Thursday, January 16, 2020

Spirit Word for 2020


During worship on January 12th we were invited to draw a Spirit Word for the year, a word to reflect upon and ponder how it impacts our lives (or perhaps how it could do so). I drew the word EXTRAVAGANCE, which is now hanging with the calendar in my office.

Now what might that mean?

A few early thoughts...

How is God extravagant? As people of faith we proclaim the extravagant grace, love, and mercy of God. God gives prodigiously and extravagantly. Pondering the word calls me to think about where I have been the recipient of the extravagance. This leads me to reflect on how I am blessed. Hopefully it leads me to a place of deep gratitude.

How are others extravagant? Where do I see people giving prodigiously and extravagantly to me and to others? This is one of the places I see God’s extravagance in action. Hopefully looking for this pushes me to not only recognize it happening but comment on it. Again a practice of gratitude.

How am I extravagant? How could I be extravagant? A place of challenge perhaps, a place to push myself to be more generous, more merciful, more gracious. Maybe I do a better job of avoiding political debate on social media? Maybe I push myself to be more patient with my children? Maybe I find time to do different things this year?

There is another side to extravagance. I think of the show biz term of extravaganza. An extravaganza is showy, fabulous, over the top. Where do I see that sort of showiness in life? Where do I see the need for more of it? An extravaganza is often less than serious, sometimes even frivolous. Where do I see that we need to be more frivolous in the world? Something to watch for over the year. And then maybe something to help shape my choices.

Who knows what else pondering extravagance will bring me this year?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Book 14 of 2019 The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative

This is the 2nd book by Thomas King I have read in the last few years [here is the first].

It is interesting to read his books because up until 7 years ago the only way I knew anything about King was from listening to the Dead Dog Cafe on the radio. The books are not like the radio show. Well I guess there is a wry, dry humor in both.

I liked this book.  Much of what King had to say about the difference between being the Indian people look for and the Indian one actually is he covers in his later book The Inconvenient Indian however it is helpful information to see again.

I really liked the way King chooses to open each chapter with the same story, it gives a good continuity. Same with teh fact that the concluding paragraphs of each chapter are almost identical. Humans are peoples of stories. In our rationalistic scientific Western World we seem to have forgotten that. Well we think we have. I have noticed that it is story that helps us understand our rational scientific lives more than theories and proofs.

The best part of the book is the Afterword, that is where King pushes us to consider what might happen if we told ourselves a different story than the one we currently tell. Stories  are powerful. And, as King often reminds us, they are really all we have.