Monday, August 07, 2006

Beaches

Summer on the beach. It’s not really what I had always imagined that it might be. Although this is not your average beach I guess. This morning as I drove around the point I encountered a few of the unique features that go along with Northwest beaches.
The first thing that is apparent here is the marine layer. Don’t know what marine layer is? Neither did I until I moved to Seattle. In most of the rest of the world I think that it would be called fog. The ships are gliding in and out of the curtains floating just above the water line. There may be a difference between them, marine layer and fog, but I couldn’t tell you what it might be. It’s just basically the low lying clouds that obscure most of the beachfront this morning while the towers of the city across the bay rise up into another day of promised sunshine. We won’t see it on our level for awhile yet. An eagle is on the beach this morning, poking around for some seafood I guess. Now there’s something that you don’t see everyday. As often as I see them, I’m always amazed. They look out of place according to my upbringing where I was accustomed to seeing them behind bars in a zoo. I always thought it intriguing that our national symbol of freedom spent the majority of its time behind bars. It’s amazing how your experience dictates your view of the world. It’s also humbling to know that for me as well as the people who surround me, truth relies on experience. Truth about beaches for me, while living in upstate New York, is far different than reality for me in Seattle. I guess that’s what made those guys in the New Testament so sold out on the cause of advancing a faith in Jesus. They had the truth, they lived the experience. Truth and reality coexisted and an incredible bravery ensued. Truth and reality coexisting in the life of an individual is a galvanizing force.
It helps me realize, I think, that the two are crucial to faith development and also that most of us are too heavily relying on one to the detriment of the other. The two worlds in which I exist tend to use one or the other. Those who are of the modern mind, think in terms of absolute truth which can be reasonably and empirically proven. Those who are of the post modern thought process are totally into the reality of personal experience. The tension exists, I’m thinking, because each falls to their own preference. My modern mind told me that beaches were warm places that one would desire to swim in. In that world I believed that the clouds floating low over the water were fog and that eagles resided behind bars. My post modern experience shows me that beaches have marine layers, you could suffer from hypothermia in minutes even in July and that eagles roam and eat freely, often times better that I do. At least it’s true in Seattle. The encouraging part of my faith journey, even in the midst of the conflict, is that the truth of Jesus is the same here or there, then or now, and I can certainly experience Him no matter what beach I find myself on. Truth and reality are powerful forces.

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