In our deeply divided times, the Lord’s Prayer seems so rote and innocuous. But we have no idea how radical Jesus was to teach us to pray to “Abba”. Although undeniably anchored in the faith of Jesus of Nazareth toward his Father, the prayer is for everyone, in all times and places, despite differences of cultures or ideologies.
Sometimes the best way to look at complex issues is the sidelong gaze, out of the corner of your eye. Sometimes a poem is the only way to express an immense sorrow, a desire for healing or the agony of the daily news. Sometimes reading poetry gets us in touch with our deeper selves.
Climate change is so big and all-encompassing it appears that our little small responses won’t make any difference. But what if our imaginations became formed more deeply by the threads of love and creation care in scripture and in literature? We created this blog as a little alcove of those love letters. We are wanting to get in touch with our love of creation, and hope through that love the Spirit of God can change the world by changing us.
If perfect love casts out all fear, how can fear of the Lord be the beginning of knowledge, understanding and wisdom? Fear paralyzes where love liberates. But if we look more closely at the kinds of fear, natural, moral, religious and psychological, we see that rightly understood each of these has a wisdom about them. Ultimately the purpose of fear is to call us out of our self-centeredness and into the liberating love that no longer needs to fear.
As difficult as it is to learn to trust a mentor, it is even more arduous to break down our self suspicion. Do we have what it takes to break free of the entanglements of the Dark Wood? As we stare down the antagonist within, Dante reminds us that love guides our recovery, turning us towards a deep hope.
Facing ourselves honestly is a bitter pill to swallow; we hope it is also good medicine. At the end of our rope, a guide or mentor can be just what is needed move from self-pity to wholeness. If we can learn to trust. Dante is ready for a teacher, but the Teacher has not come. Paul Pattersons continues to channel Dante’s imagination through the next part of The Divine Comedy.
Have you ever been so swallowed up in something unfair happening to you that you couldn’t find your way out of it? The Italian poet Dante Alighieri found himself the victim of vicious politics in 13th century Florence. Eventually he would write an epic poem about it. Paul Patterson imagines what might have been going through Dante’s mind before he wrote The Divine Comedy.
Work can be stressful and make unrealistic demands on us. We feel we need to leave our deepest self behind in order to “pay the bills”. Sometimes it is helpful to get vocational coaching to help break through this impasse and begin to see our jobs as vocation. Read about how Arthur Paul Patterson and Linda Tiessen-Wiebe describe a step-by-step process that developed as Linda sought to bring herself to work.
Joseph Campbell writes that traveling can be understood as taking a journey into the unknown, where you encounter people and places that evoke thoughts and images. We can travel as a tourist or a pilgrim. A tourist seeks to maximize their trip experiences; a pilgrim searches for something of value to bring home. Anyone’s who’s ever travelled might recognize themselves in both places. Continue reading to see how Linda Tiessen-Wiebe was changed by a trip to San Francisco.
In recent years, “faith deconstruction” has been a popular term referring to the practice of re-examining long held beliefs. Courageously embracing our doubts and questions, rather than rejecting them, is necessary if we are to develop and grow in our faith. Anyone who has repaired an old building knows it’s necessary and worth the cost when the structure is worth saving. Read on to find what kept Paul Patterson hopeful and what the rewards were.
We all need a North Star to guide us amid life’s pitfalls. Those in the 1st century were no different, and Paul the Apostle wrote to the young church in Colossians who felt under siege by many forces, both inner and outer. Bev reflects on just what it means to be “hidden with Christ” — our truth North.
Epiphany is a journey into learning how to see. The Magi knew it, as did the Apostle Paul who had his own epiphany on the road to Damascus. We at Watershed have been studying the book of Colossians lately. In his homily for Epiphany Sunday, Eldon reflected on the meaning of this lesser known feast day, and how its themes manifest in Colossians.
Long-term relationships such as marriage are meant to bring out the best in us, but so often they do the opposite. Mary Shelley's marriage to Percy Shelley is a remarkable backdrop to the novel she created. It is an even more incredible template through which to view our relationships and our projects. We invite you to ponder this multi-layered tapestry, and maybe even find hard-won hope for your own life.
Compared to the male characters, the women in Mary Shelley’s novel are angels full of kindness, compassion and moral guidance. Yet modern interpreters of Frankenstein are frustrated by these porcelain caricatures of womanhood. Was she morally self-righteous, blind to her own flaws? But if we take a closer look, we can see her genius. The relational holding patterns between men and women in her novel might speak to flaws that can distort relationships even today.
In this next article we introduce you to Robert Walton. Most of us know Dr. Victor Frankenstein, creator of the infamous monster, but few may remember Robert Walton, the polar explorer who meets Victor in the Arctic. It is to Walton that Victor tells his tragic story, and their roles run parallel. They are both “Prometheans”; defiant of limits and ensnared by immortality projects.
We've added a new section to our website! A Frankenstein Study: Anatomy of a Story contains articles that explore the relevance and meaning of Mary Shelley's captivating horror classic. Frankenstein has more to do with everyday relationships than with the misuse of science or the enjoyment of a good gore fest. It is horror, but its ghoulishness involves the way we treat each other and how self-centered we can be when chasing our ambitions.
Despite its publication over 200 years ago, the manmade monster in the classic novel Frankenstein continues to stalk us in popular culture. It's an extraordinary, powerful and haunting saga. In our continuing series on Frankenstein, we invite you to take a deep dive and meet Mary Shelley’s monster - a cataclysmic horror tale of compulsion, murder and revenge.
Monsters seem “other”; not like us at all…or are they? What if they are a symbolic expression of a crisis we are going through? If we simply try to kill them off, we may miss the message they bear; maybe even pointing the way through the crisis. Monsters matter. What Seamus Farquarson found when he stared into the eyes that terrorized him may just help us as well.
We love seeing ghosts and monsters this time of year, but beyond the cute factor, why would anyone watch or read horror? After terrifying us and quickening our heartbeat, doesn’t it just keep us up at night? What are the dark gifts it might bear? Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein helps us consider these questions. It takes courage to take another look to ask what it is we are really afraid of.
The imagination of a child far outweighs the logic of the adult in the formation of character. We deny the imagination by pushing our fears, anxieties and rage into the unconscious so that they leak out in destructive ways. By honoring our fears and allowing the imagination to speak to us, we can be transformed by the healing power deep within.