Friday, August 26, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 08/25/16: What is the Nature of God?, Driving Jack to Jersey, Fortified to Wrestle with Angels

1. I've enjoyed the way Karen Armstrong's book, Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate has transported me back to my days at Whitworth, back to when I led a weekly study group about different epistles of Paul with a group of baseball players, and the questions we used to raise together about how Paul understood the phenomenon of Jesus. The book has also moved me to continue the questioning that has been going on my entire adult life regarding the nature of God.

2. After joining his cousins for a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, Jack needed a ride to Mt. Laurel, NJ to meet Adrienne at a point about halfway between Silver Spring and Nyack. I volunteered to drive Jack up and we left at 5:30 p.m. and arrived at Mt. Laurel's Bob Evans restaurant about three hours later. Jack was a champ in the car, playing games on an IPad and, just as he started to feel a bit car sick as we entered New Jersey, he fell asleep and was konked out until we reached our destination,

3. Somehow, I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch and Jack and I left before dinner. Oh, around the middle of the afternoon, I ate some Dorito chips, but by the time I had reached Mt. Laurel and, after much wrestling with the angels of theology, I sat down at Bob Evans and ordered a chicken fried steak with eggs, hash browns, and biscuits and I drank about three cups of coffee.  The meal fortified me for my drive back to Silver Spring in the company of more angels and all those questions about God and faith and, especially, kenosis, the self-emptying of one's own will and becoming receptive to the will of God. It's what Paul most deeply admired about Jesus and what Paul saw as the centerpiece of a rich spiritual life. It's this emptying of one's self, the surrender of ego, that aligns Paul with wisdom figures across time like Buddha, Lao Tzu, and others. All this discussion in Armstrong's book about Paul and Jesus and kenosis got me thinking about the emptiness and transformation of  King Lear, and Shakespeare's understanding of the concept of nothing.  These thoughts ate up a lot of miles on I-95.

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