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Jim Gordon
Westhill, Aberdeen.
I'm a Scottish Baptist minister, an enthusiastic theological educator, a writer and reader, an Aberdeen Football supporter, and seconder of Louis Armstrong's affirmation 'What a Wonderful World'!
Interests: I'm an incurably omnivorous reader. Historical theology, biblical exegesis. theology and the arts, and spirituality are areas of research; but novels, poetry, philosophy and intellectual biography have their fascination too. When opportunity arises I cook, this blog is a quite large tip of my writing iceberg, I design and work tapestry, play with elementary haiku and fibonacci, have begun to enjoy photography and have a small list of places I really need to visit before I die!
Recent Activity
Thanks Angela. They take a while, and mostly don't have a detailed plan when I start them. Some grow organically, though the most recent was very geometric, a colour representation of Revelation 21 and the Holy City. Just started something very different, pastoral with more muted colours - we'll see!
Good to hear from you again Dave, and thank you for your comment. I hope you're doing OK and keeping well. My own prayer and spirituality is often helped by that which is visual, tactile, tangible - times too when contemplative silence before a text, or intentional reflection on that which is mystery, and when adoration is preferred to interrogation, and wonder displaces analysis.
Thanks Tom, for your comment and your thoughts. I confess I don't read Merton's words as implying God 'can' be captured. And I suspect he would quickly correct such an interpretation. Throughout his writings he is careful to avoid language which seems to control, capture, comprehend or reduce God to human cognitive capacity. Hence his long insistence on contemplative prayer, deep personal encounter with God, and a humble acceptance that we kneel before mystery. I fully understand your caution about all such efforts or claims to "fully know God." We stand under Niagara holding a bucket - or even a thimble!
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2021 on Browsing for Words to Help.... at Living Wittily
Hello Robert - I don't read Psalm 1 as an avoidance of sinners, but a refusal to do as sinners do, or think as sinners think. The righteous adheres to the value of Torah in the Psalms, not the standards and values of those who despise God, scoff holiness, or make a habit of mocking what is good, true or just. Jesus' presence with sinners was both an expression of love for them as people and a transformative encounter aimed at changing precisely those patterns of behaviour. I don't see a contradiction, but rather a contrast of two ways of life, and the clear indication of which is the way of holiness, and the way of discipleship. To actively seek the company of sinners as Jesus certainly did, was an act of love aiming at repentance, that is a changing precisely of lifestyle, values and primary loyalties.
Hello Dave - good to hear from you again. Your points are all worth a ponder, but then the whole nexus of questions and experiences of prayer are worth a ponder! What I found intriguing in the Julian quote, and indeed in her overall approach to prayer, is her assumption that since God is love, first and last and foremost, God cherishes the words of those he loves, especially when spoken to God. That isnt a thought Ive come across in Evangelical thinking - the more Reformed would think such a thought sentimental and lacking seriousness about Gods otherness and sovereignty. The prayers stored up I read as God storing them, filing them away as important documents of the soul. I guess God can be trusted to file away only those that are worth keeping! Hope youre keeping well Dave - maybe this year we will be able to roam and mix again, even if at first with caveats..... Shalom, Jim
Hello Anthony - Thank you for your comment on the review of Lohmeyer. Edwards explains fully the reasons for Lohmeyer's execution, only clarified with the release of state documents following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Lohmeyer resisted the demands of the new communist power that University appointments and course content be controlled by the state. This was an attack on intellectual freedom and on the ability of universities to speak freely - one of the key components of the Nazi machine, and as it turned out, of the Communist regimes. Lohmeyer had just been appointed President of the University of Greifswald which was within the Russian zone in 1945/6., and subsequently in East Germany. Ultimately he was executed as an enemy of the State, one who resisted the goals of the Government and therefore was a threat to the 'will of the people'. The book is well worth reading Anthony - it is a story that resonates with the political times and tides today.