Illuminations

Why am I starting a blog?
Well, there are the pragmatic reasons of wanting to build a portfolio (almost required for someone seeking writing/editing work, especially freelance) and wanting to keep my writing muscles in shape in a forum that doesn’t print rejection letters.
Besides those, I guess the reason I write anything to publish, rather than just journaling privately, is because I’ve been given a candle to carry, a gift of words to share. I didn’t earn it or ask for it. I’ve worked to hone it, but the gift came from God, as did the responsibility to use it, rather than hide it under a bowl.
It’s scary for me to share my work, because it puts my deepest thoughts and feelings, my very self, up for criticism, which stings bitterly. But really, it’s not supposed to be about me.
Yesterday I was reading an illustration in Soren Kierkegaard’s Purity Of Heart Is To Will One Thing, about a woman who stitches a decorative altar cloth. She puts great care into her sewing, but is “deeply distressed if someone should make the mistake of looking at her art, instead of at the meaning of the cloth.”
Like that woman, I want my work to be a window, not a mirror. My writing shouldn’t draw attention to itself, reflecting your gaze back to me, like a mirror. I want it to be a window: sometimes it is smudged, cracked, fogged, or streaked with condensation, but if it is sometimes transparent enough that you can catch even glimpses of distant illuminations through it, I will have succeeded.
I hope that my words and thoughts—surprises gleaned from writing, reading, cooking, praying, hiking, doing laundry—will somehow be of help or hope to you in your daily walk.

7 thoughts on “Illuminations

  1. i have a compliment for you, but it's cleverly disguised as a suggestion.if i were to make the 'mistake' of giving you my attention in response to your work (rather than seeing the distant illuminations through your work), i would then be drawn to look at God. in other words, your writing, when it draws attention to you, will (in my opinion) then draw attention to God.humble gifted people sometimes work hard to de-emphasize themselves, to get away from the spotlight, to deflect attention. i think that for Christians, this is a bad idea. i don't think it's our job to reject any admiration we might receive. i think it's our job to shine brightly. Jesus often said something like, “it isn't me, it's the Father in me, and I in Him.” He did not say to anyone, “stop looking at me, stop following me, stop friending me, stop subscribing to me. pay attention only to these ideas, these teachings.” the truth we follow is a Person, not a principle or pattern.when i look at you, i see Christ in you, and you in Him. i think you can trust that others experience the same. i'm sure others have told you this before. you can trust it. i've heard non-Christians describe Christians they've met in very positive terms, and generally when i hear someone's conversion story (especially if that someone was not raised in church), i hear mention of a person who led them into Christ by shining brightly… as opposed to, “the Christian philosophy seemed sound, so i gave my life to it.”i suggest you let your work be a mirror, reflecting our gazes back to you… because you are also a mirror, reflecting our gazes again back to God, Whose work you are. people who search the 'net for information may occasionally find here on your blog that for which they are searching; and when they get it, they'll leave without bookmarking. on the other hand: people who are searching for personal truth, for beautiful truth, for embodied truth, will find you, and subscribe.i pray God blesses your work, and makes it reflective. i pray Holy Spirit continues to polish your reflective surface as well, so that people who are searching for truth will find not a codex of useful information but a person whose life is and will continue to be transformed into someone so holistically attractive that those seekers will be forced to wonder, “whence came such beauty?”and THEN they will be gently yet inexorably redirected. amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i have a compliment for you, but it’s cleverly disguised as a suggestion.if i were to make the ‘mistake’ of giving you my attention in response to your work (rather than seeing the distant illuminations through your work), i would then be drawn to look at God. in other words, your writing, when it draws attention to you, will (in my opinion) then draw attention to God.humble gifted people sometimes work hard to de-emphasize themselves, to get away from the spotlight, to deflect attention. i think that for Christians, this is a bad idea. i don’t think it’s our job to reject any admiration we might receive. i think it’s our job to shine brightly. Jesus often said something like, “it isn’t me, it’s the Father in me, and I in Him.” He did not say to anyone, “stop looking at me, stop following me, stop friending me, stop subscribing to me. pay attention only to these ideas, these teachings.” the truth we follow is a Person, not a principle or pattern.when i look at you, i see Christ in you, and you in Him. i think you can trust that others experience the same. i’m sure others have told you this before. you can trust it. i’ve heard non-Christians describe Christians they’ve met in very positive terms, and generally when i hear someone’s conversion story (especially if that someone was not raised in church), i hear mention of a person who led them into Christ by shining brightly… as opposed to, “the Christian philosophy seemed sound, so i gave my life to it.”i suggest you let your work be a mirror, reflecting our gazes back to you… because you are also a mirror, reflecting our gazes again back to God, Whose work you are. people who search the ‘net for information may occasionally find here on your blog that for which they are searching; and when they get it, they’ll leave without bookmarking. on the other hand: people who are searching for personal truth, for beautiful truth, for embodied truth, will find you, and subscribe.i pray God blesses your work, and makes it reflective. i pray Holy Spirit continues to polish your reflective surface as well, so that people who are searching for truth will find not a codex of useful information but a person whose life is and will continue to be transformed into someone so holistically attractive that those seekers will be forced to wonder, “whence came such beauty?”and THEN they will be gently yet inexorably redirected. amen.

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  3. Thank you, Angela and Isaiah, for your encouragement and useful suggestions. Isaiah, I agree with you, that truth is only cold and distant unless it is lived. When Christ Himself came as a person, it was as the Word made flesh. I think you were referencing 2 Corinthians 3:17 when you talked about “we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory.” We are supposed to live as little images of Christ in the world. The challenge is not to get so wrapped up in the attention of people that we keep it for ourselves, rather than passing it on to God, as you said, the source of all Beauty. Even Jesus passed on the glory by saying, “Why do you call me good?…No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19). So perhaps what you and I are to be in the world are not invisible windows, but a series of mirrors ultimately pointing Upward–the same goal, but a different route. Thank you for your thoughtful input.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Angela and Isaiah, for your encouragement and useful suggestions. Isaiah, I agree with you, that truth is only cold and distant unless it is lived. When Christ Himself came as a person, it was as the Word made flesh. I think you were referencing 2 Corinthians 3:17 when you talked about “we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory.” We are supposed to live as little images of Christ in the world. The challenge is not to get so wrapped up in the attention of people that we keep it for ourselves, rather than passing it on to God, as you said, the source of all Beauty. Even Jesus passed on the glory by saying, “Why do you call me good?…No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19). So perhaps what you and I are to be in the world are not invisible windows, but a series of mirrors ultimately pointing Upward–the same goal, but a different route. Thank you for your thoughtful input.

    Liked by 1 person

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