The Trouble Is…

While creativity is dispersed magnificently among the right and left-brained among us, being part of the right-brained crowd has it’s advantages and disadvantages. On the side of disadvantage, I share this:

The trouble is, when I wake up in the early hours of the morning, I’m not thinking about the day ahead.

I’m sensing the buzz of traffic on a Beijing street,
the smell of strong coffee on a breakfast table in Rykjavik,
the haunting sound of whales off an arctic coast,
the weak tears of a mother in Africa who can’t feed her starving child,
the crisp sound of leaves crunching under the foot of a Papua New Guinean girl,
the incessant burrowing of thin feeder roots from a hungry plant,
the microscopic struggles of a paramecium about to die,
the undulation of millions of cells moving in a heron’s brain,
the subtle changes in atomic relationships in a wooden desk,
the motions of thousands of moons around their mother planets,
the sizzling of starbursts in the Orion Nebula,
the eerie whispers of solar winds and
the sacred silence of uninhabited planets far beyond our telescopes.

This is what I wake up sensing: feeling in my bones, thinking in my head, and harboring in my soul through the rigors of the day.

The trouble is, it makes it hard to just get up and be about daily duties, and to see things through a simple, pragmatic lens.

God becomes far bigger than dogmatic stances and narrow renderings of His nature and preferences. From the vantage point of the sensations above, I awake seeing vast largeness and intricate smallness, pristine order and violent chaos, in His person.

Perhaps the debt we owe the culture is that it will no longer allow us to paint God according to the pragmatic categories of impoverished or pragmatic religiosity, but rather according to our most stunning discoveries as human beings.

In our age, to render the biblical God as ruler and judge in our age must run more beautifully and artfully alongside His image as creator, sustainer, pastor, renewer, gardener, healer, lover, giver and aesthetic designer. In reality, He is all, but in generations and families of humankind, themes must be reclaimed to the de-emphasis of others.

An unwaveringly balanced view of God may not be our end goal, but rather a rhythmic view that flows with the to and fros of human culture and civilization – that gleans from all ages but shimmers with the needs of our our own.

In other words, in the face of these senses with which I personally wake, balance and clear categories seems to me to be overrated in some measure. The theologue within may recoil at such a thought, but the artist within takes in a breath of cool, startling air.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.