Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finding God in the Ordinary

I'm currently about half finished with a book called An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor. I was alerted to this book by a fellow blogger a few months ago when the electronic version was on sale for $.99. After reading a brief synopsis, it seemed like I might have learned of Taylor's book at just the right time. Plus, you can't go wrong with spending a buck on a book!

An Altar in the World is essentially a book about finding God in the ordinary, plain, mundane things of life. Sometimes faith and spirituality are pedaled as things that only come through grandiose means or through activities that are inherently and explicitly spiritual, like reading scripture, prayer, or church attendance. Taylor argues that God is found in a myriad of places that we might not expect to find God if we have not made ourselves available to finding God anywhere. So far she has argued that God is revealed through activities like paying attention to the world, being aware of our physical bodies, walking, getting lost, and community. In the words of Taylor, "Anything can become a spiritual practice once you are willing to approach it that way—once you let it bring you to your knees and show you what is real, including who you really are, who other people are, and how near God can be when you have lost your way."

This is just the message I needed at this time as I begin a season of life as a stay-at-home dad. Having a child has already slowed life to a grinding halt, but when my wife returns to work in less than a month, my life is about to enter a world of monotony that I have never known before. My world will shrink even small than it currently is as my daily routine with revolve around the sleeping, feeding, and changing of my little one. I will need to find ways to be reminded of the inherent spirituality of raising a child. I will need to find ways to see God in the daily grind. I will need to encounter Christ on our daily walks, our trips to the store, and our more-frequent-than-desired diaper changes. I believe this can happen, but it will take more intentionality than I am used to. May God grant me the eyes to see and the ears to hear the (extra)ordinary ways that the world might become an altar over this next year of parenthood.

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