Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Exposed or Transparent?

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I just read a book called "Assault on Eden" by Virginia Stem Owens. A random grab off the shelf that left me with profound thoughts to ponder this summer. A sample of the intro that Eugene Peterson writes:

"In 1970, Virginia Stem Owens, her family, and ten others set out for New Mexico. They sought to escape a rising tide of war and campus turmoil, and enter what they hoped would be a garden of delight. "We wanted something we called freedom: freedom from the kinds of time limitations ordinary jobs demanded, freedom from meaningless conventions and conformity, freedom from an unnatural hemmed-in life. But most of all, freedom from emptiness."

The book tells the story of their failure of their communal living–living off the land adventure and their eventual resignation back into the regular rhythm of life, paying bills and living in the city again.

But the part that has stayed with me is her description of what she discovered at a little church that they reluctantly went to–as something they once rejected as being part of the system. They were broken and exhausted and she described herself as feeling 'exposed'. They went to a little nearby church. Her description of what she felt there was remarkable. It was an average place, probably with similarities to many of our churches . . . but she described the people as being transparent–rather than exposed. She saw in them a choice to be transparent, to be real, so that people could give and receive from each other. It was a life-giving realization for her.

My description does not do the book justice - it is an honest story. But the last few chapters about how it was all about was her search for Eden–the perfect place–I still haven't fully absorbed all the layers of meaning in those chapters. So much to think about.

But this morning, I'm considering this:

"God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I'm alert I don't take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.Psalm 18

Let's choose transparency!