Learning to See

For me, the camera is a means of seeing the world. Light. Color. Shadow. Texture. Depth. Line. Perspective. Proportion.

I am currently on a sabbatical from my day job. During this time of rest (at least a change of pace), I am working on a book on the relationship of faith (trust) and the reconciliation of the imagination. (With some work and a little luck, it’ll come out during 2022.).

As an imaginative discipline (perhaps a spiritual discipline) alongside this academic work, I am wandering with my camera in order to see the world. In some ways, this is just a matter of paying attention. Chasing the light.

As a means of keeping track of and sharing these moments of chasing, I am going to share some of these images here.

Pelican – Mississippi River – 2021-09-06

From my wander yesterday, I happened to survive a flyover by this pelican without being shat upon. (This is no small thing for someone upon whom birds like to empty themselves… and with some accuracy.) What I see here, however, is akin to an x-ray as the sun shines from above. The length of the wing. The spines of the feathers.

The camera here captures a moment in time. A very brief moment. A fraction of a second. So small that it barely existed. My naked eye could not observe this moment separated from the one just before and the one just after because of this fellow creature’s natural movement through both time and space. And yet, here it is. A moment of light captured in time.

In the category of “also nearby” are two other members of the Aves class: a wee song sparrow and a bald eagle.

Song Sparrow – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – 2021-09-06
Bald Eagle Hiding Quite Successfully – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – 2021-09-06

A Wee Thought…

Yesterday, 1 July 2021, I started a year-long sabbatical. A privilege, I know. And one I’m grateful for. It’s a perk of being a professor to be stewarded with such time and space.

I am working on a book, tentatively titled “Faith and the Reconciled Imagination,” under contract with Fortress Press. Some decades ago and long before my time on the big blue marble, C.S. Lewis said of his experience of reading George MacDonald’s Phantastes, that it “baptized his imagination.” Along Lewis’ lines, I’m exploring faith (informed by the Finnish School of Luther Studies) as participation in the person of Christ as a reconciliation of the imagination.

The trajectory that the work is on is a conviction that faith in Jesus Christ reveals the world as it really is in Christ. Seeing it and living in it are an exercise of the reconciled imagination. Our unreconciled imagination sees through lenses of distrust and fear. The imagination of faith sees through Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, which is the reconciliation of the whole of the cosmos, i.e., Colossians 1.15-20.

I am updating my website (which I first put together during my first sabbatical in 2013) as a venue for sharing some thoughts and some of my images, especially those that related to this particular project.