seeing things as black and white

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(all photographs taken from our deck, as the new leaves just keep coming and coming…)

LIGHT: This past weekend, during the retreat on Chesapeake Bay, one of the things we talked about was vision: in terms of seeing, lenses, clarity, understanding, and the fact that Jesus was often frustrated at his followers for walking around with their eyes closed, or not wearing their listening ears, or missing the essential point of his teachings.

My new prescription eye-glasses (see “Lost in the Fog” from April 11) also helped to facilitate the conversation. Progressive lenses, or 20-20, it’s evident that God wants each one of us to let the light pour in to our consciousness, to appreciate every shade and nuance of this life, and – especially – to fill our spirits with God, who always helps us to see more clearly.

IMG_9406B & W: I continued to think along those lines this week, as I was experimenting with the possibility of using black and white photography.  “But it’s springtime,” you might say, “with so much amazing color to enjoy! Shouldn’t shooting in black and white be more of a winter thing?”

I hear that loud and clear! However, earlier in the week I read one more series of obnoxious posts on Facebook that tried to reduce some rehashed political or religious conversation to “this issue is black and white,” and I thought I should see what that actually looks like.

Fact is, un-nuanced black and white is two dimensional at best. What really works in terms of beauty, and complexity, and truth, is a wide palette comprised of limitless tones of gray.

God created this world with so much nuanced, blended, multi-dimensional, variant beauty.

IMG_9501SPIRIT: The human experience, the human spirit, reflects the entire creative and imaginative sweep of God’s hand. We are spiritual beings, and as such the core of who we are – the part that lives into eternity – cannot be contained nor completely defined by our physical selves.

Listen to Jesus, when he responded to a question about marriage in eternity, and an argument regarding who (of several men) a certain women would be married to “in the life to come:” “For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven.” – Jesus speaking in Matthew 22.

Much of what we insist has to be “black and white” looks like a cartoon image in comparison to God’s redemptive, beautiful, limitless, hard-to-pin-down perspective.

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On Chesapeake Bay

I believe that we all make numerous mistakes when it comes to discerning God’s will for our lives from day to day. A more useful exercise, then, than attempting to codify human behavior – especially that of others – would be to follow Jesus more closely, and to live faith out loud, in response to that deepening, intimate relationship.

follow Jesus more closely, and live faith out loud, in response to a deepening, intimate relationship.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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5 comments

  1. Derek, Your observation is what i SHOULD have said to that post! instead, i was my normal hot-headed self. But hey, if I had the perspective you have and was able to put pen to paper with your talent, i’d be a writer like you instead of a programmer like me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great perspective. I try to keep a positive outlook most of the time, but since I’m human and not perfect, I forget and get frustrated by the little things. I think religion is a great aspect of life that truly does remind us to be positive and happy on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, other areas of our lives take up too much time and we can get distracted. These pictures are a great comparison to seeing in black and white vs. seeing things from God’s perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You said, “I believe that we all make numerous mistakes when it comes to discerning God’s will for our lives from day to day. A more useful exercise, then, than attempting to codify human behavior – especially that of others – would be to follow Jesus more closely, and to live faith out loud, in response to that deepening, intimate relationship.” I would add that not only must we live faith out loud, we must practice love in all our affairs. Love ourselves, love our neighbors, love our enemies, and love God with all our heart, mind and soul.Love, that agape God kind of love defined in 1 Corinthians 13, by definition fulfills the law. We will not steal from others if we love them, for example. I teach Bible study at the local county prison, and I am usually greeted with blank stares when I teach on love and forgiveness. God’s love is rather difficult to comprehend.

    Liked by 1 person

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