We had a need. I presented the alternatives. The answer, with clear vision, was a fresh statement of function followed by form leaving you with materials and choice. Instead, I made a complex, confusing, and bad choice.
The setting was majestic; an old granite church with wonderful wooden pews and stained glass windows. It was difficult to walk into the space without finding one’s soul overwhelmed by the sense of ancient prayers, great music, and true compassion. People celebrated and cried in this space. God spent time with the family here.
My winning alternative was a cheap, compressed paper based, phony wood veneer shelving contraption. It was ugly! It was weak. It did not reflect the space, community, or intent of the people who came to worship.
I wonder how many times I have replayed this choice making process. Unfortunately, it is more than I can possibly remember. It’s more than just the choices that do not matter in time. Choosing one type of flour over another may be simple preference, no matter how the recipe turns out. The conundrum lies in life’s bigger choices.
I’m not the first to fall into this trap. When a series of question were posed; “so who even comes close to being like God? To whom or what can you compare him? Some no-god idol? Ridiculous! It's made in a workshop, cast in bronze, given a thin veneer of gold, and draped with silver filigree. Or, perhaps someone will select a fine wood—olive wood, say—that won't rot, then hire a woodcarver to make a no-god, giving special care to its base so it won't tip over! Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven't you heard these stories all your life? Don't you understand the foundation of all things?” (Isaiah 40.18-21) The questions were not trying to criticize anyone’s art or attempt to represent God. They struck at the heart of the process.
Who is the God I choose?
What form (action) does this God take?
How does this God live in today’s moment?
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