Friday, August 26, 2011

an indistinguishable part of a single pulse

"a hermeneutic of wonder is the art of dwelling on one another (a text, person, sunset, or tree) with full attention to its wholeness, its complexity and simplicity, its intricate patterns of relationship. whether we focus on [walter] brueggemann's abiding astonishment, [abraham] heschel's radical amazement, or [howard] thurman's deepest things, we see the power of this hermeneutic. practiced in dramatic and simple moments, it uncovers 'blessings so intimate, so closely binding, that they do not seem to be blessings at all.' such blessings are important in themselves, but they also build a life of wonder, awakening people to moments that delight, annoy, and teach them about god and god's world.

"whether approaching a biblical text or walking in the woods, one may actively seek wonder (through biblical criticism), practice disciplines of sillness (lectio divina), or contemplate in silence. the result may be a sense of communion with the forest or the text, which transcends the obvious and reveals god in the commonplace. 'one becomes an indistinguishable part of a single rhythm, a single pulse.' these experiences are treasures, and while they do not happen in every moment, they can potentially color the rest of our lives..."

--from teaching as a sacramental act by mary elizabeth mullino moore (her emphases)

I shy away from using words like hermeneutic, praxis, gestalt, and sacramental, partly because I'm never enitirely certain what they mean, and mostly because there are other, better, simpler words I can often use (why say "sacramental" when you can easily use "sacred" in the title of this text?). still, this is a good quote that takes an awful lot of words to say something that e.m. forster said better and more simply: "only connect." connect with your text, connect with your forest, connect with your community. or more exactly, be open to those connections because we are never certain when or if they will come. I walk in the woods daily with my dogs and I'd have to say my moments of connection (and they are often only moments despite or maybe because of my concentration) would barely add up to 5 minutes if strung together consecutively. it's only the memory of those touches of connectivity, reflected on at leisure, that make sense, not the original experiences themselves.

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