For library faeries, a research lead, and the peace of wild things - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 34

#SevenGratitudes is a weekly gratitude practice for the enlivening of my soul, a deepening engagement with the world, and simple encouragement for anyone who stops by.

Thanks for being here.

This week I am grateful…

1

For the chance to see my spouse teach Sunday school.

Aaron had his first opportunity to teach a class at Wilshire Baptist this past Sunday. He covered Galatians in the span of an hour, which was great and inspiring (see below), but even better was the pure delight of seeing my man do something that he loves.

Aaron has trained and studied and practiced for this work of Christian education, spiritual development, and pastoral care. He has always, since one fateful day in high school, aimed his energies at challenging the church to engage its whole self—the mind certainly included—in the work of embodying Christ in the world.

I loved witnessing the Spirit of God stir us there in the room. I loved seeing Aaron move in that Light.

2

For a research lead.

During Sunday school, in the Light of the Spirit’s stirring, I had the stroke of inspiration for which I have been waiting and praying, and, perhaps, obsessing.

One part of my school responsibilities in this final semester is to produce a substantial testament to my learning; I have to write a thesis. The task is daunting to me, for how could I possibly encapsulate the sum of my experience at Wake in one project? I cannot do that completely, of course, but the project is a requirement to help students do some synthesizing, the terribly difficult “so what” work, before we leave.

The hardest art divinity students practice is expressing all of their theological, sociological, and psychological data into a concrete direction for ministry, and ain’t that the point? That all of this would help us move truer and deeper in the ways of Christ?

SO. Sunday it happened. I found my hook, the (broad! sweeping!) thing that is going to keep me digging through books and interviews and personal experiences all semester.

Ecological Consciousness as a Mode for Ministry—ecological communion as the starting point and gathering place, rather than the afterthought or side gig, of the community of faith.

I’m not talking about environmental stewardship, new age religion, or eco-warriors. I’m talking about real, earthy, flesh and bloody, Communion.

What does it look like for ecological consciousness—a lived awareness of communion, the interconnectedness of God and all creation—to be the starting place of ministry? What does an ecologically conscious church look like and feel like? How does pastoral or clinical care happen with its roots in the earth, with an eye toward connection with God and all of our ecological neighbors? What does mission mean with this in mind?

Imma find out.

3

For yoga moves that help me stretch through period pain, for paths through discomfort instead of halting panic and despair. For ibuprofen, too. #RealLife

4

For the eclipse. For moon magic, people magic, awe, wonder—

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Eclipse day was lovely. It was fun to see people all over the place driving to see the cosmic dance. I am grateful for the moments of togetherness it offered folks who pulled out of work or packed up the family to experience such a happening. Made my heart glad.

And wasn’t it just a wild little moment? Sent prickles of deep-seated awe down my spine.

5

For public messages like these.

Read books

Seen at the Dallas Public Library, main garage entrance and the children’s wing respectively.

STEAM

6

That the “sub-par” silly read I picked up last week and read almost against my will…

Turned into me tracking down the other two books in its trilogy, which, as I finished it yesterday, was absolutely fun and fabulous and has me thinking about the everyday magic of Light around us. The Light of healing, the way we can move with the Light and in its power for the betterment of the world, for the joy of love—that Love means everything, accepting the whole of a person.

That was a blathering paragraph, and I ain’t even gonna touch it.

Moral of the story: Reading can be just for fun. JUST FOR FUN. And still touch something Real within.

7

For the peace of wild things.

A colleague of mine shared this poem with Facebook this morning. It made me stop. I read it several times, just breathing deeply.

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I am so thankful for the peace of wild things. Thankful for the way the wild comes to meet us, even in our constructions of concrete and iron, control and structure.

This week at the Dallas Public Library I watched a friend’s one-year-old faerie flit about the children’s wing, making friends and discovering the inches and feet of life in that place. I realized, as I looked on her play, that everything in me was calm, present, and wooed by the young wildness in her being.

She reminded me of my own free spirit, that we are all free spirits, invited to explore and marvel. Makes me feel almost drowsy now even to remember it. What would it mean if we older ones connected with this young one’s lesson, with her example of Being who we are?

Beloved creatures, we're here to delight and learn and love and Be.