Thursday, February 21, 2008

Never Lose Sight

On Thursday mornings I go over to our retirement convent, Bethany to help sisters with their email and internet questions, and then I usually eat lunch there. Today, however, I got a call from someone at Wisdom Ways, saying they'd had a cancellation from their luncheon spirituality series "Prophetic Women's Voices," and would I like a ticket? The speaker was Sara Thomsen, a musician from northern Wisconsin who has performed at other WW events. Her presentation was a combination of storytelling and song. She told us about playing music in chapel when she was a student at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. One day someone prayed this petition: "For the beauty of the Earth, for the oppressed of the world: may we not lose sight." That sums up what Christian prayer and life is really all about, doesn't it? I'm appropriating it for my blog header. Here's Sara's website:

Also, I was delighted to discover that at long last, Margaret R. Miles' book, Image as Insight, has been republished after nearly two decades by Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006. ISBN: 1597529028 (isbn13: 9781597529020) This is a BYD (before you die) book, IMHO. The book is primarily concerned with the ways an overreliance on language has led to a neglect of art in Christian churches, which Miles sees as integral to keeping the body central to the faith. In the book, she traces the history of the visual image in western Christianity, and looks at the ways images would have been thought about, experienced and appropriated for religious purposes by peoples of various eras and in various places. Her main focus is on the way the neglect of images in both the practice and the study of religion has impoverished both. In the preface, she states that her purpose in exploring this subject is "the opening of reality-defining discourse to others besides language users;" a project of uncovering the histories of people usually excluded by virtue of their failure to write about their experiences. Experience does not always require translation into verbal or written language in order to be understood, nor is it necessary that it be the primary tool for constructing reality. She says," This book seeks to illustrate the potential fruitfulness of trained attention to visual evidence," a fruitfulness that yields religious results, namely, "a numinosity, in which other human beings, the natural world and objects appear in their full beauty, transformed." Art and religion are integral to one another, because both together constitute a doorway into "an altered perception of the meaning and value of the sensible workd, a different way of seeing...Contemplation in the community of diverse particular beings who 'see' God in participation in the love of God, whose lives are in the process of being formed to that narrative vision, begins with visual perception." Read this book. Other books by Margaret Miles

And so we pray: May we not lose sight.

Grateful today for: a delightful time exploring the internet with Sister Rosa, for the invitation to attend the WW lunch and for Sara's presentation, for sunshine and warmer temperatures, for the gift of a monopod from Sister Joan, for another deep red amaryllis blooming now; for the wonderful smell of turkey cooking; for JN's hard work.

Holding in prayer today: Alianiss Morales; the Javens, Olson, and Stevens families who lost children in the school bus accident in Cottonwood, MN; for the Cottonwood community & Lyons County; for the men involved in the hit and run accident yesterday on University Avenue and for the family of the woman killed in that accident; for Jennifer whose baby is due any day; for Andrea expecting twins; for LK having surgery for breast cancer today; for GL awaiting diagnosis; for MO, MK and JH recovering from surgeries; for sisters traveling to Denver for a weekend of discernment; for KH struggling with some hard things.

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