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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 
~ Psalm 118:22

Last week I did some continuing education at my seminary alma mater, Columbia Theological Seminary.  It was their annual Colloquium and the guest lecturers were four of my professors, Walter Brueggemann, Erskine Clark, Catherine Gonzales and Justo Gonzales.  These four people were instrumental in literally changing my life years ago as they opend up to me vistas of imagination and knowldege that transformed my religious certitude into faith of possibility and potential.  Their lectures, ensuing discussion, and company were inspiring. They may all carry the title "emeritus" but they are all still amazingly brilliant and relevant and remain wellsprings in the evolution of my faith journey.

After this, I spent a couple of days visiting my brother and two sisters who all live in the town where I grew up.  When I'm there, my brother and I usually take a few hours and ride around the county and visit old family sites, especially the cemeteries where our parents, grandparents, and other ancestors are buried.

This time my attention was drawn more to the two country churches from which the cemeteries that hold my grandparents get their names, and where they worshiped and participated in communities of faith - Sweetwater Baptist Church and Cold Springs (Primitive Baptist) Church.  While walking around these two buildings that stand at opposites ends of the county where my early life was shaped, I had something akin to epiphany, realizing I stood at other wellsprings of my faith.  

It was in these little country churches that my grandparents sang, prayed, and experienced their own faith, that was passed to my parents, and then to me. Even though I may no longer adhere to some of the theology and doctrine of these places, they still remain a primal sources of my spiritual DNA and are cornerstones of who I am, what I believe, and how I experience the world around me. It also occured to me that they both evoke the image of water, an image I have come to appreciate more and more as my faith ebbs and flows along life's journey.   

Whether we realize it or not, we all have cornerstones in our lives; people, places, and events which reside in the inner recesses of who we are, what we believe, and how we perceive and experience the world around us.  Who, what, and where are some of your cornerstones?  

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