Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Theology of Space

I worked at a Science Center for years and it's probably warped my thinking -- I like to think of our environments as "ecosystems" -- and I've been thinking about how we build our own spiritual, mental and physical "ecosystem." Western thinking is (usually) missing a philosophy or theology on space; yet I spend a lot of time thinking about my space, my ecology.

I usually begin thinking about God as creator. This is the primary way I relate to God; I feel closest to God when I, too, am in the midst of a creation -- a painting, embroidery, stained-glass window, mosaic, quilt, room design, song, poem, what-have-you. When we create, we are participating with God. God created order out of chaos (Gen 1) and when ever I impose a little order onto my personal chaos, I literally feel better about the world. That is why I like to pick rooms up and put them in order. It is a soothing activity; putting things back in their own place. I think that's why I like to design rooms -- it's putting beautiful objects together in harmony so that each object is shown to best advantage and each item can be celebrated for its beauty.

It's also being a good steward of the good and beautiful gifts that God has given us; both the item and the ability to make beautiful things. I wonder sometimes if God didn't back away from the earth to admire God's own handiwork and say "Isn't that pretty?" (or maybe that is what is implied when God found the earth to be good.) To maintain that beauty is to be a good steward of this earth.

And it's sacramental. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward working of Grace. When we set things in order in our spiritual, emotional and inner life, it can show on the outside as well, in both our bodies and our environments (ecologies). Tillach said something about this -- as well as Jung. In the West, we tend to (falsely) separate body from mind and spirit; in reality, they are one. We are BOTH physical and spiritual. To deny one over the other is to fall into heresy (really, look at all the Gnostic stuff in the 3rd century).

So I am working on my "house" -- both literally and metaphorically. I'm cleaning corners that have needed to be cleaned for years; I'm purging unnecessary things; I'm giving away things I'm not using in order to be a better steward of what I've been entrusted with. This task is going to take a while. And once I have cleaned and purged, we will all, in this family of mine, have to develop new habits and skills to keep it that way. (FlyLady, anyone?)

What are you thinking today? How else is "Space" spiritual? What am I missing?

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