Thursday, February 21, 2013


Christa is doing an art show in Asheville this month which is thematically related to this song. Here is an excerpt from her artist's statement:

"While creating this installation I was thinking about breath; how it is necessary and vital, daily and mundane. My experience of God is similar -- vital yet often unnoticed. I've also been thinking about birth, life and death (and it's relationship to breath) both metaphorically (the cycles I experience in work, friendships and identity) and more concretely (because of births and deaths in my extended family)."

- Christa Reuel, 01.2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crumpling Mountains (on Time Travel and why I use Instagram)

One day I was writing, looking at the mountains and playing with my camera's phone. I use Instagram for this kind of play because it's a quick way to capture something that catches my eye. Figuring out why that particular thing caught my eye, however, is usually a bit more complicated. And it takes work.

This particular day I crumpled up a piece of paper, noticed the similarity between it and the mountains, and started taking photos. Wow. Pretty profound, right? (These are the sort of things that you try to do when no one is looking, because, face it, it's pretty strange. But then again, the world is strange, and the border between useful discovery and useless weird is not always obvious).

At the time I liked it visually. It fit. Not just the shapes, but something about the idea of folding and bending paper and the essence of the mountains themselves. According to physics, matter, solid matter, is mostly empty space. We can bend paper but not mountains. (Jesus said we could move them, but that's a rabbit trail for another day). We don't naturally see the similarities between such things. We do, however, imagine it sometimes -- time travel, shape shifting, teleporting (this stuff is in the Bible, right? Jesus walks through walls, Stephen is transported from one place to another).

You can get into weird, unprofitable (dangerous even) speculation around this sort of thing -- but I think you can just as easily be afraid of, ignore or avoid the edges which contain things which are crucial for our lives and growth, places where new solutions are waiting to be discovered, where God is ready to take us past our own understanding (and control), where mountains are ready to be bent or moved (what did Jesus mean by "move" anyway) and where time flows like a river around rocks, slowing and speeding up but overall moving in that particular direction that we assume it moves towards like a machine in a factory. There is order in this universe, but it's not merely the kind of order we make; there is a deeper, richer, more flexible and mysterious order that we are surrounded by, which invites us beyond the surface into a life of discovery, risk, hope, faith... and hard work for the mind as well as the body.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just That

Of of the more stunning things said to me recently came from a friend who is strategic, wise and successful -- not just in business but in his relationships, personal growth and spirituality (he has his share of weaknesses, but there is steady, incremental growth across the board in his life. Stunning.) He said something like, "Jonathan, I want to be more like you." We talked and I found out what he meant was he is learning to see life more as an adventure (as opposed to only something to plan and be responsible with) -- and he sees in me as someone who lives life as an adventure.

I do generally see life that way. I expect to be surprised, and I (often) like it when I am. Learning makes life stunning. I see God in the unexpected. I see hope in change. I feel potential in much that is difficult. A lot of the time. There is a downside to this approach to life too (which is why I can say back to my friend, "I want to be more like you too"), but I'm not going to get into that here. Instead I'll show you a photo.

This is our front door. What do you see?

Context: Snow melting, the sun blazing, bouncing off concrete and around the walls and doors. Amazing. To me it looked like angels, glints of another dimension, a language I was overhearing and felt I could almost understand. But it was just the light and water and shadows. Yeah, just those things; just elements and phenomena that scientists are still trying to understand and that religions see as metaphors and sacraments. Just that.

"I am the Light of the World, whoever lives in me no longer stumbles around in the dark... I am the Water of Life, whoever is thirsty can come to me and drink...(etc, etc)" - Jesus

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Then You Sparked Out

Wrote this for a friend who lost someone close to them.

Water Fall On Me

Jonathan Reuel: Water Fall On Me

A few months ago I took my music off of itunes -- it was getting too expensive to keep a number of different albums current. I'm in the process of putting up the music that seems relevant now. Just posted Water Fall on Me (which I wrote in the early 90's but is still finding a place in churches and camps). It should be available soon (spotify, itunes, amazon, etc). More songs will follow.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meaningful Work

Several of my friends moved to Deep Ellum in the heart of Dallas a few years back. Through them I've got to know this unique area a bit. One of these friends recently opened a little shop in the heart of Deep. They put up a few of Christa's paintings and got good responses, so I took down another piece when I was there in January. And I stood on a ladder and hung it. Over the Gucci bag. Oh, and I bought a great red shirt from the late 70's.

It's fun to see my peers giving something back to their communities in unique ways: starting urban gardens, opening shops, creating artwork, teaching, starting churches, tutoring, starting creative groups, coaching, etc. It's not an easy path to try to carve out a life that is both creative and useful (and brings in enough money to live on) but I see people figuring out ways to do it, and see a real shift from just working to seeking and finding (at least in small doses) meaningful work.