I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Friday, July 30, 2004

Mountain Biking and Other Distractions

I have been remiss in blogging as of late, but I think I do have a somewhat legitimate excuse.  I have been mountain biking.

As you know, it is summer, and the church is doing work on the parsonage.  Therefore, my family and I have been spending a great deal of our time in the car and on the bike.  I have explored the power-lines of the great state of Maine and elsewhere waiting for replacement windows.  No doubt, I will spend more time peddling through the month of  August.  However, it is time well spent from the perspective of at least this Liberal Christian.

Mountain Biking gives me a chance to focus on two important elements (or "texts) of the religious (and I would say "Christian") life.  One of these is the Text of Nature, and the other is the Text of Human Nature.  I stole this concept from Quillen Shinn.  You can find out more about Quillen Shinn and other prominent Universalists by exploring the weblog empire of the Rev. Scott Wells.  I will link to him once I figure out how to do that!   

Shinn (and I) also include one other sacred source (this is one of the many places in life where I find a "trinity" useful). The final one is the Holy Bible.  However, it is hard to read while unintentionally flushing wild turkeys out of the bush and even harder while flying through the air toward God-Knows-What after avoiding said fowl.  Yet, one could make an argument that doing silly things on a bike requires prayer and all my favorites, at least, are in the Bible.

So, anyway, the text of Human Nature, is a broad category which for me includes, among other things, Politics, art, literature, individual relationships and the sacred texts of many faiths not my own.  All of these things help us to look into the wonderful creation that is the human race. They also point to our relationship with God.  On a mountain bike, the chapter or paragraph in this book that I focus on is Adam Tierney-Eliot.  As in many other forms of meditation, I must monitor my breathing, perceive my place in the world, and then forget these things as I focus on the bigger picture.

This bigger picture is, not surprisingly, creation itself.  It is the text of Nature.  I am not a very good biker, so I find myself often discovering the wonders of the landscape rather too late to do me any good, but hopefully, that is changing.  I am learning to feel the earth below my wheels and to learn from the wind in my ears.  When I am on my bicycle, I am balancing on the earth.  Finding balance is, ultimately, a spiritual and religious act.

So, there you have it, a theological excuse for poor blog attendance (a "christian apology," if you will).  I will attempt to do better for the rest of the summer as I travel about New England in search of enlightenment.