Fractals, breath, and Yahwew

I am thinking about birth, and death, and resurrection.

Their is the turning of the seasons, and the cycle of the day into night, and then the morning.  Their is having children, dying, and kids growing up.  There is the innocence we are born into, the complexity and darkness we grow into, and the choice to embrace a new innocence.

And a garden we were created for, exiled from, and return to.  And a God-man come to Earth, murdered, and then returned anyway.

And…  And there is the inhalation, a time of emptiness, and the exhalation.  I have this sense that the time between breathing in and breathing out is a terrible time of emptiness that we grow immune to because we experience it nearly every second of our lives.  It seems to me that it is one of those deep-time experiences, one of those moments where eternity is an endless extension of our normal, human seconds, but that the time between exhaling and inhaling is one of these moments where eternity is reached because time stretches out sideways forever.

If you have ever suffered an asthma attack, if you have ever had the wind knocked out of you, you know the abject terror of gasping and yet not being able to breathe.  Some part of our brain knows that we will breathe again, that this is a temporary state of affairs that we just need to wait out.  But the rest of us has this terror.

I love this idea that the Hebrew name for God, the word we often translate as Yahwew mimicks the breath itself.  There is this wonderful idea that with every breath we say God’s name.  If the inhale, the emptiness, and the exhale are some sort-of microcosm for the cycle of life itself; if it is a fractal of birth, death, and rebirth…  Then this suggests that God’s name itself also encapsulates these things:

People mourn the cheapness of our translations of that Hebrew word, Yahwew.  We settle on approximations like, “I was, and I am, and I am to Come.”  This seems like an echo of the idea I am dancing with here.   I think maybe “I was, and I am, and I am to come.”  Is quite a bit like the idea of all things are born, all things die, and all things are reborn.

It is crazy to me that this is captured in every breath.  And crazier still that not even the author of the universe is immune to this cycle of things, this birth, death, and resurrection.


Published by


The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s