Monday, November 8, 2010

Faith, Photography - and New Eyes

Photo - below left - is renowned photographer Dewitt Jones. One of my heroes!

Here we go. Blogging at the car shop waiting for my dead vehicle to be revived. Third time in as many weeks. I should be used to this!

What's on my mind this morning is church yesterday. Powerful Sunday, as per usual, but this time with a couple of twists. 5:30 a couple of hundred of us got together for First Presbyterian's annual "Stewardship Dinner". The occasion - organized by our most excellent elder and friend David Dale - was not so much a fundraiser as a consciousness raiser and a celebration of what the church is up to. Two particular elements made my spirit hum.

First, and this isn't the first time I've seen this amazing video, Rebekah showed a short documentary on creativity produced by National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones.

I've seen Jones' work before, and his message captures nicely some of my foundational ideas. Creativity - I am convinced - is all about engaging the spirit of our Creator, and about moving beyond the restrictive parameters we impose on ourselves and those around us because of our unbelief.

Unbelief translates into constriction, proscription, pre-conclusion... We immobilize ourselves, or simply go around in circles, or at best tread water...

Rebekah followed up the video with a short talk that flowed seamlessly from Jones' central thesis. She called it "Bumblebee Generosity." However, rather than regurgitate the inaccurate - hackneyed - idea that "The Bumblebee is scientifically proven to be unable to fly... yet the Bumblebee goes ahead and flies anyway", she did some actual research (imagine that!), and gave a more compelling message.

The Bumblebee may not be aerodynamic as a "static" body. (A bird-shaped model is aerodynamic, and would glide if dropped of a cliff - whereas a Bumblebee model would tumble and crash). In motion, however, and with the frenetic beating of the wings (130-240 beats per second), the Bumblebee controls the airflow around it and manages to fly with surprising elegance.

Same principle with a bicycle, Rebekah pointed out. Standing still, the two-wheeler falls right over. In motion, however, the bike is very stable.

Likewise the spiritual life. We are - and most especially as a church body - always going to tumble and crash - or simply fall over - if we stand still, inactive. But, when we respond to the urgings of the Spirit and we're willing to move forward into the life-charged future God has for us, well, that's when we have the opportunity to soar.

It may be a Monday. Let's soar anyway!

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