Tag Archives: peace

Guest Writer: Shane Tucker ‘Aesthetic Spirituality’

I invited Shane to post here, chiefly because I feel a kinship to Shane. The artist and the spiritual formation learner I am jives so nicely with Shane’s outlook, and what he does as his life’s work. Writers, artist, thinkers, creatives, musicians, and so forth bring vital perspective to Christian Spirituality, and walking with God. Shane tends to this group, which is not an easy task.

Shane Tucker

 

Who is SHANE TUCKER?
Shane lived in Ireland for eleven years with his wife, two daughters and son. Now, he serves as Creative Director for ‘Dreamers of the Day‘ [www.dreamtoday.org] – a network utilizing the arts, spiritual disciplines, evocative messengers, and symposiums to engage people in their journey with Christ. He is passionate about seeing people live into their purpose in life, and he finds applications for that as a ‘soul friend’ (spiritual director) via Soul Friend (www.ArtistSoulFriend.com). He can be reached via either website or at shane dot tucker at gmail dot com.

Please enjoy Shane’s post, and feel free to offer your insights, comments, or questions.

Aesthetic Spirituality
by Shane Tucker

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
-ThomasMerton

We have an innate quality to notice beauty at every turn. To know that something is ugly or unattractive we must, of course, know that true beauty exists . . and in some way, to have experienced it. We resonate most strongly with that which seems to offer wholeness or a sense of completeness to our lives. That resonance may also be experienced as a deep hunger. Seldom do we know ourselves well enough to be able to express those yearnings in a coherent fashion. Itʼs in those times we need a bridge – something enabling us to connect, to integrate disparate elements into a whole. . . into a sense of being whole.

Art – any method or medium of creativity – can often serve as this necessary bridge, this connection, between what we know and what we long or yearn to know. Art gives us the tools, the words, the motion to live into what we sense is already there, but as of yet remains unseen. In this sense, art itself is a means by which we find ourselves by moving beyond ourselves. Through art (the highest sort) we are transported into places and spaces where we can lose ourselves. Itʼs a gift to be fully present to, and fully absorbed into, a situation or individual where weʼve forgotten to be concerned with our own desires or even aware of our image before others. Iʼve had a few experiences like this directly and by extension.

One of those experiences occurred three summers ago while I was attending a festival of creativity in middle England. I sought out a band I wanted to become acquainted with and unexpectedly, during their set I was in continual awe. Through their skillful use of music and visual elements, I was caught up in the moment and I forgot myself. Classic. Iʼve had similar experiences standing on green, broad, bald hilltops around Ireland as I drank in the arresting landscape around me. Another example are Christmas mornings since my three children arrived on the scene. Experiencing the uninhibited enthusiasm and joy demonstrated by these little people as they open gifts and share their excitement with the family – these are moments of pure bliss.

In times such as these we are given the gift of losing ourselves . . more specifically, concern for ourselves. The end, however, is not the experience of forgetting oneself in beauty, wonder, and awe; or even that of knowing a deep resonance which affords us the equivalent of tonal tonic through lifeʼs journey. Itʼs knowing Him. I hear, see, touch, taste and feel the Creator in this God-saturated existence called life. Heʼs made Himself ever- present in the created order and ever-accessible. He has, in fact, painted Himself into the portrait, written Himself into the narrative and sung Himself into our lives – even into existence, in Jesus Christ. When we recognize His overtures of love, our moment is to respond whole-heartedly, in trust, recklessly abandoned. In His hands, we then become the artwork by which He invites others to lose and find themselves in Love.

“Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for me will find them.” – Jesus, Matthew 16:25

by Shane Tucker / Soul Friend (Spiritual Director) / www.ArtistSoulFriend.com

Thank you, Shane.

Harvest Dance and Veterans Day MASHUP

Harvest Dance and Veterans Day MASHUP

Happy Veterans Day. To those serving and who have served, I thank you. You have my loyalty, because we have had yours. What you have sacrificed means so much.

This was me and my date, in high school, at a dance (that was -obviously- held on Veterans Day). I was really patriotic (perhaps in a bad way) in the 1980s, and I’ve since been put on medication.

Ya like, it?

USA! USA! USA!

 

 

Prayer: Benediction

photo/link by Rolf Potts. (St. Petersburg, Russia Midnight sunset near Nevskii Prospect)

(I’ll be a professorial substitute on Thursday, and I’m really looking forward to it. Below is the prayer from Dr. Laurie Mellinger’s lesson plan for that night. It’s the Benediction Prayer.)

I post it today for your personal reflection. Sometimes we don’t make the time to collect ourselves this way. Here’s a our chance today. Maybe it’s also something you’d like to share with someone else.

Let us receive Your words

and treasure up Your commandments within us;

Make our ears attentive to wisdom

and incline our hearts to understanding;

yes, may we call out for insight

and raise our voices for understanding.

Let us seek it like silver

and search for it as for hidden treasures,

that we may understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

For You, Lord, give wisdom;

from Your mouth come knowledge and understanding.

(Share your comments and reflections)

Practicing the Presence of God -Brother Lawrence

Many people have been interested in reading the short book that inspired this website.

Practicing the Presence of God -Brother Lawrence

To read it here for free click here.

Advent Meditation-hope

The passage of Scripture I am sharing is featured this week in the NLT version of Tyndale’s new Bible called, Holy Bible: Mosaic. Weekly meditations, placed in the beginning of the publication before the Scriptures, take the reader through the seasons of the Christian calendar year, starting at Advent. This year Advent starts on November 29, and lasts four weeks.

A passage I will call you to reflect on today is written by church father, Paul. In this portion he offers the church in the city of Corinth words of hope concerning the Reality of their situation, despite the troubling circumstances, and internal strife. He clears through the smog of human weakness to reveal the power of God, and the strength and hope that resides in having confidence in the message, promises, and Spirit from God that have already transformed them.

If you are struggling this season, take hope  in the God who is everywhere always, who wants the best for you, who will not give up on you, or stop his transforming work in you. Have hope beyond your troubles, and place that hope outside yourself, in One who will be faithful, and carry you through to the end.

(thank you to biblegateway.com for Scripture version: link included)
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
View commentary related to this passage

Paul Gives Thanks to God

I Corinthians 1:4-9

“4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

(emphasis mine)

Friend, concentrate please on verses 7-9 especially, and take in the hope offered here. This hope isn’t just for the Christmas season, but for all year long, and all life long.

I invite you-right now-t0 re-read the passage slowly, roll it over in your mind and heart, and then pray to God about it, or some portion or  aspect that personally connects with you. Then, please share one or more of your reflections, thoughts, or feelings.

Thank you.

Blessings to you this season.

Cooking Turkey in the Hot Tub / family

Outdoor Cooking: Turkeys in a Hot Tub

If you can find NOHING to be thankful for, thank God that these silly birds won’t be coming to your place for a holiday meal. (Notice that the tub is being held over open flames by…um, kitchen stools… (?) yeh, ok…) Why do a suddenly sense an ambulance in the future for these people?

Quite a few of us will be with family for the holidays. This may be wonderful, or well, tough. You can choose your friends, (who can function for you as a “family of choice”) but you can’t choose your family. If you only see your relations a few times a year, (or less) keep some perspective to keep yourself grounded. Firstly, think of sanity as a goal, not a good time. 😉

Plant firmly in your mind that you probably can bear anything for a few days–even prison. Maybe even full blown torture. How bad can water boarding really be? For instance, I’d take it over having to watch Adam Lambert perform, like he did on the AMAs!

If good times happen during your visiting with relatives, count that as a blessing. But, don’t expect a lot from people you don’t often see. Sure, they will bother you, and get on your nerves. They might try to make a spa whirlpool from a tub, a roaring campfire, kitchen stools, and the gas from the beans they had the night before, but you can handle it. Why? Because you’re better than them? Because you’ve had a ton of spiked egg nog? No…well, I think, no.

What will truly help, is to see a bigger picture. Time is on your side. You don’t spend your regular life with them, or in these holiday situations. Hang in there-Be your best self, and know that the holidays are just a temporary gathering time. You don’t always have to be right, or have a dream holiday experience. And you don’t have to let them bother you. Turkey soup doesn’t last all year!

What’s your strangest holiday memory?

Restlessness

Everlasting God,

In whom we live and move and have our being:

You have made us for yourself,

So that our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

–Augustine of Hippo (Algeria/354-430)