Double Looking | Connecting with Culture
As you step back from the stresses and pressures of everyday life for a bit this summer, why not have a go at ‘double looking’, as John Stott might have called it? Looking at the stuff of life and seeing what it tells you about the world and about God.
You can do it with anything – a cream tea, a good book, a grain of sand, a blade of grass…
The simpler the better, really, because it can get complex. Let’s start with that holiday classic, the ice cream cone. What does it tell us about the world?
It tells us that we live in a world where it’s (at least sometimes) warm. It’s a world which can be navigated and in which we can communicate and coordinate harvesting and transporting sugar cane, milk, wheat and more to create ice cream and cones, and load them into a funny little van and drive them around to customers on the streets. Just think of how many people, languages, and nations are involved with just those three ingredients. Not to mention all the machines they operate, and the people who designed and made those machines, and the people who mined, refined, and moulded the parts for those machines…
We live in an interconnected, collaborative, communicative world.
And what does it tell us about God? It tells us that he is a God who loves pleasure. He didn’t have to create tastebuds or milk or warm, sunny days. He could have put everything we needed for nutrition into water or created us to eat grass. Instead, he designed us with five senses that all contribute to the enjoyment of that simple delight.
He made us in his creative image so we could explore what would happen if we mixed cream and sugar and froze them, and inventiveness to come up with a way of carrying the resulting product in a container that could also be eaten, leaving no waste.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote,
‘Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.’
Our rest from the normal rhythms this summer might allow us to pay attention to the commonplace miracles around us. Let’s train our minds to see God’s glory in the ordinary so we can live well in the light of it throughout the year.
Jennie is a freelance writer and editor who lives in London and worships at Grace London. She blogs at jenniepollock.com