Being Creaturely

On Tuesday, as I pulled into the church parking lot, I saw a bunch of creatures were IMG_20170509_110830725cuddled against our fence, which was the only spot of shade in the whole pasture out back. And so the first thing I did was walk over and put my hand through the fence.

As many of you know, I’m a fan of neuroscience and what it reveals about us as humans, in particular how the older, more survival oriented parts of our brain are far more powerful and influential on the ‘rational’ parts of the brain than once thought. Persuasion is not usually a matter of logical argument, but of relationships and emotions. We are creatures, creatures who seek companionship, play, food, shelter, and safety.

IMG_20170509_110907883As the horse licked and nibbled on my hand (what did I taste like? Was the horse just expressing affection?), I thought of these lines from the popular Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese:

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

What I appreciated about one of our church members who got a chance to speak with our Representative Jeff Denham is how she focused on the vulnerability of her and her friend’s body–and how she articulated how scary it was to face the risk of losing access to the means of caring for the soft animal of our bodies.   By speaking up to Representative Denham, she was expressing deep love, concern, and care– and she was asking Denham to care too.

May our haven of hope up here on Kiernan Ave be a place where we remind each other that we do not have to be good, or walk on our knees, or repent– we need to care for these soft animals of our bodies and help them express what they love.

This Sunday, Sharon Arpoika, Sabine Klein, and guest preacher Zackrie Vinczen, a seminarian from Starr King School for the Ministry, will lead worship:  The Time in Between–Beginnings and endings tend to be clear cut. Sure, they can be hard and even complex, but the expectations they provide are clear—you start and stop. But what about the time in between? How do you keep yourself motivated when the beginning is behind you and the end is not yet in sight? In this sermon we will explore the time in between and examine ways to cultivate motivation and excitement in these liminal spaces.


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