the gift of life

July 25, 2008

I’m beginning to think that the whole purpose of life is to posture oneself in a way to receive God’s gifts.  Life itself, its complexities, sorrows, joys, frustrations, and lessons all can have a positive outcome if understood as gifts from God.  The whole of reality, the whole of creation, the whole of the cosmos is good and meant to allow us to participate in the communal life of God.  That is the genius of the Trinity.  This concept of God being three-in-one is something that was put upon the followers of Christ as a gift.  Nobody thought it up.  It came at the end of a long struggle for the church to define what the Bible meant by God being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This triune life is a community of love that invites the creation to share in that loving oneness.  That’s why Jesus came and died and rose again.  That’s also why we have a hope of salvation.  It’s not merely being carted off to a spiritual clean, happy, wonderful place to be with God when we die.  Rather, our eternal life begins here and now in this creation that God declared good.  He is coming again to put things back in order, and we can look forward to being part of this new heaven and new earth.  The trick is not to look anywhere than within ourselves and all around us for God’s movement.  God’s kingdom of restoration, transfiguration, and resurrected hope is glimpsed in the present created order, but will fully and completely take over reality.  That’s the program I want to be a part of.  Hell is rejecting this.

Anyway, enough sermonizing.  Here’s the quote by Merton that got me thinking about all this:

“The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense we have to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity.”

Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

band of horses

July 1, 2008

 

facial hair

So, I’m like the last dude to find out about these guys, but they’re freaking great. I hear a ton of influences, or unconscious reminders other bands: early Neil Young, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Jeff Buckley’s backup band, Interpol’s song structure, The Shins, amorphous “Southern Rock”, Poor Old Lu, Sunny Day Real Estate….

I like that the songs are unpredictable, the lyrics are interesting, and singer Ben Bridwell does cool stuff with his voice and his singing tempo. They don’t seem to be a parody of anything, although they remind me of tons of stuff I like in other bands. Something is oddly familiar about their sound, even though I’m hearing a lot of songs for the first time. I definitely want to keep up with them.