more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.

 

The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.


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« My Three Sons | Main | Apostle's view: How Paul is set free: Excerpt two from "Watershed" »
Wednesday
Mar122008

Miles to go...before I sleep


“Miles to go— before I sleep…”
—a reflective story from the one who reflects the unseen God

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where--
“He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” by the Hollies circa 88’

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The title of this book is a play on words. First of all, “Miles to Go” has to do with the discovery of Jack Miles, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of GOD: A biography. I stumbled on him through a musician friend named Drew Nelson. This book has been surprisingly instrumental in setting me free to dream at just the right time in my life. I was about to cash in my chips when it came round.

Secondly, “Miles to Go”—before I sleep” is a familiar poem from the pen of Robert Frost It is recited by almost every school kid in America or at least it once was. It has a simple cadence and haunting lilt. I appreciate the poem now because I have begun to get it. I know that I am like Frost, that I need a place to reflect, to stop, and following that, rest. I have a bit to go before I sleep—and the sleep I refer to is the sleep of death.

What’s funny is that I remembered that poem here, out of seemingly nowhere, today. It is, like so many thoughts, resident deep in the hard drive of my mind, recalled from a time in my journey when I first had to recite it to the class of Whitehall Junior High. That was 40 years ago and although no one really cares about the many intrusive thoughts of my or anyone else’s mind for that matter, it meant something to me. I don’t know why these things come to mind. But I like to pay attention.

For at last, I am alone, in the woods.

In this snowy silence there is no one to talk to; all the people I know are busy driving the horse out of the woods as fast as they can. They are not reflecting because they cannot pause. They can’t really afford it, or let it happen to them. It’s too risky, too costly, and too hard. I wouldn’t do it either but the pause button was pushed by someone, somewhere. Probably I incited it.

I have discussions with myself when I am lonely. I believe I come by that honestly. You see, God was alone at one time, alone with His thoughts, and I am created in His image. That means I am like Him. And in some ways He is like me.

When God was too alone with his thoughts he decided to do something to step out on the water, and so He created…to see who He really was. He imagined a beautiful reflection, like Narcissus in the reflective pond. He was eager to see. When he gazed on the image reflected back to him by the created jewel, he didn’t like what He saw. It was shocking to Him. So He pulled away from the pond and pondered. He decided to “re-make” himself, a courageous move that saved God, delivered all of us from evil, and made it so that we along with Him can lie down in green pastures knowing more of the cost of the field we rest in.

When we tasted of the tree of “good and evil” we discovered some things. And so did God.

Movies are modern narratives created to move us along. “Cold Mountain” moved me.

1n_cold0.jpg

The main characters, Inman and Ada, are torn apart from Cold Mountain Carolina by the dream they bought into. It became a nightmare called the bloody Civil War. Inman and Ada want out and long for the moment they can reunite. They finally do and spend a “Song of Solomon” night together. The next day Inman is killed. This is not the end.

The final scene is one of great peace; simple serenity that could not be understood had the violence not invaded. The family sits at a table on a warm, sunny Carolina day beneath a shady tree, they are having a meal. Music is made, pleasantries enjoyed. One person, of course, is sadly absent, and always somehow around. Inman is here, but gone. Another person is mercifully present. The outcome of the “song” sits happily, innocently, with her the family. She has no idea what the cost was for this moment.

(for a video of the story go to the left; click Songs and look for the link entitled "Broken"; it is a powerful song. Indeed isn't God in love and Love expressed? How can He rest when it is all "Broken")

Perhaps one day in the sunny warmth of the kingdom of God we will be like her, happy and oblivious. But the atmosphere will be like the others at the table. Somehow we will know that this table was very costly. When Ada departs from the table and recalls, I can feel it too. So valuable, this table, such cost. And we will never, never trifle with it again.

After my resignation as pastor of the church I played midwife for and nurtured for 19 years there has been a lot of alone time. It is March in Michigan a grey time in a cold place where alone feels abandoned. I long for spring, for Cold Mountain, for Camelot, for Kingdom.

It’s odd. Once you are in demand—the next day—not at all. In fact, it makes you feel you are what you do—and you are not so important—for whom you are.

My friend Rick Beerhorst told me a story yesterday. Johnny Cash was aging and began shopping himself around because he “wasn’t done” and music was his life. He found no takers amongst the known “movers and shakers” in the music scene. Old news, old man, disposed of politely or sometimes not. One man, not such a well known quantity at the time, did take notice. His name is Rick Rubin (more on him from wiki below). He hounded John until Cash finally called back. They finally sat down and the "American series" albums were the outcome.

The sessions are legend to young artists and musicians in the know. He is found as an underground hero. His voice and legacy, as the original “man in black” reborn, has made him a cult classic. It was his last ride. A cult sometimes births a movement. Watch the legacy grows. Mark my word. It will.

So I am at 52 a bit washed up, old news, disposed of. I am, and this is a bit unnerving and humbling, shopping myself. I have decided that if there are no takers I will stop by this “woods on a snowy evening” and dream of the Camelot to come, a place where you can lay a child in the crib with an asp, where a lion will lie down with a lamb. God is that lion you know, and He is that Lamb. And they are good friends.

It is so good for Him, and me, and us, to lay down together, for it is not good to be alone…with yourself. You might notice that I mention several people in this prologue and this hence the teaser is “He ain’t heavy, He’s my brother”…you see, there are other pilgrims on this road with many a winding turn. And they inadvertently lead because they are eager to walk along. And they do help me see myself, too.

Why? Because they are in the image of the God who walked in the cool of the garden so long ago. They are like Him who is like them. We are made in and for relationship. It is not good to be alone.

We aren’t.

Finally, “Miles to go before I sleep” has to do with the picture above and on the cover of this book. Jesus seems to be looking up from a deep hole; He has a monumental climb ahead. But for Him this is the conclusion of a long, long journey that began a long time ago. When He looks up form the lower story I think he sees the ascension as His destiny. The huge hands at the top of the cross are God’s and will lift Him up and the lights will guide Him home. Indeed he has miles to go before he sleeps on this day—a day of the Lord like unto a thousand years—but the journey is nearly done—and He is settled on the ending. Which is, of course, in the end, unveiled as the beginning. This is the resolution, revelation, and redemption of God. Here at the cross the climax of one story and the beginning of another—better story.

He is the singer, God is the song, and we must at last get lost in this masterpiece.

This is His story and this is our story.



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