Friday, April 19, 2013

Job and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual ReflectionsJob and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual Reflections by Richard Rohr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Darkness is a harsh term, don't you think? And yet it dominates the things I see." -Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More album, 2010.

To anyone who has experienced bad difficulties or encountered suffering in life, and has not found satisfaction in the pat answers and determined joyfulness of mainstream Christianity, this study of Job may address some issues seemingly ignored by many. The fallacy of "prosperity gospel" ("...we expect something back.", p. 29) is addressed, the mistaken idea of earning our heavenly reward ("...most people believe...we are going to get back as much as we give to God...salvation depends on us and our perfection and goodness...", p. 73) is covered, and over-stressing the authority of the church and the Bible (they "...are one step removed from the inner testimony of the spirit.", p. 89) is warned against, as it may become an avoidance of the inner journey and the discovery of one's own soul.

On p. 123, there is an interesting comment about Job searching for God and not finding God anywhere, and how this contrasts with Psalm 139 ("Wherever I go, he is there," omnipresence), in my mind conjuring up an idea of God's "omni-absence" as a sometime perception of the suffering one who can feel no sign of God's nearness.

The heart of the human dilemma, I think, is touched on exquisitely as "...a human being demanding his rights as a human being...Job is asking for the gift of unconditional love when he rejects any theory of retributive justice. He is demanding a God who respects and loves what God has created--just because it is," (p. 139)
Although Job does not get a clear answer, in the end he seems satisfied "to see and be seen. That's all any of us desire. For some eyes to go through us and understand... We desire to be seen all the way through." (p. 162)
And the final touch: Job must pray for his friends. "His redemption is not complete until he prays for those who caused him such pain." (p. 164)

The author of Job and the Mystery of Suffering points to Christ's suffering as a comfort, and also allows for the existence of the chaos factor, a mystery in a world  created by a mighty God.

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The cat is still not talking.
She sits upon the windowsill,
all ears pointedly ignoring,
silently gazing into the distance,
her tail curled up around her
in a most self-sufficient way.
I ask her what I've done.
She will not turn to look,
though one ear does, then back.
All silent and unmoving,
her furred but frozen shoulder
rejects my every effort.
The clock ticks on.
The cat is still not talking...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mar. 24
Do not seek to console me
by saying he is in a better place
and free of the miseries of this world,
then tell me I have much reason to live
by all the beauty around me,
and the ones still here and dear to me;
that exactly is why I mourn his life lost
that had so much yet to see.
(So much yet to be and love,
and loved ones to be needed.)

Apr. 14
Why does God bless me?
How is it I can call this land mine, these fields, these woods?
Why do the branches shine for me against the sun?
The slow melting snow
glitter-pearl bedecked
ice-lace bedraped
making walking difficult for distraction,
the glory of its beauty.

The small log cabin
where I bend down to lay and light the fire
which restores my soul.

I continue my walk,
greeted by a sunning squirrel
and then its mate springing up to join
in a warm sleepy eyed ignoring of the human intruder.

When I am unproductive here
swinging my idle hands as I walk these woods
why does God bless me
with what I do not deserve?

Later, on the way home:
Pileated Woodpecker on Poplar!

Old under trees

Let me be old under trees.
Let those long plodding days be shaded by forest friends,
swayed by the breeze let us spend our days.
Leaning toward long silent moments,
deep in remembrance,
rooted in long ago ways.
Creaking in turns,
swaying when swept by the winds of the world,
old bones brittle, old wood burns.
Branches once straight and strong,
bent, broken, twirled,
twisted in trunk,
With faded leaves reaching for light and warmth,
wrinkled skin bark-like and  rough.
Let us know winter is coming,
and turn ourselves inward,
the sap of thoughts slowing,
prepare for the long cold dark,
though 'round us the young trees are growing.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Young at Midnight

Because the night is beautiful
and the moon her daughter, dutiful,
beguiling pure and smiling
she draws young eyes to the dark.
When far removed is sunlight,
let all secret doings take flight
-all whispering and flittering,
all fleeting glance, and sigh.
Then come to me there waiting
beneath the willow's shading;
we trysting in the misting
meadow will walk with the night.
We'll see the stars above us,
hear them sing and know they love us,
unending is the lending
hearts each other, ever more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Photo: Sunshine on fence and snow

Apr. 4
No interest in this life whatsoever.
But the colour of the sunset shining on the buff painted wall. See?
No interest in this world whatsoever.
But the colour of the sunrise shining on the rust painted wall. Oh!
No interest in myself whatsoever.
Oh red painted wall, the colour! And the sunlight on!

Adrift unsure, let the shine astonish.
Dark dark, let the glow illuminate.
Downcast, and the bright uplifts.