Posts Tagged: "Beauty"

That Kid Who Ran Across Your Lawn

Dr. Preston Pouteaux is a bee keeper, author, and pastor in Alberta, Canada. His new book, The Bees of Rainbow Falls, is about finding faith, imagination, and delight in your neighborhood. In the chapter on “Awe,” there is a section entitled “People Are Sublime,” which is quoted below…

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For all the beauty of mountains and space, I am discovering that people are the most sublime.

Yes, strangely I’ve come to believe that boring, frustrating, and annoying humans are perhaps the pinnacle of all that is wonderful and good in the world.

This may be surprising to some; people seem to be so common. An hour stuck in traffic can almost make us feel like other humans are simply a part of the mundane fabric of the world around us, nowhere close to the breathtaking experience we think would be associated with awe.

Give yes mountains and beauty, not people. Stick with stars, birds, and bees. That’s the good stuff. Yet even from space, astronauts stare in awe at both the beauty and the fragility of the people too small to see. These mundane, boring, insignificant people may in fact ignite the highest sense of awe a person might experience.

I’ve often felt that mountains are not the pinnacle of beauty in the world, that they are not the most meaningful source of spiritual awe and satisfaction. Neither are bees, or birds, or stars. I leave the mountains with renewed life, but I return to my neighborhood and city to encounter the most stunning source of beauty in its most sublime form: people.

Eugene Peterson, a spiritual theologian who loves  nature and beauty wrote that “Even a bare-bones human existence contains enough glory to stagger any one of us into bewildered awe.” Just by their very being, people proclaim something astonishing about the world we live in.

Not convinced? Read on… Read More

Lent Day 37… There Is No Beauty Without Some Strangeness

There is no beauty without some strangeness. —Edgar Allen Poe

We’ve been in Portland for Spring break… It’s quirky, strange, beautiful, and 100% Northwest. There are bridges everywhere because, of course, there is water everywhere. We’re surrounded by green growing things and concrete and bricks and graffiti. It’s like a study in contrasts.

Today we visited Multnomah Falls. It’s 30 minutes or so outside the city, and it has that nature-is-in-charge-here kind of feel. Mist and moss, cliffs with water spilling over…

It’s just beautiful.

I took plenty of pictures. And I looked for new angles, perspectives—hoping to capture something less typical.

Later in the afternoon, we went back into the city. Somehow we ended up wandering around at the Hippo Hardware & Trading Company. It’s mostly a salvage warehouse of lights and knobs and bathroom fixtures. Some wild-haired older guy with a loud voice and stories to tell was working there.

Anyway, as I was wandering through the store, I saw… Read More

Rethinking Beauty

*picture above: the edge of Lake Wilderness about .25 miles from my home – where we walk most days and regularly see bald eagles soaring above.

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My wife loves birds. For her birthday, I got her three books about birds – one of them was “Consider the Birds” by Debbie Blue. I’ve really enjoyed reading Debbie Blue in the past and thought this would be a great book for Shari.

Months later, Shari still hadn’t even cracked the Debbie Blue book open, so I took it. And, oh my goodness, it is spectacular. Debbie has a way of turning things upside-down and looking at them from the other side. Her knack at doing this is particularly fascinating in her approach to Scripture.

Her “Consider the Birds” book isn’t one that only birders would love. I found it to be incredibly thought-provoking, funny, and enlightening.

The chapter on “The Vulture: Ugliness And Beauty” was one of my favorites. Here’s a brief sampling…

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The Hebrew word nesher is often translate in our English versions of the Bible as “eagle,” but most scholars agree that “griffin vulture” is at least an alternative, if not a more fitting translation. As vultures became more loathsome to us English… Read More

The Question I Will Keep Asking Over And Over Again

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty.   —John Muir

As I’ve shared before, my word for the year is Beautiful. It shows up in my goals…

Make beautiful food. Write beautiful words. Say beautiful things. Dream up beautiful things to do. Go beautiful places. Notice beautiful things and learn from them. Take beautiful pictures. Design beautiful artwork. Think beautiful thoughts. Pray beautiful prayers. Find the beautiful in the unexpected or where it has been previously unnoticed.

So, with goals like these, I will obviously be asking myself this question over and over again: Is it beautiful?

In a recent staff meeting, I shared with the team that I will be asking this question about our church too, “I’ll want to know that what we are doing and saying and giving and making is beautiful. If it’s not beautiful, something needs to change.”

In that meeting, I read some words by… Read More

The Beauty Of The Flaw

Some dear friends of mine have recently gone though an incredibly tragic and painful experience. Along with them, I want to know “Why?” I want answers. Conclusions. Resolutions. And I know there are none.

Although there are no satisfying answers, I do believe beauty rises from our suffering – but just not quickly.

It will come, in its own time. So in the meantime, we sit in the pain and learn how to manage with it.

While reading Beauty —The Invisible Embrace I was reminded again of the promise from God that beauty will rise from our ashes.

In the words of John O’Donohue… Read More

Beauty Mystery Wonder

I believe we need a greater appreciation for beauty | mystery | wonder in the church today. Pastor and author Brian Zahnd tackles this subject in his book, “Beauty Will Save The World.”

Quoting Zahnd,

The tragedy of growing up is not that we put aside childishness, but that we lose the capacity for childlike wonder. As children we dream of finding our own real-life adventure… and we end up finding a job. Adventure is set aside for a career and wonder is the casualty… The loss of wonder is what we experience as boredom, and boredom is a real problem.
Yesterday morning, I discovered a new song by The Liturgists… Read More