The Horseshoe Crab’s Evolutionary Success

7362374450_65b219388c_zBy Kathleen L. Housley

This post was made possible through the support of a grant from The BioLogos Foundation’s Evolution and Christian Faith program. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BioLogos.

Horseshoe crabs are not on anyone’s list of favorite animals. Looking like slow-moving tanks, they hit the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean in late spring to spawn. The only thing about them that might be perceived as warm and fuzzy, garnering them a spot on the favorite animals list, is that they breed at twilight surrounded by soft sand and the sound of the surf. Thus they have done for 450 million years, evolving so slowly that a modern horseshoe crab is nearly the spitting image of a fossilized one. [Read more...]

God Has Got to Be Real

God became man, so that man might become God. —St. Athanasius

What you find-ah / What you feel now / What you know-a / To be real —Cheryl Lynn

God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk. —Meister Eckhart

  4263672054_5944202e15_zBy Caroline Langston

How do you talk about God to people who don’t believe that he even exists?

The strategies of argument, of theodicy, would seem to have worn thin at this cultural juncture. The old C.S. Lewis argument about Jesus having to be a liar, a lunatic, or who he said he was rings fairly hollow in a world where everyone seems to have gone mad.

I am not much given to arguing, anyhow. I am grown weary by the low metaphysical ceilings of my Christian brothers and sisters, both conservatives and liberals: the punishing and endless quests toward notions of purity (on the Right) and social justice (on the Left)—as though these mediated theologies were nothing more than elaborated means of sorting and exclusion.

Which is not to say that I do not believe that we are somehow excused from repenting of Structural Sins, or that I think the country is just fine the way it is. But too often, there is plenty of posturing and in-group signaling—even around such fun Christian buzz-phrases as the recently popular avowal that “We are all broken.”

And yet I find God unexpectedly breaks through, nonetheless. Here, offered for your consideration, are three (true) stories, encounters (for who else are the members of God’s body, but us, even when we don’t yet know it?): [Read more...]

The Dissonant Note

This post was made possible through the support of a grant from The BioLogos Foundation’s Evolution and Christian Faith program. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BioLogos.

debussyI have a heart arrhythmia that, though benign, is frustrating and feels like death despite its clinical insignificance. It has no cause and no effect; cardiologists call it capricious. It’s meaningless and unreasonable and irregular, and I hate it.

After a night of insomnia and errant heartbeats, I spend a comforting morning on the piano with Claude Debussy’s First Arabesque. Its rhythm is purposefully unpredictable, notes falling all over themselves.

I played the piano all the time when the arrhythmia was first monitored and diagnosed, drifting toward arrhythmic music I hated learning as a child. All those misplaced beats and skittering hands and attempts to hold multiple melodies in my head at the same time. It felt wrong, but my piano teacher knew: This one, she will never befriend the metronome.

The arabesque is a problem that never gets solved, an unanswered question. Playing it is like endlessly falling with nothing to right the body. It is all sky and no ground.

Arrhythmia is distressing in any form. Debussy’s use of arrhythmic structure—bitonality—got his music shunned by the artistic thought leaders of the day. In nineteenth-century Europe, tone was integral to composing music, tone being a steady sound in one key that predicts and guides the composition. Haydn and Bach were the greats, the ones to be emulated: repetition leading to rhythm, a diversionary tactic here to indicate that something is happening, a return to the source soon after. Set the metronome; do not deviate. [Read more...]

Learning to Pray

Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything. —Abba Moses

The way up and the way down are one and the same. —Heraclitus

 

Trinity IconIt is six o’clock in the morning. I am on an overnight business trip to New York, alone in my hotel room. Weak streams of dawn light leak around the edges of the blackout shades on the window of my room in the Club Quarters Midtown. For the moment, I have silenced the frenetic squawking of local traffic and crime updates on New York One, because I am about to pray, and I am trying to figure out which way is East.

Part of me feels completely ridiculous, but I have committed to this, and though I have brought nary an icon with me, I stand in the middle of the hotel room floor and pray in the direction that seems to be towards Jerusalem: I cross myself and touch my fingertips to the floor, then pray the Trisagion prayers—the most rock-bottom-basic prayer in the Eastern Orthodox prayer book, called such, as the Internet notes, for its “triple invocation of God as holy”:

Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee.
O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come, and abide in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us. (3 times)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3 times)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Even in prayer, the lay critic in me bubbles up: All those thrice-repeated phrases, how can they not be a subtle Trinitarian dig at the overwhelmingly singular focus of the Shema, the foundational Jewish prayer from Deuteronomy 6: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one…” But of course, I remember, we still believe that one too. [Read more...]

Divine Drudgery

vanTwo weeks after we moved to the Mennonite community in rural Illinois, a baby was born in a teepee in my backyard. My neighbor Angela was a doula and had agreed to let a friend give birth in her own home. I’m not sure even Angela had expected the full-sized teepee to be erected fifty feet from the double sliding glass doors that looked out onto the backyard we shared.

Really, though, we share more than a backyard. Along with five or so families, we live on 180 acres of woods and farmland and dwell in the seven or eight buildings constructed by community members in the seventies and eighties.

That night, the teepee, straight out of the movie Dances with Wolves, was full of smoke, fire, and rain from the fateful thunderstorm whose thrumming rose and fell in pitch with the mother’s vocal contractions.

I stood at the window early the next morning and heard the newborn’s very first cries. And despite the strangeness of it all, I cried too.

Witnessing an unusual birth, living on a farm, rubbing shoulders with hippies, growing and raising our own food: It all sounds so romantic and interesting when I describe it, doesn’t it? [Read more...]


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