In response to some inquiries that have been made about my rather cryptic title for this blog, I am going to unveil at least some of my thoughts behind the choice, and ponder further on the possibilities.
Gestalt – The obvious and, of course, most pedestrian assumption would be that it is based purely and simply on the fact that I am Bipolar. While, admittedly, that gave some impetous to choosing the moniker “Ministry From Two Poles”, it does not explain the rest of the name, “… or Preaching From Both Ends”, or the choice of header art. Being Bipolar makes it inescapable that I will see things from at least two perspectives – low and looking up, or high and looking down. I reside for only very brief moments in the mundane, plebian plane we call “normal” mood. That said, I am far more than a play on words based on my mental state. The choice of title and subtitle has more to do with being irascible, malcontent and a sucker for quality dialogue. I may indeed be a nutjob, but that is at the same time irrelevant and advantageous when pursuing intelligent discourse.
Geography – One reason for the name is that I have lived, if not at both poles of the earth, at least in polar opposite places. My northern hemisphere homes have been various places in the U.S. and, of course, my birthplace in England. My southern abodes have included various places in Australia. I have indeed travelled 13,000 miles from one home to the other – a distant that just about corresponds to half the circumference of the earth. I have lived “above” and “below”, or close to both ends of the earth. My worldview and subject matter for preaching and ministry, then, prevent me from concentrating on a purely “American” perspective – and nudge me more in the direction of global concerns.
Gender identity – While I am decidedly male, I have spent much of my lifetime coming to terms with my feminine side – and I don’t mean that in any glib sense. Having always been slightly effeminate in some regards, I grew up being ashamed of who I am – helped along by my father’s frequent attempts to beat the manhood into me – to harden me for the real world. That is, of course, a normal response of a father who was raised to be ashamed of his less than “man’s man” personna. I have embraced, finally, the fact that I am analytical and intuitive, methodical and creative, logical and emotional, aggressive and cooperative, fixed and free-flowing – in short, masculine and feminine in ways that make me uniquely me.
Geneology – How many British Shawnee indians do you know? I am not full-blood, but qualify as native American since my maternal great-grandmother was. I am, however, British by virtue of birth, citizenship and basic affinity. I have had to learn about my ancestral ties and, in the process, gain a great appreciation for the way in which indigenous and colonial worldviews diverge. Rather than not feeling at home anywhere, which is the most common thing I hear from mixed-race folks, I am comfortable anywhere. I am not a chameleon, but I have a deep and abiding appreciation for different cultures. I have found that this attitude makes it even possible to a white American to have a meaningful conversation with a Guatamalan Mayan Indian when neither knows anything of the other’s language. If you care to know, language is incidental.
Gastrointestinal – oh, shoot! My apologies. I have no idea how that got there. Carry on!
God and that image thing – The picture above explains my understanding of God. For creation to be birthed from “the womb of God”, as is attested in various Hebrew Scripture passages, nourished and comforted at the breasts of God (ditto), sustained and protected by the hands of God, and judged by the righteousness and power of God, I have to come to terms, as best I can, with the nature of God. I do not believe God to be genderless, race-less or in any other way lacking in the concepts we humans have of classifying each other, but God is all things. God is male and female, all races, all levels of wisdom and age – God is all human characteristics and well beyond any facet we may decide is normative or preferable. God is all things – and God deemed all things “good”. God is not the absence of what makes humans human, but the presence of all that and so much more. That each of us can see oursleves in the image of God is good; that we decide God has more affinity with any characteristic is idolatry.
Golgotha – It takes two poles to make a cross! One is set vertically, figuratively pointing to heaven and earth, while the other is horizontally pointing to each other.
More to follow, as I ponder this further.