Two Men

21 February, 2012

Statues, Grand-Leez, Belgium, 2009.

Statues. Grand-Leez, Belgium. 2009.

I recently used another (color) photo of these old men in the post People of Stone. Why? Because I like these old chaps. They seem so determined, so resolute.

In honor of these two petrologically-inclined gentleman, I wrote this little story, The Fleming and the Walloon. please don’t think of this as any commentary on the political situation in Belgium between the Flemings and the Walloons. I am unable to speak to that as I am neither. However, I thought it would be an interesting foundation to build a story on the two natures man. It is quite a stretch I know, but I thought it would be an interesting effort. My preemptive and sincere apologies to the Flemish and Walloon everywhere.

(This story will be published here in the near future.)

© 2011 A Mission Proclaimed

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People of Stone

19 April, 2010

Sculpture. Grand-Leez, Belgium. 2009.

Sculptures. Grand-Leez, Belgium. 2009.

I have spent the last three months dealing with one computer problem after another, the most time-consuming being two complete operating system installs and a complete system build to replace a dead and un-resurrect-able machine.

This has been a grueling and frustrating process, but it has also caused me to reconsider technology reliance in general. I have come to the conclusion that for what I do, technology is crucial. I could do without, but my job description would change drastically, and I’m not making a judgment whether that would be good or bad. It just is a fact.

Couple that with the recent events in Europe where the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull (best of luck on the pronunciation) has put the continent’s airline industry in a tail-spin. The economic disruption of this event is being felt throughout Europe and is even sending waves of financial loss around the globe as the flower growers of Kenya were quick to understand as they were forced to throw their yields onto the compost pile for lack of any sustainable method of getting their products to the European market. How fragile are our system because of our reliance on technology.

So, how do I connect the above image to the thoughts of this post? Two connections; we are people of stone, of the earth, and we are creatures of stone habits. The former refers to our connection to God’s creation and our mandate to tend to it. The latter refers to what I see as humankind’s plodding ahead to a fate of our own design, descending a stony path, stony-eyed, whistling out-of-tune to our long-prophesied coda.

As people of stone, of the earth, we arguably live a more stable existence the closer we live to the earth we are to tend. For five millennia we lived such agrarian lives. Yet, in the past 150 years we left this simple existence with staggering velocity. Imagine the following scenario, a person from the time of King David is magically transported to the opening days of our present republic (roughly 2,700 years). I would premise that it would not take them long to become accustomed to their new setting, a familiar land where power is in water and beasts and oceans are still navigated by wind and stars. Conversely, think of your great-grandfather being transported to our present day (a mere 100 years or so). I don’t think their acclimation would be as easy. Knowledge is increasing exponentially as is our reliance upon it. It was estimated a couple of years ago that this year we will create nearly 1,000 Exabyte’s of digital information this year(1) (that is roughly equal to 18 million times the amount of information in all the books ever written.) YouTube states that they are receiving 24 hours of new video content every minute!(2)

All this is not worrisome. The fact that our entire way of life and subsistence is now entirely dependent on technology does not concern me. God is in control. It does worry me, however, that we are people of stone habits. The vacant stare of the mossy-browed men in the above photo very appropriately illustrates my view of human-kind peddling vacantly into oblivion, not due to its reliance on technology, but because of its ignorance of scripture (read rejection of God’s Word).

So, does hardness of heart cause hardness of head or vice versa? Regardless, only the softening of the heart by the Spirit of God and opening of eyes by the Word of God offers any hope for people, not human-kind in general, that fate is sealed, but of people with whom we have conversation. With whom have you had this conversation (and flicked a little moss from their brow)?

(1) Sharon Gaudin, InformationWeek, March 7, 2007.
(2) YouTube Fact Sheet.

© 2010 A Mission Proclaimed

A Mission Proclaimed is a federally recognized 501(c)(3). Your support is greatly appreciated.

A Stop Or A Way

28 December, 2009

Roadside chapel, Lamur, Belgium, 2009.

Roadside shrine. Grand-Leez, Belgium. 2009.

Near Grand-Leez, Belgium, where Rue Henri de Leez connects to Rue du Pont des Pages a small shrine sits beside the way where it has stoically received prayerful travelers for hundreds of years. Belgium is and has historically been a Catholic country. Seventy-five percent of the population align themselves to the Roman Catholic Church and small religious icons and shrines can be found in homes, courtyards, and throughout the countryside.

This small shrine was erected here beside this narrow country road centuries ago by persons unknown. The eyes of God have not missed one traveler who has entered in to petition God for need or blessing. This object of religion effectively illustrates a point of distinction between religion and a relationship.

Most modern Christians prefer to consider their faith a relationship rather than a religion. Obviously there are religious components to faith, but for Christians it is the personal relationship with Christ rather than observance to ritual that defines their position. Therefore, the need for objects of religion diminishes greatly.

This small shrine was a stop on the way, a step off the path, a momentary pause dedicated to God and worship. Which is a metaphor for religion in general. However, a relationship with Christ is the essence of our path, not a stop on the way. He is the Way.

The Christian faith is dynamic because we travel our paths with God. Yes, we take time to step from the path to dedicate time to quiet prayer and worship, as we should. Yet, when we depart again on our journey we don’t turn from God with his blessings and continue on our journey alone, rather we take His hand as He leads us on the way. Therein is all the difference.

© 2009 A Mission Proclaimed

A Mission Proclaimed is a federally recognized 501(c)(3). Your support is greatly appreciated.