The Christian Cocaine? ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Christian Cocaine?

Spiritual Journey: Autumn is addictive

For the last few days, walking outside has been a kind of therapy. Crisp air and sylvan fireworks have conspired to make life seem better. My Theology 1 professor likes to refer to natural beauty as "the Christian cocaine," and I see where he's coming from. Creation is addictive. It's also transportive. If you look too closely at the beauty surrounding you, you may lose track of where you are, start thinking you're someplace better. Truth is, you might just regain your bearings long enough to remember where you really are.

On days like this, I go outdoors and see "theology" unpackaged before my eyes:

By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being (Romans 1:20, The Message).

A red-leafed tree can make the thought of True Reality flare to life. I enter Autumn, and wish for the "undiscovered country." Creation rewires my mind, if only for a moment, and I thank God for how his scenery sends us.

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John B. said...

Have a look at Jonathan Edwards' Images or Shadows of Divine Things sometime--in particular, his observations on rivers (#77) and trees (#78). He's not quite Emersonian in his tone as he describes what he sees, but he clearly sees beauty around him in the things of Nature, and not just utility. His responses are clearly emotional, almost viscerally so. Indeed, I suspect that if he didn't see beauty in them, he would not have seen them as pointing toward God or the truth of scripture.

R. Sherman said...

Once again, a spot-on post. What amazes me is that most people feel a spiritual awakening when pondering nature's beauty. Unfortunately, few are able to discern that the connection they have is not with the mountains or trees or "Mother Earth" but with God who prepared this world for us.

Camille said...

I said hello to the Pacific Ocean today. The wind was sharp and the sun was bright on the water.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the recommendation, John. I'm an Edwards fan, and I haven't encountered that piece before. A quick Google search associated Images or Shadows of Divine Things with the "American Wilderness Movement." I'm intrigued.

The idea of "Mother Earth" somehow conjuring up her own beauty has never seemed very cogent to me. I wonder why, for many people, it does?

Saying hello to oceans is a luxury I rarely get to indulge in...saying Hey to mountains is occasionally doable. And there are always plains...but somehow they don't seem as talkative.

R. Sherman said...

Read the comment on the plains. I actually sat in a lawn chair on the side of some back road near Binkleman, NE and stared at the horizon for an hour without seeing another human. You're right. The plains don't speak. But they suck the detritus of one's life into their vastness and allow one to hear His voice.


Ariel said...

The plains don't speak. But they suck the detritus of one's life into their vastness and allow one to hear His voice.

Great line! And true, I think.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife