was originally written as the December 24th entry on the site that Kelli and I keep, WomenWhoSpeakInChurch. WWSIC opened up to friends and fellow clergywomen for an Advent devotional series during this season, all the way out to Epiphany. I've been entering the posts as they roll in. Interestingly the 24th didn't have anything come in so I wrote this. Kelli's been really busy lately and didn't get to see it right away but she read it as one of the first things on Christmas morning. It's a more distilled form of what I wrote just prior to this entry. I think she liked it.

I think it's genius! This season is so rich in spiritual meaning that over the years it has become a fantastic tapestry made up of humanity's various threads of hunger for meaning and vitality in a confusing and harsh world. A bit narrower than that, I think it's genius how Christmas was paired up with a date that was already deemed of cosmological significance prior to Christianity's arrival. And a bit narrower still, I think it's wonderful how that ebb and flow of darkness and light has played out in my own life, and maybe it is time to marvel at my own awareness of it.

Let me just take this to a personal level here for a bit. Bear with me. I'm not a woman and I don't really speak in church. But I'm married to one wonderful woman who sometimes does speak in church, and who, ten years ago, became the return of light to my life, with a couple pivotal dates falling just about solstice time in 2001 and our subsequent embrace of our newfound relationship in 2002, even after we'd known each other for over a decade before that. I've spilled a lot of pixels on my blog about the details. For our purposes here, I just want to celebrate this in a place where I know it would be appreciated—both among people educated and attuned to the special nuances in this kind of story, and among friends of hers who know her personally.

The state of things a decade ago was one of massive dysfunction on the family front. In a lot of ways, the light had gone dim. That year we shared grief around the murder of an old friend, and September 11 was a crisis that forced everyone into mourning and (hopefully) deeper questioning. It did for us. The overlapping disasters that constituted the year 2001 drove me back to a life I was familiar with but that I had left for about a decade. Kelli was a lifeline to that world during that time. But in late 2001, I was beyond my own means to make sense of the world. Kelli and I grew closer and I began to attend church again where the deeper stuff of life was the lingua franca. What resulted was a decade of constant change, but now with a devoted partner with a vast depth of character and compassion. Kelli's presence did not stop the change or the turmoil, but she did make it safe to face it with new resolve.

This Christmas Eve, with the waiting and the hoping almost exploding in us after weeks of Advent's buildup, I recall that time one decade ago when the light was going out, out, out—until the glimmers led to flickers that led to an increasingly steady flame. Kelli embodies the solstice for me. Light will follow darkness. Or, using the language of Christianity, she's the face of Emmanuel for me. Her presence in my life is as clear a sign as I have that God has smiled on this speck of dust too, who a decade ago used to scoff at God-talk and such silly notions of the miraculous.

It has to be the stuff of miracle. Nothing I did earned this. Nothing I knew or believed mattered. This is grace, folks. At Christmas, the great gift is given indiscriminately to all by the shamelessly generous Giver, who doesn't really care what you were, what you used to believe or not believe, or how you used to think. Just like none of us can stop the solstice from happening, none of us can stop God's compassionate giving of the divine Self. And, I might say that Christianity's enhancement of an already-great festival written into the cosmos is that whereas the solstice is just an annual event in a given hemisphere, Christmas isn't limited that way. Every day is Christmas! Every day can be the day when the God-gift can be given and received. But for me, having such a great thing happen in my life at solstice time will always make this season special upon special.

Merry Christmas to my beautiful wife Kelli who has opened my eyes and softened my heart, and to all of you. Thanks for your submissions to this special series. It's not over yet, though! Read on through Epiphany, and then stay around to see what follows.


Online Chatter

I refuse to entertain Creationists who deny evolution when it seems that people of this mind also tend to be the ones who shrug their shoulders at the degredation of the world by leaps and bounds.

Sorry, but

Preach Creation,
Administer Destruction

is not a theology worth getting behind. If in fact God wants to ever destroy the world, that is God’s business, not ours. And since we don’t operate on God’s clock, we have no business being such idiots about letting the earth go to its grave. One day people will appreciate this, but by then it will be wayyytoofuckinglate.

The thing is, science and religion cover two wholly different things. Science is about measuring thing, religion about inspiring people to be better people through love and action to better the world and human relations, and does not really concern itself in precise measurements because the wisdom is meant to be timeless, on the whole. I just don’t get why people think it's an issue. I know a tremendously brilliant few scientists who are also very dedicated to either their Christian and/or Urantia Book inspired beliefs. I’m talking of one guy who is at the level of trying to debunk and develop upon Einstein. High caliber stuff here. He is very dedicated to the religious and mystical element of his life, as was Einstein himself. I don’t see what part of seeking to understand the universe and all its workings makes a person love God any less. This man I am speaking of walks the walk too as a Christian, doing the good things that really constitute the essentials of the faith. That is a whole lot better sounding to me than someone who can preach Creationism and then go cheat on his wife or be blind enough to add to the environmental destruction around us.

If you are going to preach that God’s earth is a centerpiece of God’s work, then by God, I hope preservation of that world is a part of your plan, else you don’t have a leg to stand on. You can’t invoke God’s greatness as creator and humanity being formed in God’s likeness and then go out and destroy it too, even from negligence and ignorance. The creationists should be the ones out there with the signs demanding environmental protection. Arguments that God has a plan for wiping out the world again are immaterial, and do not let us off the hook for loving the planet and its systems, and science provides one way to peek into how it all works and deepen the experience by showing how magnificently it does work, and that no matter how it came to be, it's our home now, and we really should stop shitting in our bed.