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Posts Tagged ‘field notes’

“I cannot read Acts without getting the impression that conflict, persecution, and catastrophe are opportunities. This is counter intuitive. We would like to believe that peace, comfort, and worry free moments are the times when we can best organize effectively and therefore prosper. Acts may suggest that times of comfort and prosperity bring with them a lack of urgency and intensity and priority. Without apology, Acts continues to present challenging situations. Without exception, Acts reports that the good news continued to spread. Acts leaves us with the impression that our writings, stories, and growth are strengthened during less fortunate situations.”

from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now, p. 103

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“Trinity confronts us with something we cannot manage. We do not meet this God on our terms. We cannot reduce the mystery of God to something we can use or understand. Instead, we discover a lively, revealing, demanding presence. In the Trinity we are faced with the reality that we are not in control.”

from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now

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“Trinity gives us a fuller picture of God. Yet – whether Speaking Creator God hovering over the waters, Son of God rising from the dead, or Holy Spirit descending from heaven with a rushing mighty wind – there is still an element of mystery. Trinity reminds us we will never know all there is to know about God.”

From Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now, p. 110

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“I can’t help but notice a distinct pattern in this relationship between Creator and creation. The Creator keeps showing up, again and again, unwilling to let creation go. So we celebrate His arrival as a Middle Eastern baby. We celebrate His return from the dead. We celebrate His arrival as Spirit. This Creator seems willing to show up anywhere at any time. This is a persistent God. It is clear He is unwilling to give up on us.”

From Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now, p. 99

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Kind words about Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now from Dr. Layne Lebo, senior pastor at Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Church (locally known as McBic). Thanks Layne!

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m biased because I know Randy well, because he allowed me to read this book chapter by chapter as it was being written and because I love his many references to Central PA. Having said all of that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beginning with Advent, Randy walks through the Christian year interweaving observations about nature, people, and his surroundings with Scripture and theology. The sub-title, Field Notes from Here and Now, points to the blend of current observations that point toward eternity. At one point Randy critiques systematic theology and suggests that a systemic theology would be more beneficial in many ways, that is what he does in the book, looking at nature, human experience and observation, the Christian year and Scripture as a systemic whole. Reading Participant reminded me of the importance of staying attuned to my surroundings and to God’s presence in my surroundings.

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“I try to spend as much time as possible in the winter forest. It is a great place to sharpen the senses. Contrast, movement, and sound call attention to themselves in a hurry. Things are more visible in the bare deciduous woods, including evidence that something has already been there before you arrived. Then there is the winter forest at night. The senses sharpen more clearly. Temperature heightens the sense of cold on your nose and cheeks. Looking at the sky feels like a spectator sport. Noise and movement gain your attention quickly. It is not difficult to find yourself on the alert. If you are nothing else in the winter woods at night, you are aware. Sometimes you hear something, see something, discover something that makes this all feel like an adventure. But the fact is, in the forest it is always likely that you were discovered first. Some things are sure to grab attention, like the cold of a winter night. Other things are subtle and require sharpened senses. I hope to be attentive.”

– from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now, p. 29

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Good Morning

“I step into a day where stars are moving across the sky. Where the moon is waxing. Where leaves are not visible in their winter state. Where the earth is crunchy underfoot this time of year. Where living creatures sleep through the winter. And will soon wake to sing. Where seasons change and days grow longer. I step into a day where God has already been extremely active. I can’t wait.”

– from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now, p.23

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