Thursday, August 03, 2006

God, google, and the carthusians

"what's a devotional?" asked ben, one of the soldiers in debby's statistics army.

i stared at him.

rebecca came to my rescue be explaining that the term 'devotions' is christianese for hallmark card theology. that is, generally you pick out a passage of scripture--preferrably something from the gospels or the psalms--and share a happy little anecdote or a quick moral. it's spoon-fed christianity.

she makes some good points, but i don't entirely agree. even simple one page devotions don't seem quite that cookie-cutter to me. and even if she's right, that's not the kind of devotional that i intend to bring to the campfire on saturday night. but how to jump above the cookie-cutter conundrum?

first, pray. that's how i spent most of yesterday, praying and googling. the prayers were petitions for inspiration and desire. praying for desire may sound kind of funny, but it's been a while since i've looked forward to reading the good book. i'd like to see it sitting on my desk and think, "gosh, i want to read that," but it's not often like that.

and then the world turned upside-down. you see, i've always thought that it would be great if prayer worked like google. give God a request and then 0.38 seconds later He gives you 15,800,000 answers sorted from best to least relevant. however, yesterday i felt far more answered by God than by any silly google hit. i was looking for poems, short stories, encyclopedia entries--anything that might correspond cooly to saturday's passage from the daily lectionary (look to your left)--but alas, i stumbled onto nothing. in one sense it was a productive evening: i had a long talk with God. but i was still stuck in terms of that saturday deadline.

that's when it helps to date beth. she turned me on to the lectio divina, the perfect centerpiece for a saturday devotional. hooray for beth! hooray for God! hooray for the carthusian monks!

andrew david (and rene magritte) "the statcounter" moma, nyc. (magritte tells me that in cyberfrench that translates to "i'm watching you")