Monday, November 27, 2006


Floundering Faith

When I was young we used to love to go "fluking" at Captain Mike's. We'd get up around 5am and drive through the Pine Barrens to the Jersey shore, to a smelly strip of weathered old buildings on the green fly infested edge of Tuckerton. We'd rent a little boat for the day and tool around the salt water channels, catching the drifts, and catching some rays. Our mornings were spent slicing up squid into slippery strips, and then baiting our hooks with them, as well as the ever faithful "keelies" which were sure to be wasted on the sea robins (very cool to look at but not to eat, by the way). All the while we'd be stuffing chips and sandwiches into our faces with our unwashed hands. Ah, what fun! Makes you want to throw up, doesn't it? Needless to say, it was Dad who took us "fluking." And we LOVED IT.

We'd bring the old radio and pop in our Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem tapes, or maybe some John Cougar (Mellancamp), the Chieftains, or Van Morrison. What a life! Belting out the lines of Four Green Fields or The Rocky Road to Dublin, as we tilted and swayed on the briny foam! We were seeking those treasured pockets of the deep where flounder lay in murky abundance. They are weird little critters, by the way. At one point in their development, the eyes of these flat fish migrate to one side of their bodies so that both eyes are facing up from the ocean floor. And that's where they lay, all the time, those spooky eyes peeping up. Kinda like Picasso fish, if you will.

Let's get theological!
In other news, I have grown weary of the God vs. Science debate. I am tired of the Creationist vs. Evolutionist debate. I'm saddened by the supposition that faith and reason are warriors fighting when the truth is they are two wings flapping, lifting us up to truth! Everywhere we look there is the desire to pull them apart, and it seems so many want to view all of human experience, the vast scope of the entire universe, with a kind of flounder vision. We've settled into a murky, muddy, greyness and let our eyes sort of migrate into a one dimensional plane on the side of the head. It's a kind of tunnel vision, really. Try living a day like this, with just one eye open. Your depth perception will be off, and every time you reach for something you'll have to stumble before you can pin it down.

I think there's a reason why we have two eyes, two ears, two hands and two feet, two lungs, two lips, two nostrils (dang, we have a lot of twos don't we?), all proportioned the way they are... They are opposites and they're symetrical and afford us a harmony when used together. God has stamped right in our bodies the way He wishes us to "see." It's the integration of two planes into one.

Now if this seems difficult at present, with our eyes trying to discern the place of Science with Scripture, Good with Evil, Faith with Reason, then maybe it's because we have this flounder vision. Our culture has devolved our view into a single plane of vision, and we're peering stiffly at either God or Science, and actually limiting our vision. We get pure materialism, a reducing of reality to only the visible, weighable, smellable stuff, or we get a misty, castle in the clouds view of reality that seems completely detached from our every day lives here and now... more a fantasy than a final end. Let the eyes expand, separate but remain in union, becoming more fully human. Don't be a fish head!

We are not like the flounder, with both eyes on one side of its head, staring blankly up and out from the murky ocean floor. We must see with a fuller vision, viewing all of creation as God intended us to; as sweet sacraments, physical signs pregnant with spiritual meaning, rich in symbolism and yet able to stand up in their own right... solid, sure and utterly sensible.
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