A Field Note for Today

Another short field note from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now.

“Luke the gospel writer tells of a time when disciples were rebuking children. In contrast, Jesus hands the children the keys to the kingdom and says, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” With this in mind, why aren’t we following our children around more closely in an effort to learn the kingdom secrets?

Have you ever listened in on a conversation between children? Ever watched them engage in play? Ever been fascinated by their imagination? Ever wish you could look at the world with that same sense of awe and wonder? I have two children, Karissa and Keightley. More often than not, I have tried to convince myself I know more than they do on things that matter. Luke suggests I should not be so sure. Sometimes I am seeking information when I should be seeking wonder. Children have a knack of living on the edge of possibility. We should be serving as apprentices to our children in the hopes that we discover more wonder and that we enter the kingdom.”

You can see what others are saying about the book at http://www.amazon.com/Participant-Field-Notes-Here-Now/dp/1490868763/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428320778&sr=8-1&keywords=randy+saultz


I am an explorer here, an adventurer.  Like Baggins and Gamgee , I am part of this whether I volunteered or not.  I am trying to learn my surroundings in yet unknown territory.  I do not have to be master of where I am going.  Of that, I am not even capable.  I sometimes convince myself that I know something because I have ventured there before, but I have not ventured there on this day so there is no way to know for certain what lies ahead.

It seems that we all start out as explorers.  We spend our energy trying to lift our heads and to focus on color and sound.  We know that there is more going on than what we are up to and we aim to find out what it is.  Why do we stop?  What happens to us?  At what point do we give in and start wearing the goggles that cause us to see like the grownups?  And how can we dispose of such unnecessary accessories that prevent us from seeing things as they really are?

I am constantly gathering data.  Not for a future experiment, I am not out to prove anything.  I am simply trying to discover what is grand, attempting to experience wonder, working to navigate the mystery of this place.  At the end of the day, with more questions than answers, I stand and applaud, all the while stating the obvious – “wow.”

Job: A Rhapsody of Wonder

The book of Job reveals a man in pain, in anguish.  Anything that could go wrong – does.  Having already lost his children and possessions, Job is afflicted with a disease.  Initially this is described as “sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”  Later, he describes his situation as “my flesh is clothed with worms and a crust of dirt; my skin hardens and runs.” And later, “I am decaying like a rotten thing, like a garment that is moth-eaten.”  Even later, “my skin turns black on me, and my bones burn with fever.”  The book of Job leaves us with questions about Job’s situation.

The questions about Job’s situation may deal with suffering or fairness or sovereignty.  Questions may be about faith or innocence or guilt.  But readers know that Job is more about questions than answers.

If there is something that a reading of Job leaves us certain about, it is that there will always be things we are not certain about.  Creation can not be explained.  Creation is like a psalm or rhapsody of wonder.  In Job, even the maker of all things is astonished at the things He has Himself made.

This is evidenced as the Lord lists some of his activities in response to Job.  Creating the world, dealing with the sea, providing places for light and darkness.  Concerns about sky, weather, and animals.  The Lord has much to be concerned about.

The sea may symbolize chaos, yet it does not battle with the Lord.  Instead it is like a babe that exits the womb and is wrapped in swaddling clothes.  Space may be a show of mystery, yet the Lord leads Orion, Pleiades, and the Bear around.

The Lord finds meals for lions and ravens.  He knows the intricacies of animal breeding.  What does Job know about these things?  The Lord’s speech seems to portray the ostrich as a stupid animal, lacking in wisdom, and yet it laughs at people who would try to catch it.

Behemoth is the Hebrew plural for beast.  This may be to emphasize the size and power of this monster.  Roland Murphy suggests that it may be better to emphasize the role, rather than the description.  Behemoth is a symbol of chaos.  Can Job capture him?  Can he control this beast?

Leviathan wears impenetrable armor, his teeth inspire terror, flames shoot from his eyes, nostrils, and mouth.  Weapons aimed at him are useless.  Can Job catch him with a fish hook?  The speech ends suddenly, but the point is clear; Job (and anybody else) is helpless before the monsters of chaos.  It is only the Lord that can control them.

Roland Murphy proposes that we should approach Job with imagination more than intellect.  Job is in misery and pain.  He is full of questions and demands.  And then God responds.  He woos him.  He dazzles him.  Mark Buchanan says it like this, “you have been sitting on this dung pile for so long, with this pain in your heart and in your flesh for so long, with these boring windbags haranguing you for so long, that you’ve grown blind to beauty.  Everyone’s trying to fix you, Job, fix your problem.  Not me.  I’m going to wow you.”