Thursday, April 28, 2011

The path of a cloud

Today marks my blog's third birthday. After three years of blogging, it's obvious that I'm beginning to change the pace at which I add new posts. After initially averaging 7+ posts a month for the first 20 months, I tapered off to four or five a month in 2010, and now only find myself writing about three posts per month thus far this year. I alluded to the reason for this dramatic drop in production in a post I wrote in February, which essentially said that I suddenly began feeling the need to slow down my writing in order to better keep up with living what I write. That feeling hasn't changed, and occasionally leaves me wondering about discontinuing this blog altogether. But however much I may be tempted to quit, I still have my moments when I suddenly feel a strong desire -- nay, even a compulsion -- to write about something particularly meaningful to me at the time. And if someone out there in blogland ends up encouraged or stirred by such posts, so much the better.

So in lieu of this momentous occasion, and just to see how it would turn out, I created a wordcloud of the past six months of posts on The View from Here (which you can click on to see it enlarged on Wordle).

Wordle: The View from Here

© 2011 by Ken Peters

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday

I never pay attention to the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It's like the oft-ignored middle child of the Easter weekend. After all, it's nothing but an in-between time -- dead space between two major events. Right?

Upon reflection, I'm not so sure. In some circles, this day is called Holy Saturday. It's the day Jesus was in the ground. A precious seed buried. The disciples struggling with uncertainty. A time of unresolved tension and unanswered questions. Yet even though it was a day of discouragement for all those who mourned Jesus' death, it was also a day not far from breakthrough -- a day of then unknown possibilities.

Does that sound like it could be relevant for anyone dealing with disappointment and confusion in their walk with God? It does to me. It's a beautiful picture of the fact that, with God, there can be hope in the darkness; expectation amidst apparent defeat. A seed may be buried, but there's something going on just beneath the surface. And it's about to sprout forth! This helps me to see that I needn't be so fearful of the unresolved things in my life.

Life is so full of untidy outcomes and unexplainable circumstances, that it's helpful to reflect on a Holy Saturday when God waited...  He chose to let the followers of His Son live in the empty, worrisome space called uncertainty before He moved that stone. In God's wisdom, there needed to be a Saturday, when the minutes may have felt like hours, before the events of that glorious Sunday unfolded!

There's something holy about waiting when God is the One who's in charge. And there's something good about feeling the tension of an uncertain outcome that provides us with the thrilling opportunity to trust God in the dark rather than only when it's obvious how God plans to see us through. I think I need to develop a greater appreciation of the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday.

© 2011 by Ken Peters

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The appeal of heroes

Rotten Tomatoes has a list of the most anticipated movies for 2011. What a list. What is it that attracts us to all these movies with such highly unrealistic, larger-than-life characters who save the world from all those wantonly evil villains out there?

I know I might see a few of those movies, and yet I feel a little guilty about it. I think that the reason I'm interested in some of them is because of the thrill ride they can be. And when done well, they can also provide such a sense of satisfaction in how they show an underdog-turned-superhero pulverizing an horrifically evil and egotistical bad guy (even if -- or maybe especially if -- the hero is a little bit flawed himself).

But I think the reason I feel a bit guilty about liking such films is because I wonder how much there's some kind of replacement-theology going on out there? What I mean is, I wonder if -- in the absence of people's convictions regarding a God who wants to save them amidst the obvious troubles of this world -- people feel the need to invent their own saviours to quell the need we feel for them. And then I go to be entertained by them. Is it wrong for me to find some sense of satisfaction in such flawed saviours?

Possibly, but what I'm more inclined to think is that the true Gospel story of a humble Saviour rescuing hell-bound sinners is such a compelling one, that story writers who don't even know the Gospel story aren't able to avoid re-writing it again and again and again. It's ingrained in us. People love the story of a saviour when all hope is lost, and God has provided such a Saviour! And there's nothing wrong with revelling in such a theme on a big screen. I simply hope that more and more people will recognize who the real Saviour is -- this Jesus who has offered Himself up for us -- and that more and more people in this volatile world will begin to find Him even more compelling than the Hollywood heroes ever could be.

But will they recognize a hero who humbly rides into town on a donkey, only to be crucified among criminals?

© 2011 by Ken Peters