The guest speaker for the New Perspectives on Faith last Sunday was Brianne Donaldson, Ph.D., whose topic was “New Narratives for Animal Rights and Planetary Preservation: Jainism and Process Theology.” Brianne received a B.A. in Bible, religion, and philosophy from Goshen College in 2005 and an M.A. in theology and ethics from AMBS in 2007. She values her exposure to Anabaptist theology, but her pursuit of truth has taken her far afield in religion and philosophy. To learn more about her click here .
I am offering what seems to me to be no more than a child’s understanding of Brianne’s lecture. Real life, she explained, is not like a noun nor any object that exists with no regard for the well being of the living things that inhabit the earth. Rather, real life is more like a verb with an active flow of events and lives as harmlessly as possible.
I will try to illustrate: This past Sunday was a big event in which small events flowed from one to another. The first small event was the morning church service and Phil Waite’s sermon on the desire of King David to build a house for God. God said, no, you will not build a house for me, but I will build a house (give linage) for you.
The first event flowed to the second event: meeting with the Borderlands group. Pastor Phil shared with us the report of CMC’s Growth Task Force. He said among other things that many church members of all denominations wish for a church they remember from their childhood and asked, How should church leaders help CMCers grieve what is not now and can never be again, and allow them to embrace the new thing that God is doing?
After the second event My Joy and I went to our respective apartments for nourishment and rest. Then we plunged into the flow of the third dramatic event for the day. Gifted, trained and energetic Goshen College students performed Godspell under the tutelage of their professors. Their performance highlighted the teaching and life of Jesus in a compelling drama. It was impressive and amazing.
Exhausted as we were by the display of the tireless energy of the performers, My Joy and I went to her apartment for our Sunday evening repast of popcorn, raisens and peanuts. After that pleasant pause in the flow we went to the fourth event of our day, the New Perspective on Faith lecture which I am reporting.
I recited to Brianne the four events that flowed through the day to our speaking to each other. She smiled and asked “what next?” “Yes, what next?” I echoed. She said, “do your best to live harmlessly.”
That was not a new concept to me. My father had explained that he gardened organically because he was a Christian and did not want to harm God’s good earth.
Unreal is noun-like
exists with no care for life
Real life flows verb-like
As an afterthought my mind turned to the phrase “My life flows on in endless song”. I googled it and came on numerous renderings of the classic titled: “How can I keep but singing.” I give you a link to the first one I came on. Click here to hear.