Bloggerhood Etc. 6/10/13

Jesus as Good Shepherd holding a baby velociraptor.

Jesus loves the little raptors

This last week has felt like a month. Given what we’ve gone through, I’ve barely been on the Internet. But I’ve done some catching up today, and here are my seven favorite posts from the last week (in no particular order, as always).

Most Likely to Give Fundamentalists an Aneurism (This Week). “God as a woman, seeking out the marginalized” by Sarah Moon at Sarah Over the Moon (on Patheos.com’s Spirituality Channel).

In a world where the Christian images of God overwhelmingly (exclusively, in some circles) portray God as a man, I wonder, can the God who seeks out the marginalized be imagined as a woman too?

Jesus seemed to think so. 

I want to slap myself sometimes when I think of how many times I’ve read Luke 15, pictured God as a shepherd, and completely missed what was RIGHT THERE. 

God, imaged as a shepherd, leaves the 99 sheep to seek out the 1.

Then, right there, in plain sight . . .

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” (Luke 15:8, NIV)

This isn’t the only instance where God describes himself using feminine imagery. The one that sticks in my mind—probably because it’s the most eloquent example is in Matthew’s Gospel.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings”—Matthew 23:37 (NAB)

But that’s because God, despite his omnipotence, stands with the poor, the weak, and the marginalized. The caring shepherd, the frantically searching woman, the mother hen . . .

And the Word Incarnate nailed to the Cross. All powerful, yet on always on the side of the powerless.

Best Online Campaign. “Female Minifigure Set” at LEGO® CUUSOO. Astronomer, paleontologist, engineer, falconer, and more . . . all female. An inspiration to young girls like my daughter. And it was a success!

Best Interactive Maps. “22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other” by Walter Hickey at Business Insider. Clicking through all these, I’m amazed at how strong an influence my early years in NoVa had on me.

Most Encouraging. “On trust and bitten nails” by Ashley Larkin on Draw Near. If she can stop maybe I can too.

Best Writing. “Crawling to the Cross” by Natalie Trust. I think I’ll be featuring Natalie each week. She never fails to blow me away.

Best Welcome. “A note for those in the valley” by Nish Weiseth. I’ll pass the wipes.

Best Special Needs Post. “On the Question of Humanity” by Robert Rummel-Hudson on Support for Special Needs.  A must-read.

And to end on a lighter note, a bonus from my favorite vlog.

Watch to the end to hear Thor sing!

Video

Powers of Ten

Here’s a video I remember seeing at the National Air and Space Museum when I was a kid:

The ’70s aesthetic of the video dates it a bit, as does the forty-year-old astronomy. But the way it conveys the incomprehensible vastness of the universe is still awe-inspiring.

But one line always stuck with me: “This lonely scene . . . is what most of space looks like. This emptiness is normal—the richness of our own neighborhood is the exception.” Others, when hearing this line, understand it as reinforcing the scientific materialist view of our insignificance. I don’t. I understand it as a comment on how “exceptional” we are. Being the exception to the rule is what makes our world significant, and within our world it’s what makes us significant. No other animal, no matter how intelligent, can conceive of the world beyond the immediate horizon. We can see, theorize, and speculate on the nature of the universe itself.

There may only be a few earth-like planets in our galaxy or there may be many. That doesn’t matter, when almost all the universe is emptiness the very rare exceptions are special, and we are the exception among exceptions. We aren’t at the center of the universe—there is no center—and we wouldn’t want to be at the center of the galaxy or the solar system—both are uninhabitable. There is no privileged place—besides a habitable zone around a main sequence star that allows us to exist at all—our privilege is having the unique (and as far as we know, only) intelligence capable of figuring at least some of these things out.

To comprehend at even an imperfect level the vastness and complexity of creation, makes us closer to the creator (if there is one) than any other creature we know of. One might say it makes us uniquely in the Image of God.

That, to me, is even more awe-inspiring.