Friday, January 16, 2009

Cosmogenesis: My Windows To the World

I was chatting with someone the other day about how our culture give preference to time over space and began thinking of how we tell our personal story, whether of faith or otherwise, and how our preference for time may impact how we share those stories. I did a quick Google search to see if there were any sites that might give guidance to writing a testimony. One site, had an interesting outline with some questions to consider.

Section One - My Life Before I Became A Christian
Some people have a sudden conversion experience. For others, it can happen over a period of time without a clear pinpointed date.Whichever way your conversion occurred, try and recall here what your life was like before. What attitudes did you display? What were your behaviour and feelings about life?

Section Two - How I Came To Realise I Needed Jesus
Include here what made you turn to Jesus. Did you have a need that
Jesus met? Were you at the end of your tether and couldn't go on? Was the
process a long or a short one? Make it clear in your story that becoming a
Christian was entering into a relationship with Christ, not just subscribing to
some set of principles or way of living

Section Three - How I Became A Christian
Explain exactly what brought you to the point where you gave your life
over to Jesus. What specific step did you take to become a Christian? Was it a
sudden transformation or was it a long process?

Section Four - What Being A Christian Means
NowWhat difference has becoming a Christian made to your life?
What are the highlights? Has there been a price to pay in relationships? Based
on your experience to date, explain why you would encourage others to become a
Christian too.

As I read through the list of questions and tips, it became quite apparent, at least with this site, that time is given preference over place. Place while inseparable from time, is forced into being a backdrop for time and event. While many have detailed Christianity's long and convoluted history with the material world, what would happen if we were to consider the significance of place in our own stories and that of the church and Christian history?

Many commentators on place suggest that place precedes space, at least that our awareness of the particularities of place shape our interactions in the larger world (space). Because of our embodiment, we are oriented in the proximal place which guides us into the larger place. If place emerges via the convergence of time and event, held and made valuable by memory and ritual, we are creating places through out our life. Edward Casey calls this “cosmogenesis” or world creating.

Some of the most sacred spaces/times have come sitting at the desk in my office as I wrote a paper or journal entry. My office, surrounded by my books and art, my music and often a cup of coffee nearby are often transformed into a place of beautiful inspiration by the Spirit. My desk, seen above, looks out onto a now white parking lot through some sort of tree that still holds on to its now brown seeds. Perhaps rathering than focussing on "times when...", I should tell my story through "places where...".