Years ago, when I was in seminary, one of my professors Rev. Dr. Gail Ricciuti, challenged me to think about God as an artist. I fell in love with that idea, partly because it reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books by Martha Hickman called And God Created Squash. She tells the Creation story with a God who has an awesome sense of adventure, play and creativity talking to himself in the Garden of Eden about all that he wants to create. He envisions things and creates them by calling them into being. One inspiration leads to another. For example, God falls in love with the word squash. "I like that name . . . I think I'll use it again. Acorn squash. Butternut squash. Even zucchini squash. I might have a game and call it squash. Or put my hand on something and press down hard and call that squash." This creative process continues until God ends by fashioning some company for himself--something, "well, more like me."
This whole idea of God as an artist was the inspiration for one of my first sermons, called Divine by Design. Here I argued we are Divine by Design because we were designed by the Divine. If we had a label that we wore, some sort of trademark, it would say Divine Design. Read more
Hands have always fascinated me. When I was younger, my grandmother used to let me play with her hands. Her skin, as I remember it was wrinkly, soft, and baggy. Baggy might seem like a strange word to describe skin, but it was. She would play this game with me. She would pinch my skin and it would go right back into place. Then she would let me pinch her skin and it would form little peaks and valleys. Her skin became like clay that I got to play with and create landscapes. Her skin had also become more translucent, you could see the veins, and they become streams of water flowing into the peaks and valleys I was creating in her hands. Her hands would fascinate me for hours as I sat and moved skin around creating ever-changing images. Read more
One of my favorite books for the longest time was Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In it, there was a list of important life lessons he learned in kindergarten. Number 11 “Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
When one was in kindergarten, it seemed easy for most people I know to lead a balanced life. We went to kindergarten, learned and thought about things like the alphabet and big and little letters. We would spend time in school and after school, playing and creating games or stories with our friends or by ourselves. Read more
A friend of ours is interviewing for a job in another state. As she has talked about the idea of moving, she has thought about taking up a temporary residence somewhere until she can decide where and in what neighborhood she wants to live in. As I have listened to the stories of those whose homes were lost during Hurricane Katrina, there was a clear sense that where I am at right now is a temporary situation, but soon I will be moving back to or into permanent housing again.
When it comes to where we live, most of us have a clear sense of when the place is our temporary and or permanent residence. So why is that some of us have trouble doing that with our feelings. Read more
For some this may be easier then others, but can you remember a time when you were young and free enough to think you could do anything. Take a moment and remember that time when you could imagine yourself as whatever you chose to be, you could travel to far off places and accomplish amazing things in the world. One of my favorite films is the movie UP! In part because it captures the imaginary and liberating creativity experienced by Elie and Carl as they formed a secret club and fantasized about traveling to Paradise Falls, somewhere in South America, as part of their fantasy of finding the once famous explorer Charles Muntz and his blimp The Spirit of Adventure. Read more
It is no secret, to those of you who read my reflections on a regular basis, that I am a Chopped fan. I am not sure I have missed an episode since it first aired. I have learned a lot about cooking from watching the show in terms of techniques and flavor profiles and combinations. However, one of the recent episodes moved me to tears and touched me spiritually in a way that I was not expecting. It all happened with a single word. WAIT!
This episode, like a few of the others, was a redemption battle between four chefs who had come in second in their initial competitions. I remember each of them well. However, from the beginning, I had my two favorites Yohanna and Lance. I had remembered them from their initial appearances because of their humility, their grace, and their creativity. Read more
When I was doing my doctoral studies, I was blessed with the opportunity to read an essay by Audre Lorde, called Poetry is not luxury. It was one of those pieces that lives with me to this day. It helped me to understand why I love writing so much. It is not even that I love it, it is essential to my well being. Through my writing, I am able to give voice to feelings and ideas that I cannot seem to express any other way. Perhaps that is why the last nine weeks have been so special for me. I have given myself time every day to journal to my soul and write to the voice of wisdom buried deep within me.
One of the things I came to realize was that depending on my mood, different things inspired me and helped me tap into my creative energy. Read more