Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dune-Climbing with Mother Teresa, Bruce Cockburn, & Greg Boyd

At Warren Dunes State Park

The rain moved through and by 3 PM it was nothing but sun. Linda and I set up our chairs and umbrellas and talked, read, and fell asleep.

I read more of Mother Teresa's journals. I may write some things about this after I finish. Themes include, for me: 1) MT's humility and transparency; 2) MT's extended period of the experiential absence of God's presence; 3) contrasting MT's encounter with suffering and incarnating herself in the suffering, and Hume's detailed account of human suffering as forming an inductive argument against God's existence.

I then listened to 15-20 Bruce Cockburn songs on my mp3 player. Again... my favorite lyricist... brilliant... creative... the Annie Dillard of songwriting. Some of the songs put tears in my eyes; e.g., "Festival of Friends," as I'm watching the lake and kids and parents playing in it. And "What About the Bond?" The greatest wedding song ever written? Plus Cockburn's metaphorical ability as lyrics + melody form the "tenor" and "vehicle" (on metaphor, tenor, and vehicle see here, e.g.). Some of Cockburn's tenor-vehicle moments are shocking.

Then I read more in Greg Boyd's Present Perfect. It is, I think, a great text on dwelling now in the presence of God. I need to post some of the new insights Greg has (I say that as one who has for years taught on the history of Christian spirituality).

I hiked up the big dune - a real cardio-workout. I found myself taking 25 steps, then stopping to rest; then 25 more steps, rest; and so on. This dune is big enough to hang glide off, which we have seen done. Climbing this dune is a bit of a symbol for me. In 1986, I drove from East Lansing to Northwestern U. to submit the final copy of my dissertation. My main concern at that time was whether the margins in my document met the requirements. After my dissertation was turned in, I drove back to East Lansing. I stopped at Warren Dunes park. It was late winter. I climbed the big dune alone. As I stood at the top it was, for me, a sign of accomplishment and joy.

Tomorrow - back to the dunes and Lake Michigan with Linda!

Here are some pictures I took today.

Me, climbing the big dune

Weathered trees near the top
of the big dune

Sand dune trail

Lake Michigan stone-skipping

Weathered trees - color version

Lake Michigan sunset