Sunday, December 14, 2008

Spiritually Left Handed... or... How to Use the Razor's Edge

My brother David is left handed.

That didn’t mean anything to me until I was a teen.

It was when I started really reading. I read The Razor's Edge.

Dad was a little demanding. We were frequently placed in the seat of a piece of heavy equipment.

While learning to be an operator David told me why the controls of most machines were awkward for him to control.

Watching him not only operate better than I, but with everything backward, well, it impressed me. Enlightening.

For him, the world seemed to not quite fit.

I felt that.

When I sat on a loader, I pulled that lever, and the bucket raised swiftly in the air, stopping almost where it should. I did better on a grader, but I never learned to run equipment the way my dad and brothers did.

My brother Michael makes any machine look like a living thing... dexterous and powerful... My use of the equipment is functional.

They liked things I didn't, spoke of things I had no interest in...

I like reading.

I like art.

I’m not into sports.

I’m not into getting drunk, womanizing.

I went to college.

I go to church.

I’m not sure why I am so different.

My father told his friends I was gay, and though I’m not, that statement has been ringing in the air ever since.

I am a little different. I don’t know why I feel the way I do.

When I’m at church... I feel different. I feel more unlike my father and brothers than at any other time.

Maybe I’m sentimental. Or just mental.

This past year was hard for me. I loved deeply, I forgave to the point of masochism, and I let my heart guide me more than ever.

I think I might be emotionally left handed.

I choke up for the National Anthem. I choke up when I think of my kids. I choke up when I think of Willy, or Brenda... or Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, galactic superclusters, rainbows, the Yosemite Valley, the Eagle Nebula, or worship.

My friend and pastor joked this morning he was canceling the service. He got a rise out of the Worship Team who has practiced for hours and hours. His follow up joke was he was only canceling the sermon.

“Yeah!!!” I shouted. “Let’s do worship TWICE!!!” I high fived the team leader.

Friend/pastor winced and laughed.

The fifteen or twenty minutes of worship on Sunday is my favorite time of the week (though, today’s sermon was exceptionally good... memorable).

I don’t mean I simply like live music.

Worship is serious.

I understand why folks are atheistic or agnostic. (Though I think they don’t always understand what those words really mean, they are giving them a different meaning.)

From a strictly scientific perspective God seems a little hard to imagine. The Occam’s Razor approach to interacting with the universe is logical and comforting.

I love science. I really love science.

I love science because it shows me the most beautiful things and I love beauty.

Not all scientists are atheists or agnostics or any of the other forms of disbelief in things eternal or spiritual. Many do a very simple test to discover if He is real.

I love worship because I love God. I love God because I have no choice.

Believing in God is not like believing in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy.

In measuring the universe, we lay out stars, and The Milky Way, and galaxies... with degrees and light years and parsecs and astronomical units.

God isn’t measured that way.

It is difficult for those who approach life slicing at every idea with that monk’s razor to accept the concept of divinity.

The problem is their approach.

It isn’t about finding proof He exists.

It is about having a relationship with Him.

Hey... the universe consists of at least 12 dimensions. If God exists, then He exists in ways we cannot see.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter we are incapable of perceiving most of who and what He is. He happens to be extremely interested in us.


Hard to believe.

But true.


It is so easy... so simple... simply hard to believe.

All we have to do is talk to Him!

That is it. He wants to talk to us!

It feels a little awkward at first. It is hard to hear Him over our own preconceptions, our own internal dialogue.

But... this is as true as any hair split by that fine blade of Brother Ockham’s.

God is real.

Perhaps I think this way because I have been wired to think this way. Perhaps I’m just one of those overly sentimental types and I see things that may not be there.


God is real.

I know it with every thread of who I am... I am woven of the fabric of DNA and the four forces of physics and a universal force not yet recognized by science... a force that might be described as “love” (it's probably as accurate as any other term).

I know God is real.

I have a relationship with Him.

That’s the point of this little excursion, this post, into the spiritually odd. I sometimes feel I am emotionally left handed. I wonder if I am spiritually left handed as well.

But, if someone does not believe in God, I have a simple way to prove it.

Put down the tools of science.

Open your heart.


He will listen.

And it won’t be long before you know it to be true.

That is the reason I love worship.

To me, if I don’t tremble at the thought of who we dedicate our worship to... then I’m not being clear about what I am doing.

The universe is extremely large. It is at least 26 billion light years across. It is made up objects celestial and objects terrestrial. Made up.

The universe is a made thing.

When I worship on Sunday morns, I am honored and blessed to feel the eye of God fall on me. And frankly, a little scared.

If someone is unsure about the existence of God, the revelation of the truth is easy. Just talk to Him. He wants to listen.

That is a test that will cut to the truth.


Some Photo Updates

Jeremiah... drumming "The Little Drummer Boy" during service this morning. (His dad gave him the haircut.)

First Snow of the Year this Morning!

Someone emailed, requesting an update on Prayer Room art. Here you go...
Starting with a picture of an ordinary man... a carpenter who worked on things for His neighbors... before He started His final mortal profession.

The shirt is the first four chapters of the book of John.

Four nails in the pocket. Hands and feet.

On the end of the mallet are the Greek letters Alpha and Omega.

No tracks in the snow... Our church looked beautiful this morning. Each of those jogs in the face of that building are echoes of changes and additions to the original church which burned down over three years ago.

In the Prayer Room is a cross. I wanted to copy some scriptures about the cross around it, as you can see...

A one hour prayer


Amrita said...

You are one of a kind Will. The only one in the whole universe.

Love the photos and the sketches

Anonymous said...

Thankfully the only one like you in the universe
: ) Love you lots!
Love your art and how you express the words you say.

Curious Servant said...

Willy died, while in my care, 16 years ago this morning.

Anonymous said...

Now he is in God's care and they will both be waiting with open arms when God is ready for you to join them.

It's a beautiful day outside!
I love your Prayer Room pictures.

Fred said...

Marvelous post with much to take in. I enjoyed the photos.

Ditto what Amrita said.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I’m sentimental. Or just mental.", I almost laughed out loud. Brother, maybe the best of us are a little of both, I know I am :-) I choose to believe you are a "real man" in the truest sense. When I see you, I see images of my Abba. By the way...a great picture of Jeremiah, very flattering. And the snow pictures, ahhh.

Curious Servant said...


I'm glad I made you smile!!!

That makes me smile!

Lucy Stern said...

Will, I think that you are a little like me....When the spirit touches me, I cry....It is as simple as that. My old Bishop used to tell me, he would look at me to see if his sermon was any If I was crying, he said he knew that the spirit was in the room.

I think you are a very special person....You are a deep thinker and an emotional man....My husband is like that and it is what attracted me to him. Be thankful that you know, with every fiber, that you know God. So many people can't say that....BTW: I loved the pictures.

Hope you and the boys have a great Christmas!

~Traci Emerson~ said...

I'm glad I found your blog, Mr. Greenleaf! I've heard rumors of it. I love to write too, I'm looking forward to inspiration from your writing. God bless.

Pia said...

What a touching addition to the prayer room, Will. I've been by a few times, but haven't been commenting- But I just want you to know I deeply admire you. You have a beautiful family-