by Ellen

I'm going through a phase where everything that I see, talk about with others, hear, and then think about all comes together. In the past week, I have been a part of some really beautiful conversations. To me, they are small points of revelation; of seeing God revealed in the world, in the hearts of others, and in my own heart.

The other night, I had a really great conversation with one of my greatest (and smartest) friends about, well, everything. Everything is usually the topic of our conversations, but I really became aware that we were having a conversation because we weren't fighting (at least, I hope I didn't seem combative), we weren't agreeing about everything, and we were listening to each other. We understood that it was fine to disagree about some deep issues, because we have been friends for a long time and we are past the point of judging each other and then deciding that based on this one point, we can't be friends anymore. (I'm blessed with a large amount of friends like this.) It was real, it got me thinking, and I appreciated that he listened to me, even though my thoughts are sometimes jumbled once they fall out of my mouth. This conversation made me appreciate the people in who think differently, who challenge me, who encourage me, and who force me to stop and think about what it is I really believe, which is constantly changing. To me, it was one of those revelatory moments. Not a big one, but still enough where I really saw God working.

Here is a list of things I'm always thinking about (that I will admit to) that contain shades of gray:

The inerrancy of the Bible
making out
the structure of the church/the validity of liturgy

This is what my good friend Henri Nouwen writes in his book Reaching Out: 3 Movements of the Spiritual Life:

"To take the holy scriptures and read them is the first thing we have to do to open ourselves to God's call. Reading the scriptures is not as easy at it seems...we tend to make anything and everything we read subject to analysis and discussion. But the word of God should lead us first of all to contemplation and meditation. Instead of taking the words apart, we should bring them together in our innermost being; instead of wondering if we agree or disagree, we should wonder which words are directly spoken to us and connect directly with our personal story. Instead of thinking about the words as potential subjects for an interesting dialogue,...we should be wiling to let them penetrate into the most hidden corners of our hearts, even to those places where no other word has yet found entrance."

John 5:19-24

However, I think that what Dom Crossan said a couple weeks ago also really resonated with me: "The center of our Christianity is not a book, it is a person."

Total gray area. The Word is important, it's where we know about Jesus. But Jesus is more than what is in the book.

I heard Sara Miles talk yesterday about some really important things. This is only like 10 minutes long, and she says "bitch" twice, so I think it's worth listening to. You can read her book, it's called Take This Bread. Sara is the Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa church in San Fran, and coined the term WTFWJD. She's hilarious.

This 40 days has been the most interesting of any other Lent so far. Not because of what I'm giving up, but how my mind and heart are being fed.

Everything is spiritual.

This is another photo from the inside of Calvary that I took on that same day. It's on a window that is different than all the others, and is so beautiful. I mean, it's so beautiful that it looks fake.