My favorite single Scripture scholar is Walter Brueggemann, who often strikes me as an Old Testament prophet himself. He has given me so many insights into the Hebrew Scriptures, always filled with faith and passion and intelligence. Several came to me this week, as I was going through a few personal trials myself. He says that Psalm 73 is the “Linchpin Psalm” that almost divides the two major themes of the Book of Psalms, from obedience to the law and will of God–to the increasing sense of pure praise and elation at the goodness of God. It is illustrated in the Psalm itself where only starting in verse 23 can the Psalmist move beyond his fears, resentment of enemies, and doubts to shout out with loving trust.
This is also mirrored in the very last verses of the Prophet Habakkuk, which Brueggemann calls his “Great Nevertheless”. After three Chapters of moaning and cursing, old Habakkuk (wonder why that name never caught on?) magnificently ends his writing with 3:18-19 “I will rejoice in Yahweh, I will exult in God my Savior. Yahweh is still my strength. He makes my feet as light as a doe’s feet in the high places!”
Hind’s Feet in High Places, became a lovely spiritual book written by Hannah Hurnard, who created a complete allegory around this brilliant metaphor of Habakkuk.
I hope both of these sources might empower and encourage your own “Great Nevertheless” when you need it, and let you know that it is THE PROCESS ITSELF–OF GETTING TO YOUR NEVERTHELESS– that is your great spiritual teacher.
I so love and enjoy my 11 year old Black Labrador named Venus, and dread the thought of her passing and her unconditional love.
I would sooner go first, but that would leave her only confused and abandoned. I also look most nights at the
lovely New Mexico sky and see the planet Venus in the heavens. There she shines and sparkles for all to see who are willing to look and enjoy.
Which is the better Venus? As always, I will choose earth over sky, my dog over distant planets. But the planet keeps me connected to all of you and to the universe, my dear black Lab keeps me connected to myself and to life itself. Both connect me to God and to you.
Mike Dodd in LiveScience.com says that researchers at the University of Nebraska have found evidence that there is a basis in the nervous system as to why people strongly identify with the conservative or liberal end of the spectrum. It does not appear to be a biased study, and I must say what I read largely matches a lifetime of observations in my own family circle, in religious life, and in long term acquaintances (Again, with people strongly identified as either liberal or conservative).
It seems that conservatively inclined people show greater interest in negative images of accidents, crime, scary possibilities, threats, and anything “alarming”. They tend to spend more energy and make longer eye contact “monitoring things that make them uncomfortable”. Liberals tend to give more energy to hopeful plans and possibilities for the future, and their eye movements stay on exciting things. According to political scientist, John Hibbing, the two groups really do perceive the world quite differently.
I guess we need both WATCHDOGS and LICKING PUPPIES, but it would sure be good for all of us if they could play together a bit, and maybe balance one another out. Maybe they would look like ”positive responsibles” or “realistic visionaries”!