spiritual illusions, childlike foolishness, and snarky letters

It is a cool north Florida morning!  Not as cold as Massachusetts.  But colder than this Florida boy is used to.  Three thoughts on this bright Thursday morning as has become customary:

1.  Attended Lectionary lunch yesterday, where a great conversation was had on the awe that we encounter in Advent.  How it helps us develop the capacity to turn everything on its head.  I was reminded again how our perceptions can so often be dulled by this world and that we are frequently incorrect about the things that we are so sure of.  I am mindful of the fact that we often cannot see the things that are right in front of us.  Slate put out a great optical illusion this week (see below).  Look at the photo.  Which square is darker?  Block the white middle part with your finger.  Crazy, isn't it?  Makes me wonder how many things I am sure of because I can "see them" are wrong.  And the inverse, am I wrong about many things I cannot see?

2.  I heard a parent tell the story recently that her young daughter had announced she didn't believe in God because "He'd never done anything for her."  Amazing how we adults use the same arguments as children for things we are certain of, i.e., God has never done anything for us (See point 1).

3.  Reading through a small book on the Prayer of Jabez.  My prayer today is that my territory (circle of influence) would be an effective and fertile ground for God to work through me.  I ask for relief from my obsession with security and any lingering intimations in my prayers that in the end, that is the only thing I really seek.

Finally, I read last night a letter Karl Barth sent to Karl Rahner in 1968.  Talk about making one feel stupid.  I wasn't ever sure what Barth was saying (it was in English, so I have no good excuse).  Remarkable to watch great minds work from afar.  On occasion, that is enough for me.  I'll leave you with the aforementioned Prayer:

"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"  1 Chronicles 4 9-10


optical illusion

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