Relishing the “Thin Places”

There is a toil on the stars
September 23, 2013
Mush, mongrel, ride!
September 25, 2013

I recently finished a book by an established Lutheran theologian (Marcus Borg) who speaks at length about “thin places.” These are the moments and spaces in our lives, he explains, that are rid enough of distraction and obstacle that we can enjoy a profound connection with the divine—whatever name or shape that takes for us.

The problem is, that while we are mired in a culture ever-focused on goals, ends, future successes, and rewards, we miss the present entirely. Today is a means to tomorrow’s end—an end we often do not know nor can control. And in our frantic race towards what lies ahead, we abandon the present; we are conspicuously absent in our own daily lives.

It stands to reason that Borg’s “thin places” demand presence in the here and now—a concept unfortunately unfamiliar to most of us. And as you might imagine, the tunnel vision of our society means that “thin places” are so thin they have altogether disappeared.

At the same time, communing with the divine is not something regulated or scripted. You can’t simply follow-through on a handful of instructions and expect instant connection. So how do we retrieve these “thin places”? How do we return to a life being lived today, and let go of the uncertainties of tomorrow?

It’s never easy, especially since the reason we let go of today is because we know today is imperfect, lacking, empty. Tomorrow we can fill it, improve it, make it better. Why wouldn’t we lust for that, and rush towards it? Still, we are called to take a breath and release our grip on life’s events beyond us—in time or control. We are asked to live in the moment, and to recognize the good that exists—not through comparison, but through discernment. It is in this discernment that we find our thin place—the eye in the needle. It is now, today that we can commune with God.

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