Tuesday, September 14, 2004

godthreads

godthreads are conduits of God into your life. They're different for everyone. Pat Metheny's Road to You for me is a godthread; it's led me to worship. The last scene of the Matrix where Neo flys out of the phone booth with Rage Against the Machine playing on the score was a godthread. John's Abiding in the Vine meme for me is a godthread. I keep going back and back and back to it in my thoughts. A few years ago I was taken by the concept of practicing God's presence. Yesterday morning, Psalm 107 was a godthread. I had been very aware of a hunger of God and it had made me feel unhappy and disconnected. 107:9 taught me not to resist the hunger but rather to lean into the hunger, to see it as the clarion call to Home.

We mustn't think that our godthreads are necessarily someone else's. We mustn't impose our Godthreads on others. They are idiosyncratic.

This concept has helped me enormously. It lets you look for God anywhere. Where is His Spirit speaking to you? Through what or whom? A godthread can be found anywhere you find resonance with God.

10 comments:

Paul Fromont said...

Stephen, I love that notion of "God-threads." It's a useful way of thinking about our relationships with God and the very individual ways that God draws us into the trinitarian relationship...

I hope that all is well with you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I commented on this on anamchairde.blogspot.com : I think it's a useful name. Blogspot comment was this:
"It seemed to me that what is called here "Godthreads" are precisely the kind of thing that I, wearing a soul-befriending hat, am on the look-out for in the lives of seekers. The interesting thing is first to note the Godthreads [things like journalling or just regular times of recollection like the Examen] and over time to build up a profile of how and when they tend to occur for you. Then the thing may be to assume that this is a kind of preferences indicator which can be used to reframe your spiritual disciplines to maximise your normal inputs. However, it could also be used to recognise where the gaps may be and so the possibilities that could be explored in order to open up your repertoire of spiritual engagements. In this case I think that bearing in mind things like MBTI shadow and stage of life are important also."

Robbymac said...

Believe it or not, I find the Canadian prog-rock band "Rush" to be an unlikely source. Springsteen is another. I remember hearing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" from the live album shortly after I became a Christian, and while the song is clearly talking about a girlfriend, to me the "freedom" motif spoke to my own sense of being freed to follow Jesus.

But then again, I've never claimed to be a "normal" Christian...

Anonymous said...

The implications post sound an awful lot like a fruitsalad of pantheism and pluralism. I mean, God is everywhere. He IS. He is I AM - not a substance that can "flow through a conduit into my life". Hebrews 1:1-3 tells me that He has spoken through His Son - not through any where I "find resonance with God". There is not enough definition for confidence here. Despite the postmodern melieu we live in, my concept/feeling/resonance with God and God himself are not always coincident.

Nice and sentimental, but too wobbly to stand up to the rigours of life.

Pedro

Stephen said...

Hi Pedro,

I do believe a pantheist could take my comments and have a field day! Nevertheless, consider: Did not God speak through a donkey? Not so sure He doesn't use similar creativity with us. But your cautionary note can still be well taken. Just because we believe something is a "message from God" doesn't mean that it is! A godthread is not necessarily some sort of propositional message. A sunset can be a godthread when it leads to worship of the Creator God!

Thanks and feel free to keep up the dialog!

rick said...

I have a couple which I will classify by media:

Film:
The ending of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List" which both speak of redemptive death.
"The Passion of the Christ" - it stands on its own.
The scene in Blade Runner where Rutger Hauer's character spares Decker as he contemplates the meaning of life and soul on the verge of death. If this scene were not so violent, I would love to play it in a Bible study and discuss it.

Music:
"Sail Away" by Styx. I've re-written part of it but can't get the worship team to sing it at church. Go figure.
Barber's "Adagio for Strings" and the choral version of the same piece named "Agnus Dei" or "Lamb of God"
Beethoven's 9th - no need to say more. It speaks for itself.

Art:
Edward Hopper's "Night Hawks" has a haunting melancholy that illustrates the searching soul.
Nearly anything by Winslow Homer - Starkly surreal, crisp and invigorating.
Actually this category is so rich I'm having a hard time centering on just one particular piece.

Biology:
Cell physiology and molecular genetics are so complex that they can only be of divine orign. Truly a godthread looking at the cell from any perspective.
The interconnectedness of all life and the concept of dynamic equilibrium which states that the systems most likely to survive are the ones that are the least stable. That's gotta be God.

How long would you like me to go on?

Stephen said...

a wonderful list!

JaneINTJ said...

Hi Stephen--

I once heard a theologian named Carl Ellis talk about how one of the oldest practices in religious like is to take the expression of your faith and make it the object of your faith. I think he's right on and explains exactly why we must not impose our godthreads on others.

That said, mine include:
The opening sequence for "Contact".
Crater Lake, Oregon
Mt. Rainier, Washington
My first cup of coffee in the morning. What a gift! :)

Jane

Anonymous said...

In college, a biology professor stopped class after discussing the brain and said there has to be some kind of energy to have created the brain. It's far too complex and beautiful to just have happened by chance.

That said, I think one needs to be VERY careful with this godthread concept. Many sensual feelings can lead one to "feel" a certain way, possibly closer to God in one's mind, and be clearly a sinful choice. Drinking and drugs can make one feel similar to one hearing a great Skynard tune. Is that worship? Hardly. This is dangeous territory indeed!

Stephen said...

thanks whoever you are!

an important caution.