It’s a Miracle!

 

Wherever you are, right now, stop for a moment and look around.

Yo! There’s God!

That we so readily and naturally take for granted the physical world around us can sometimes make it difficult for us to remember that God isn’t just in heaven, or just in church, or even “just” in our hearts as the Holy Spirit. God is unceasingly endeavoring to in every imaginable way communicate to us the full and immediate reality of his presence. He does that inside of us—and he does that outside of us.

If at any given moment in your day you stop to look around, what do you see? Patterns. Lights. Forms. Textures. Carved space. Layers upon layers of natural and manmade phenomena. You see every kind of color. You see things that on an atomic level you know are zinging around like crazy — and yet there they sit, perfectly still.

And what do you hear? The rich, unending, infinitely layered hum of existence; you hear the very music of life.

What each and every one of us has, all of the time, everywhere around us, is wondrous beyond reckoning.

People resistant to the idea of believing in God often say how they would believe in God, if just once in their life they could see or experience an undeniably genuine miracle.

And every time I hear someone say that I think: But what in the world isn’t a miracle?

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Dennis

    Yes, that’s it, you’ve (we’ve) got it :-) Well said!

  • http://www.imagodeo.com Michael

    “And what do you hear? The music of life; the rich, unending, infinitely layered hum of existence.”

    Spot on.

  • Allen

    Right you are, John — not just at church or temple, not just at Glacier Point in Yosemite, not just in a starry night sky. I especially like the zinging atoms part.

  • Richard W. Fitch

    “Mathematics is the Loom upon which God weaves the Fabric of the Universe.” – Clifford Pickover

    Simple things like the ‘petals’ of a pine cone or the seed pod of a sunflower or the swirling knobs of a pineapple each display a mathematical principle known as the Fibonacci series : [0,1], 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 …. Each element of the series is the sum of the two preceding elements. As the series progresses, it reaches an interesting convergence where n1/n2 = ~.6180339 and its reciprocal, n2/n1 = ~16180339 (also known as the Golden Ratio). When the values are used to create a set of rectangles with sides using consecutive members of the series, a spiral can be traced which is the logarithmicic curve and also the familiar cross-section of the Chambered Nautilus. Whatever one’s perception, the Universe displays marvels that are difficult for the mind to completely wrap itself around. Whether we call these interesting coincidences or divine miracles says a lot about how we value all of life in general.

    • Don Rappe

      More about the Logos.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      WHOA! I have to link to this on my FB page. It’s like a whole college class.

    • cat rennolds

      my husband counts the new leaves on our sago palm and keeps track every season:)

    • A’isha

      Brilliant! I’ve always said that fractal geometry is more than enough evidence for the existence of God.

      • Richard W. Fitch

        Speaking of Fractals and Mandelbrot – this geek has decided the real world evidence of these mathematical theorems is what has made his favorite vegetable be broccoli. ;-)

  • Susan in NY

    Amen, brother!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Dig it.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    I feel most connected with God when I’m outdoors or when I’m singing/listening to music. It doesn’t seem quite as grand to find Him in my little basket of paperclips, but I don’t suppose it hurts at all to recognize for a moment that God’s in there, too.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Right? Because, let’s face it: how amazing ARE paperclips?? They’re just … extraordinary. And all together in a box, they’re just … breathtakingly beautiful, really.

      • cat rennolds

        I have my lucky paperclip right here. Bert and Ernie would be so proud.

        Ok, so I’m not as flippant about this post as I sound. It’s just too big for words. I feel this all the time and sometimes I feel so lonely because nobody else seems to. I think God feels pretty lonely sometimes too. Like the line from Buffy to Dracula….”I’m right HERE……”

        Once, my Christian sister-in-law asked me how I could go to a Unitarian church, because “they don’t have God there.” I remember wondering how she thought they were going to keep Him out?

        I don’t claim the Christian label any more, lots of reasons, but God hasn’t changed. S/He doesn’t really care what you call Him, as long as you call Him.

        • Maryb

          Cat, we don’t know each other, but the fact that it’s very early in the morning for me and you referenced Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And I remember that line, too funny), well, you just scored major cool points! ;-)

  • cat rennolds

    John. I love you, man.

    I can’t remember who said it, but the image of a girl drinking a glass of milk as “God pouring God into God….”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you for this, Cat.

      • cat rennolds

        you’re welcome. I found the source. “Teddy” in Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger.

  • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    I’d say not to blame people for not seeing. Our culture grooms us from an early age to see God as being “out there” – or even worse, as an old man sitting up in the clouds. Watch one of the “God” episodes of “The Simpsons” – what do you see? The ghost of Col. Sanders tossing popcorn chicken at an old guy with a long beard in robes. Apparently, that’s what a lot of people think of “God” because whenever I get into an argument about it, I wind up with people berating me as stupid for “believing in a magic sky-man.” Once I hauled out and replied saying “If you believe that I believe in a magic sky-man, you’re more deluded than you think I am.” But, you see, it’s in the culture. I can’t even say that it wasn’t my first “image of God” when I was a child. No wonder the Bible’s so against idols.

    Yesterday, I had one of those weird little moments, though. I was at work cleaning dust and horse-spittle off the bars of the stable stalls – gruntwork to replace my regular gruntwork, which had been done that day by another person. And while doing this meaningless chore, I had the sudden thought: “I’m pretty okay with my life right now.” – This is actually a big deal for me. In that moment, I thought “My guy has a job that doesn’t make us rich, but is paying the bills right now, my job right now is fairly dumb, but I don’t mind it at all – and even though I’m doing seemingly meaningless work, I think there’s a meaning for me being right here, right now.” – It was just… odd. I wonder if that was God, too.

    If anyone thinks prayer works in any significant way or just wants to send good thoughts to someone, my boss’ husband had a riding accident and tore out his ribs. Her describing it to me had me going “Ow! Ow! Ow!” I don’t really know the guy too well, but…. yeah…ow.

    • Don Rappe

      Wow, I just broke a rib and judging from that I will certainly pray for your boss’s husband. Sounds like an appropriate use for strong drugs.

    • Don Rappe

      And I’m sure your work on the horse spittle adds in some way to the morale of the lady who must be distressed about her husband.

  • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    I think one of the ways I see God is in the flow of artistic inspiration. There are these little moments where I “get” what would look just right in something I’m painting or get just the right words for something I’m writing. Not to say that some of my works aren’t abysmal failures, but, for both the things I toss aside and the things I am pleased with, there is this “flow.”

    I think I once said to somebody “Of course I believe in God. I become a goddess whenever I write.” I’m a bit of a capricious goddess to my worlds and characters sometimes, but it still stands that I am on one world/layer, writing another world/layer. At the same time, I wonder if Literary Agent Theory is in effect (that my worlds actually exist somewhere in a multiverse and I’m just transcribing bits and pieces, and if I change anything in the story, it just means the original message was garbled). Then, of course, there’s the idea that I have that even though I’m “a goddess,” it is not complete, since my works are always a journey, something that unfolds for me and I do not know the end until the end – or sometimes until after several edits. I wonder if God “works something through me” with the “flow.”

    Sorry if I just weirded everyone out. I also do the “feeling close to God in nature” thing. I haven’t been to church in years, but I feel prayerful when I take a walk in the woods.

  • http://outofthegdwaye.wordpress.com/ George W.

    Without agreeing with the religious sentiment, let me say that it is, without a doubt, both humbling and profound to reflect on the “simple” fact that we are where we are.

    I see a confluence of “miracles” in my life every day….perception is what we make of it.

    Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Perfect. Thanks, George W.

  • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

    Very well said! Thanks John for this little gem/reminder. I have this sense most every morning during my morning walk.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks, Allen!

  • Don Whitt

    Cool, John.

    About once a day, the concreteness of life hits me. BAM!! I start thinking, “I’m here, I’m talking to this person, I’m feeling this chair. I am here right now.” There’s an other-worldly feel to it – like a box in a box in a box.As if I’m watching myself. Like Descartes’ ghost in the machine.

    I always thought it was a form of mental illness. :-)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Nailed it, Don W. Lovely.

  • Don Rappe

    I experience Dios in the same way. I am reminded of how Anna Frank experienced the Presence by observing part of a tree as it appeared in the small attic window of the secret annex. I have come to realize that the photons received from the background radiation match in quantum phase with the transmitting system aeons ago. I stand in awe of it. God has made the tiniest of his creatures to “know” the future ahead through all time, and we larger systems think we have “foresight”. Our experience of the present is to me a sharing with the Presence. Only this distinguishes it form any other point of spacetime.

    • Don Rappe

      Yo! There’s God! Indeed!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      NICE.

  • Sheri Ferber

    Thank you! I wanted to share something that is rather miraculous. Our amazing creator has seen fit to deliver heart images to me. Not hearts drawn or painted…but like fingerprints. They come in crazy amazing form and I have captured many in pictures. I would love to have you take a look sometime.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Post a url?

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.toy Charles Toy

    Here’s another amazing tidbit of God’s creation. We’re all “part of the universe.” Right? Right. So when we look in the mirror at ourselves it’s the universe looking at itself. … :D

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Charles Toy!

  • Dave Bowling

    Love this! Such a positive affirmation that really was needed for me personally at this moment in my life. THANKS John, you have such an ability to put into words such encouragement as well as challenges to our normal way of thinking.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks for this, Dave.

  • cat rennolds

    I have to chime in again. My mom is a dietician, and she tells a story about going into a reeeeeeellly old lady’s room one morning. The lady opened her eyes, blinked a couple of times, and then smiled this great big smile and said in a tone of absolute wonder, “I get another day!”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Greatest story ever.

  • melissa

    This was awesome. I have been feeling especially close to God. It has been a really tough couple of month, but, out of my nature, I haven’t been worrying, just trusting. it has been a ride and wonderful. I am still in the darkness, but I see God moving everywhere about me, from the people that cross my path to the random (I think not) messages that I get when I am paying attention to my moment. I often have had that sort of out of body feeling where I feel a bit numb, but tingly, and my senses seem to be on hyper drive. The numbness is what I imagine euphoria to be. It is very pleasant and energizing. So now I feel like the nut on this thread. it is interesting that we speak of this, though, as all of my life I have had these experiences but did not know how to define them. I too thought I was mentally ill or just simply on my way to crazy.

    Thank you for this, John. I love the mathematical response too. I worked at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and I know my kids (who are now 40) would love this. Permission to repost?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Of course. And let us know how whatever you’re going through works out for you, okay Melissa?

  • Linda

    Thank you for the reminder, John.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      You’re welcome, Linda. Thank you!

  • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

    Awesome, John.

    I heard Marcus Borg say once: God is like the ocean. We are like the fish. The fish is in the ocean and the ocean is in and all around the fish.

  • Mary G

    Fireflies, baby bunnies, kittens, puppies, flowers, those first oh-so-green willow leaves of spring, newborn babies, a mother nursing her infant…. all evidence of the Greatest Love.

    • Mary G

      And crackling, booming THUNDERSTORMS, when we need energy!

  • Siri C. Erickson

    John, Great post! I just wrote about this on my blog on Monday:) http://theperfectpeach.wordpress.com


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