Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quoting Ben

Quoting Ben

My friend Ben and I talk about ideas regularly, and I always grow and change because of it. Recently he wrote me this:

"In watching Rivers and Tides (Andy Goldsworthy) I was really struck by how many times he mentions how he is “trying to understand” the environment and the materials he is working with and then from that “trying to understand” life in more depth. Towards the beginning of the film he is creating a rock sculpture near the ocean… as he works it collapses several times. He mentions that each time it collapses he learns a little bit more about the stone … He also mentions that the ground beneath the sculpture is different than what he is used to…

Later on in the film he mentions how much his work is often on the edge of collapse.

What if we started our work (by) trying to understand the community we’re in… trying to understand the work already in progress… trying to understand what is going on in the kingdom, what God already has done… what he has provided for us and our work…

I wonder how our work would change if we allowed the collapse to teach us… if we took the time to understand “the stones”. Andy mentions that the stones he was working with were much different than the stones he worked with back home (he was in Canada for a commission)… so with each collapse he learned a little bit more about the stones. Ultimately he was able to build a sculpture that withstood the oceans tide. As you watch the tide come in you’re absolutely convinced its going to collapse, because you watched it collapse several times as he tried to build it… the ocean completely covers it eventually. As the tide moves out the sculpture stands fully intact."

Ben was talking about this in regards to starting or developing communities of faith, but I think it applies to many areas of life.

1 comment:

JDK said...

Appreciate this observation on the process of creativity, especially as it relates to pioneering. I can relate to it on many levels. Personally as I attempt to form a new understanding of who God is outside of Church Dogma, and vocationally as I attempt to get Humstream off the ground.

To me it has felt more like trying to walking in a dark room with only the voice of the Spirit in my heart guiding. Often times it gets lost in my own thoughts and I end up running into a chair or Table and "falling".

Getting up is the hardest part and like Ben says learning from the Fall. How did I not hear correctly? What was I assuming? Where do I go from here? How do I know I am hearing right this time?
Its a very refining process.

I take hope though in the fact that once I have figured it out it will be able to withstand the tide.

Thanks for sharing Jonathan and Ben. Your thoughts have been breathing life into me of late.