The Earth is My Teacher

Greetings, friends…

I’d like to begin this post with a passage out of the Old Testament:

Job (speaking for God) to his friend, Zophar [see Job 12:8]: “Speak to the land, and it will teach you.”

I’m often saddened by how those in the church–primarily in evangelicalism–seem to deny (or, at least, downplay) our deep connection to our natural world. It would seem we’re still trying to feed upon the long-ago spoiled leftovers of the dualistic (and incorrect) Manichean philosophy that treated the spiritual (or immaterial) as the only aspect of life that really matters. The resulting (and incorrect) corollary to this philosophy was as follows: Materiality (the physical part of life) is not just meaningless but inherently evil.

These are sad conclusions. And not at all, I believe, what God has in Heart and Mind for us. My prayer is that all believers–all Jesus-imagers, -lovers, -imitators, and -followers–will rediscover the sacredness of materiality. After all, didn’t God, on multiple occasions, look down on physical creation and declare it “good (meaning, ordinate [in accordance with His order and desires] as well as pleasant and agreeable to the senses)” [see Ge 1:10, 12, 21, 25, and 31]?

Connect with nature, my friends, for it offers a rich bounty of goodness, truth, and beauty. Suggested below, are three (among many) qualities nature will teach you (if you’ll let it):

  1. The quality (or genius) of Resiliency: The next time it storms, step out onto your porch–just as the storm is coming to an end–and listen to the birds as they begin to sing again. Wonder to yourself, “In their lives, how often have they done that?”
  2. The quality (or genius) of Thankfulness: The next time you step outside, connect with your senses and identify at least one thing you can see, one thing you can hear, one thing you can smell, one thing you can taste, one thing you can touch, and one thing you can feel/sense. Thank God (out loud) for your ability to connect physically (that is, with your senses) with the natural, living world He gave to us… and gave us to.
  3. The quality (or genius) of Creativity: Think of your favorite painter (mine is Monet), and ask, What elements of nature inspired his (or her) most beloved masterpieces? Then ask yourself, How can I be inspired similarly?

Peace to you, friends…

Daver

Today’s MRL Maxim: Everyone and everything is my teacher.

Today’s MRL Call-to-action: Go to the woods, take an outdoor chair with you, and sit for at least twenty minutes quietly (some call this practice “Shinrun-Yoku [Japanese for forest bathing]”). While doing this, immerse yourself in the sounds of nature by closing your eyes and listening, as far as your ears will take you, to everything around you. Great things can happen when you give yourself permission to slow down and let life catch back up to you.