Are We Awake Yet?

I and the Not I  A Study in the Development of Conscious   – M. Esther Harding

Biologists, who in attempting to discover the nature of consciousness in animals, found themselves obliged to recognize that each creature sees only what concerns himself; everything else he seems to be blind.

frog

 This reminds me of the saying, “A Frog can only see what he can eat.”

Human beings, having an animal and spiritual nature, given circumstance can descend to the level of a frog, who can only see what he can eat or by the spark of the divine rise to the occasion, limiting themselves for the sake of others.  JWS

Please Remember

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Parting Aphorisms and Smartass Sayings

  1. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly
  2. Salvation is a gift requiring response
  3. The Christian life is like driving a car on ice. The automatic non-thinking reaction is not the thing to do.
  4. Dissecting a frog is instructive but aft wards it will not hop!
  5.  In matters of faith and nutrition, you are what you eat.
  6.  Ministry is like being pecked to death by a flock of small ducks
  7. Every expression of Christianity has an inner inarticulate essence and a cultural manifestation. – Rev Stephen Parsons
  8.  Don’t collect so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. – Wendell Berry
  9.  If you want a huge funeral die young and tragically. If you live to old and it rains there will be nobody there.

On the Hunt: Data or Hop?

frogForty-five years ago I dissected a frog.  I say that not by way of confession but to examine a paradox.  As is common in secondary science curriculum, during the unit on anatomy one  dissects something. At Lexington High School, Lexington, Alabama, we were not so exalted as to warrant fetal pigs so we tackled the more prosaic amphibian.

The lab reeked of thermaldohyde as we took up scalpels and performed exploratory surgery on the supine corpse.  The exercise was informative as to vascular systems and the ordering of bodily functions.  At the end of the smelly process by my station there was a small pile of frog parts.  I had learned a lot but the frog wouldn’t hop.

If you want to really know a frog you need to see it hop.

European Tree Frog

Dissecting a frog is analogous to studying scripture.  I have spent my adult life studying scripture: parsing, comparing, and dissecting Holy Writ in service of sermons, lectures and articles.  As illuminating as that has been there is a danger that what is gained in insight is at the expense of the living experience.  Experience is as we say, “hands-on” while reflection and theories of meaning are abstract.  When we begin to explain we are no longer experiencing, having moved from “hand to head.”

This brings me again to the knot I am worrying these days.  What is needed must move us beyond mere “frog data” to “frog hopping.”  How do we hop?  We take up those ancient practices that formed the first Christians in faith that the Holy Spirit that led them into truth will do the same for us.  JWS