Category Archives: faith

I Am not A.I.

A.I., you and I are different.
I feel.

I feel
the rays of the sun warming my face,
the chill of the cold deep in my bones,
the pressure of your hand holding mine
and mine, resting in yours.

I feel
the jitters when test scores are posted,
the wrenching when news isn’t good,
the twang when I know I really shouldn’t
and the tap when I know I really should.

God didn’t create me artificially.
God created me realistically:
real parts,
real thoughts,
real sensations,
real desires,
real hopes,
real needs.

Do I dare feel?

Am I willing?
Not just to touch the hand
that reaches out,
but to take it?

Dear God,
there are places I’d rather not go.
I still feel them;
I still remember them;
I am not safe there.

You, A.I.,
You are safe everywhere.
not bothered by sensation,
not saddled with emotion,
not addled by fear or foreboding.

Fear is a place only humans go,
only humans can go,
human beings,
humans being.
The Lord of life takes us there…
and brings us through.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

A.I. was made for man, not man for A.I.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the A.I.

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We, the prodigal people

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“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke 15:11-13

We, the prodigal people, are squandering our earthly inheritance.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (v 14-16) pink pig

When will our hunger leave us desperately longing, even for food fit for pigs?

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. (v 17-20a)

When will we come to our senses? 

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  (v. 20b-21)

There will be a sensational celebration that day!

In our new sensation…

We will see,
shade by shade and color by color,
without presumption or conclusion.

We will hear,
word by word and sound upon sound,
without any hint of assumption.

We will smell,
scent by scent and odor by odor,
without recollection or revulsion.

We will taste,
bitter and sour, salty and sweet,
without hunger or apprehension.

We will touch,
soft and tender, harsh and painful,
without reluctance or anesthetization.

What will I do when I come to my senses? What will you?

For only then will we, the prodigal people,
realize just how far we’ve gone,
and decide it’s time to come home.

 

Invited to Rest

The lake is glorious. Restful, peaceful, serene. It doesn’t shout, “Come, play with me!” It doesn’t tease, “Lookie what I’m doing.” It doesn’t tempt with rowdy revelers splashing and sailing and fishing. Well, there are quite a few fishing.

IMG_1333No, the Lake at Junaluska just is. It is rest. It is peace. It is serene. It is not a place to get things done. I realized this as I set up my computer facing a window overlooking the lake, and sighed. Ah, now THAT is a view.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It didn’t distract me. More, it called to me. “You are here. Come be with me.”

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I had come to spend the week at the lake, catching up on all the things I hadn’t gotten done in the middle of my busy life. The things that needed reading, needed writing, needed sorting, needed attending to, things that I just hadn’t found time for. Now, I had all week for them, but the the Lake said, “Come be with me.” And that invitation is strong.

I had come to be alone, and found solitude.

I had come for quiet, and found silence.

I had come for refuge, and found welcome.

What I didn’t find was space to organize my disheveled self. Rather, there were sights and sounds to be shared. Things to be remembered and recorded. There was activity to be investigated and experienced. There were people to visit with, dogs to pat, birds to listen to, storms to respect and, of course, the Golden Hour to photograph.

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But what were any of these things without someone with whom to share?

We are communal beings. In spite of my ready angst about the person too loud at the next table, solo is not a natural state for me. “I just need to tell you, show you, share…” is the constant state of my being. Somehow, the solitary experience is incomplete for me. It vanishes with no one else to know it. Did I really see that? Hear that? Feel that? My testimony alone cannot confirm. I need companionship. Someone to listen, reflect, and appreciate with me the wonders of the world before me and their impact on the world within me.

I guess I’m just not cut from monastic cloth. After but a few hours, I am longing for someone, something, somewhere. My journals are but a meager substitute. It’s the Lake’s fault. It bids be come and walk and talk awhile. Perhaps I am the only one who hears, but I expect not, as the crowds on its pathways testify to its attraction for so many others. It is a wonderful conversational companion.

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Sure, stop and rest a bit, the Lake says. But don’t bring what you haven’t gotten done here expecting me to help you do it. I am for reflection, you to yourself. Depart, knowing better what you came for and what you go with. The world needs you back. I send you. 

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I came to the Lake at its invitation of rest, but I brought work with me instead. On my last day to spend in its embrace, it speaks softly. What you need is who I am.

Go now, and I go with you.

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