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Beyond the Lone Islands

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Snow, Wind, Fire and Definitions

If the photo seems familiar, you may have seen it before in a post entitled Fire and Ice back in December 2009, about a Christmas Market and the making of an ice sculpture.

Today, I'm looking out of my windows at a snowstorm outside, and feeling lucky that this happens to be a day when I don't have to go out. (Traffic warnings have been given, around here defined as a No 1 warning, on a scale of 1-3, with 3 as the worst.)

My thoughts, however, are circling more around some recently read posts at other people's blogs.

Yesterday evening, I was reading a post at {Simply}Heather's Blog, entitled Furious or Cleansing Winds. I have to confess: I don't always find Heather's thoughts all that "simple". Sometimes they raise protests within me, while at the same time I partly agree, which can be very confusing. (That is not meant as criticism. The best writers are often the thought-provoking ones.) Sometimes, like yesterday, I find myself wondering whether 20 years or so ago, at another stage of my life, my reactions would have been the same, or different. I keep turning thoughts like that over, and don't always really reach a conclusion. I am the same, yet different; because my life has changed a lot since then. (What is it they say? Every cell in the human body is replaced and renewed within a period of seven years...)

Part of Heather's post had to do with the word "religious" used as a label. I get her meaning, and yet when I look back through my own life, I find that I no longer react quite the same way to that word as I used to. I quote my comment:

Words are tricky sometimes.

When I was younger, I think I had that same definition of 'religious'. And if someone asked me if I was religious, I would automatically say: No, but I am a Christian.

Today, I think I would say: 'Define religious!' before I accept or reject the epithet.

Because the primary definition of the word is simply: "having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity" (Free Online Dictionary) or "relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity" (Merriam-Webster).

I would still want to add that not just any deity will do for me. But the word in itself (religious), for some reason, has become a lot more neutral to me. I'm not sure why. Possibly just because I have had more time to think about defintions...

It might also have something to do with the fact that these days, most of the rules and restrictions that I find myself forced to follow are set by my own body.

Anyway: Then, this morning, I read a post by Don at Musings and Misc. Thoughts, entitled I've Been Burned. No attempt to sum it up would do it justice so I really recommend taking the time to read it in full. But it has to do with getting burned by life, but at the same time learning the difference between "consuming" vs "refining" fire. Which in turn led my thoughts back to Heather's title - "Furious or Cleansing Winds".

The Bible is full of thought-provoking contrasts like that. However much you try, you can never quite pin God down and define him. You just end up first with Himself teasingly defining Himself as "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14); and then, in the New Testament, his Son nailed to the cross, and put in a sealed and guarded tomb - and still breaking loose! You might say, not only did Jesus refuse to obey the rules, he also refused to be defined as dead...


Simply Heather said...

WELL! I'm just kidding :) - I like how you've ended made me smile.

Sounds like The Lord is teaching us all a little something here. I love learning from Him.

Geesh, too. I had a feeling you felt a bit of protest with my thoughts at times but that's okay too, even though I am NOT a debator by any sort. I think that what makes that wall is the difference in culture...I really do because The Lord is All in All, the same yesterday, today and forever...and so is His Spirit.

I have a tendency to very much disagree with some things but no desire to make known of it, only to The Lord. I'm not one to cause friction.

Really, you. You've been the only person that I've ever been challenged with and left with a smile. Usually I tend to stew, pray and not turn back. But, somehow, for His reasons...He strengthens me to stand up a little straighter with your protests :)

Thank you.

DawnTreader said...

Heather, when I said your thoughts sometimes raise "protests" within me, that choice of word might be a bit strong, I just couldn't find a better one. Questions, maybe! I certainly never thought of you as someone who likes to cause friction. I'd say it's probably a mix of differences in culture (as you say) and personal experiences ("burns" if you will).

rae said...

I thought of "He's not a TAME lion" as I finished reading this one. :)

DawnTreader said...

Oh, good thinking, Rae...! :)


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