"There is an intellectual desire, an eros of the mind. Without it there would arise no questioning, no inquiry, no wonder." Bernard Lonergan

"It seems clear that humans cannot significantly reduce or mitigate the dangers inherent in their use of life by ccumulating more information or better theories or by achieving greater predictability or more caution in their scientific and industrial work. To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it." Wendell Berry

"Do not be afraid, my little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wilson, Russell and the lessons of hype and prognostication

Each and every year I swear I am not going to get sucked into national signing day. It occurs every February 6. So, usually, I hold out until February 1, and then I gradually creep into it. I am like a small kid who is afraid of the closet and what might lurk within. I slowly peek into the door, opening it wider, and wider until I see the full contents and it is no longer scary. On February 1 the door of interest is cracked. By February 6 I have thrown the door wide open. Now this is an affliction that targets men (primarily) from the South. As a child of NOLA and Baton Rouge, following recruiting is like a recurring arthritis. And by February 6 I am in a full blown episode. I start trolling the internet late at night (like I did late Monday night) to find videos that programs like LSU show to young men they are recruiting into the program. If you have 7 minutes this is my favorite one from this year - it is really well produced and an unbelievably smart sales pitch. But that is not the point of this blog. That video above, in spite of its quality, is not why I write today. In fact, I write to be critical of it in some ways. I write today to share this tweet with you, a tweet from Darren Rovell, one of the smartest writers I follow or know. Darren writes and tweets about the business side of sports, the dark and cloudy stuff we rarely see. I follow him because to understand most of the men in our churches (and many of the women) I need to have a grasp of the landscape of sport. Here is the tweet:
What do you notice about it? My friends from ACC territory and from N.C. State know exactly who this is. But he is Russell Wilson, who is currently the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. He is Russell Wilson, who was only two minutes short of starting in the Super Bowl. He is Russell Wilson, who was, at the age of 23 or so, on the pregame coverage of the Super Bowl because of the strength of his intellect, his skills of analysis, and his undeniable success at the hardest position, in the hardest game, in the toughest league in the country. And here is the thing about the tweet. It is from when Russell was at the Collegiate school, a prep school in Richmond where I used to coach 7th grade football in the 1990's. The two stars above his name mean the experts expected him to do nothing in college. The two stars mean that the experts thought he had no professional potential. And yet they were wrong. Totally wrong. How often do we let an initial ranking, hype, or prediction color our assumptions about outcomes? Do we give up when we think the world has given our faith two stars? When our prayers seems to have earned a failing grade? When it seems that faith is two small, don't believe the hype.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Power and vulnerability...a lens for incarnation?

Below I have linked a video. It is worth 20 minutes of your time.

Here is the thing, how good are we at being vulnerable?

What if the secret to happiness was related to our capacity to be vulnerable?

What if the location of theological, divine, and spiritual joy were to be found in our ability to make ourselves vulnerable to God?

Do we believe we are worthy of love and belonging? Do we believe that God loves us, and allows us to belong, even when we fail? How do we define shame?

How do we define vulnerability? Is vulnerability powerful? I think I will think about this for days......

 May we have, as she says in the video, the courage to be imperfect.

 May we, in gracious love, embrace vulnerability.

 May we say "I love you first..." May we say it first to God. Then to ourselves. Then to others.

 In case you are wondering about where the pastor sees a connection between the principles she is suggesting and the faith we profess, we just might find it here: is there anything more vulnerable than incarnation? Is there any greater act of love than incarnation?

 Our confessions say incarnation is God's most powerful act. So if incarnation is powerful, then perhaps there is powerful wisdom and love in vulnerability.... Is vulnerability powerful?

 Note: as this is a church-related blog and I am church-person and I am typically unsure as to who actually sees this or not...I feel a need (with a sly sense of vulnerability) to let you know that this link is PG-13ish.