Monday, July 23, 2007

A View (or, Why I Picked This Weird Blog Title)

For some time now, I've been thinking I ought to explain the title of this blog. I logged on tonight debating whether to do that or write about our trip to Kwik-E-Mart and realized this is my 50th post. Being sentimental, I opted for the former. Fifty says to me, "Well, high time."

I love my rational brain. I depend on it every day, and deem it largely responsible for no small portion of the good things in my life, including my faith. I'm not a warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely kind of person. A good friend recently told me, "For someone as nice as you, you're about as sensitive as a ton of bricks," and I didn't argue that at all (except, perhaps, the nice part). Still, I am very emotionally driven and very reliant on hunches, gut feelings, and that sort of thing.

I also love my faith. I'm fascinated by the Catholic Church, inspired by saints both living and triumphant, and flabbergasted by God, who pours out so much that I can't even take it in (I try sometimes, but my heart starts skipping beats, my lungs shrink, and my brain overheats). Mine is a faith, in its best moments, characterized by awe at how God has worked His wonders and miracles in every corner of the universe: from cell mitosis to the Milky Way; from the grandeur of the Church to Charity between strangers; from the laughter of friends to the creepiest little crevices in my heart. It -- the whole incomprehensible structure of everything I believe and see -- is a big cosmic masterpiece that I examine in wonder time and time again.

Thanks to a cocktail of reason, intuition, and wonderment, my belief, bean sprout that it was when I started to realize these things, came to a pretty solid place. There's a saying I've heard a few times, that there are two ways to see the world: either nothing is a miracle, or everything is. Sometimes "coincidence" is switched for "miracle". While I don't quite agree with the absolute nature of either statement, both variants are akin to my view of God: I couldn't help believing in Him if I wanted to because I see Him everywhere. I would have better luck denying the sun -- it at least disappears nightly.

Flash forward to my planning period one day in March, shortly after I started this blog (under a different, dumb title). For no reason I can recall, I thought of "Theophilus", the addressee of Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. I pulled out a dictionary to make sure the name meant what I thought it did (friend of God). Theophilus was a no show, but right over where it would have been was the word "theophany", a word I'd never heard before but which struck me instantly as describing the way I'd been seeing the world for a while.

"Theophany" is properly used more strictly to describe direct, unveiled revelations, like Moses and the burning bush or Jesus at the Transfiguration. While I can't say I've ever seen God's glory except through His creation, I have seen Him, and I think my usage of theophany is as legitimate as the use of "revelation" or "epiphany" to describe their small (but significant) "ah-ha!" moments. I promptly changed the name of the blog.

I have rarely posted items on the subject of faith or Catholicism and even less frequently outlined the God connection in the things I write about here. I have a reason for that: it is no more my place to pontificate on my perspective on God than it is to lecture on astronomy. My authority on each subject is exactly nil. My hope, instead, is that those reading my humble little nook of cyber space will instead have their own theophanies -- maybe while reading my blabbing, maybe not.

By the way: a few weeks ago, I looked up which saints' feasts fell on my birthday and discovered that there is a St. Thophanes and his fest day is March 12. Coincidence? Well, I don't put much stock in coincidences, personally.

1 comment:

Joe said...

From Lawrence Boadt's "Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction":

"an overwhelming personal experience of God's presence that affects the entire direction and quality of a person's life"