Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


Not only do Dave Walker's cartoons about the church tickle my funny bone (and my ironic bone) with his pointed wit regarding the joys and perils of Anglican/Episcopalian parish life, I also find I "get what he's saying" in a different kind of way. Some of his cartoons make me laugh, and this one made me reflect.

He's absolutely right about what he refers to as "the plight of the creative freelancer." Dave's Twitter friend Hugh puts it quite nicely: The ability for some of us to create, whether that creativity is through writing, art, sculpture, pottery, gardening, etc. is balancing "the need for stimulation" against "the need for isolation." The problem is that our need for isolation often has "touching our own painful places" as a part of this process. I think about how some of the funniest people in comedy had severe tragedy in many places in their lives. My blog friend Elizabeth recently reminded me that some of the most truly beautiful things she has felt I have written for worship communities to gather together have come from the places in my own soul that break open and bleed too easily--places that if I don't express what's in the wound, it will simply stink and fester.

It's a reminder that art is transformational, but for the artist to transform, he or she truly needs that "special office" that Dave talks about.

Some of my "special offices" are physical; the most important spiritual "special office" for me is my own church's cycle of Bible reading and worship, the Daily Office. I normally do the Daily Office in the quiet of my own living room or yard, usually once a day, but sometimes twice a day. When I am away from home, I find Josh Thomas' Daily Office site and his blog very valuable. I also find the photographs and art he uses at both sites helpful for quiet reflection.

What I find the most important use of the Bible in all this is not to debate the stories, not to fuss about the history, but to simply hear the voices of the people in the stories as they are told. As I read aloud their stories, their mistakes, their sins, their transgressions--both the people of the Hebrew Bible and the people in the Early Church--they hook me. They grab my own joy, my own mistakes, my own sins, my own fears. In all of them we are told that time and time again God redeems us through grace. I hear my own anguish, my own grief, my own anger in the Psalms--raw and intense. In the stories of Jesus, I meet "someone I've never seen in this world; yet someone I've seen bits and pieces of in many people." All our humanity and all our divinity as children of God, rolled up in "one guy."

In short, I'm now addicted to the Daily Office after having been using it as my #1 discipline in my spiritual practice. If I miss it, I miss it as much as runners miss running or alcoholics miss vodka. I invite you to share my addiction and simply listen to the stories these people of the Bible tell you about your own stories!

3 comments:

Maria, I'm glad for the shout-out, but even more for what you shared about your experience of the Daily Office as a discipline and a joy. That's how I find it - including those times when it's more discipline than joy.

I post the Office because I need the responsibility of turning to God twice a day, and because I find the turning to, more than the work involved, brings me closer to God. S/he's wonderful to know, like a friend you can't help but seek out as often as possible. A cup of tea with God is better than a cup of tea without.

Plus at times there are peak experiences. Those are lovely, always a surprise.

But what's truly amazing is the quiet cup of tea with my Friend, when nothing earth-shaking happens, no big revelations, no grand designs or drama; just sitting on the porch together, taking in the creation, enjoying the nice weather while it lasts, the friendly company - the Lover who makes all this unfold.

S/he's always available, 24/7 worldwide, at home in the city, the mountains, the seashore, the forest, or just a porch somewhere in a no-account town where two cars passing per hour is about right.

I like my Friend. The tea is always sweeter when she's around.

josh

You've nailed it, Josh. Always there. Semper Fi. Better than my dogs, even.

What I love even more is we both know the same friend but that friend knows how to be with us both in our own ways. You need that quiet cup of tea. I need that friend who tousels my hair and nudges me and winks and says, "Aw, it's never gonna be that bad as long as we're together." The friend I share my good days with when it seems all my human friends are too busy.

They are the same Friend...and isn't that so magic?

Dear Kirkepiscatoid,

Thank you for the kind words, and I'm glad you enjoyed the cartoon.

Dave

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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