It feels like a catch-22, writing about being consistent with core values, only to question what those values are and how we arrive at them in the first place. Maybe that is a subconscious goal of my writing, to produce a more logical commitment? Maybe I can weed out my desire to be new and interesting so it doesn't overcome what is true and what will be most helpful to readers.
The trouble (and maybe the excitement) of blogging is that I really don't know who is going to read any particular post. I am throwing myself to the wind- is it careless? A kind of mental prostitution, without even any ad revenue? So I can keep quoting others without much crisis of conscience.
Quote Investigator reports a quote from Einstein that stirred my thought this week, after a friend posted a lovely photo of a child under a type of tree fort with the words, "play is the highest form of research." (I thought, yay! I'm not wasting my degrees and research training! Being a musician, gardening and "playing store" as one of my customers likes to tell me on his way out: "have fun playing store!" and of course, the verbal and written exchange of ideas.)
Alas, Einstein's quote: "The desire to arrive finally at logically connected concepts is the emotional basis of a vague play with basic ideas. This combinatory or associative play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
Productive thought, a worthy goal. Like writing a book? Something that can be shared for another's well-being.
A coworker lent me one of his favorite books this week: Love Wins. I was delighted because we had talked about it some during a training day last year (Though I am hesitant to initiate discussions of faith at work, I always welcome the opportunity if someone expresses the desire, and almost inevitably it happens during training week. It's wonderful, really: like the time we invent the beginning of a joke: "A Jew, a Catholic and a Protestant walk into Whole Foods," and there the three of us are, pondering the meaning of Ezekiel bread? I don't know if you will find this funny, but that frozen bread case was where we laughed, realizing our differences and sameness.) and I'm delighted because this coworker initiated a decisive switch that required me to remember his locker number, and then I almost tricked him into thinking at first I didn't take it, leaving another book in its place.
Anyway Rob Bell had already piqued my curiosity because the world loves him but the church hates him? OK not really, but he has said some provocative things that have some theologians crying "heretic" faster than butter melts on toast, or than temple leaders began shouting "crucify!" ...Sounds like Jesus (maybe you know Aslan?) is on the move.
And this part from chapter one has me in tears, not just the misty kind that sort of well up in your eyes for a second but then you smile and are OK, but dripping down my face and nose and doggonit-now-I-have-to-stop-reading-for-a-minute-and-walk-across-the-room-for-a-tissue kind of tears.
He is writing about Heaven, "a reality in which individual identities aren't lost or repressed, but embraced and celebrated. An expansive unity that goes beyond and yet fully embraces staggering levels of diversity."
Bell continues, "A racist would be miserable in the world to come."
"Second, one of the most striking aspects of the pictures the prophets use to describe this reality is how earthy it is. Wine and crops and grain and people and feasts and buildings and homes. It's here they were talking about, this world, the one we know- but rescued, transformed, and renewed.
(I think this is the part, here...)
"When Isaiah predicted that spears would become pruning hooks, that's a reference to cultivating. Pruning and trimming and growing and paying close attention to the plants and whether they're getting enough water and if their roots are deep enough. Soil under the fingernails, grapes being trampled under bare feet, fingers sticky from handling fresh fruit."
"....'Here it is,
A big, beautiful, fascinating world,'
'Do something with it!'"
Maybe it is from my time spent gardening, or my family's history with that and farming, or the fact that it is the middle of winter and I have not felt warm soil on my hands for months- something about this earthy description of heaven strikes a deep chord.
So now I reflect and sigh and wonder, what am I doing with my bit of earth? What is my time going to be spent doing?
Is it trolling the internet waiting to pounce on some unforeseen error?
Being careless with my speech and friendships?
Engaging in destructive habits that waste my time and others'?
What am I working toward?
Maybe the better question is: what are we playing toward, if not each other?