Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

God Hides in Plain Sight 7


At times I sense Dean Nelson could be our generation’s male Anne Lamott. He offers to us a disarming honesty along with an honest quest for God, but there’s nothing romantic, idealistic or utopian. He offers the quest for placidity, not its secret potion. He finds God in plain sight, but his discoveries are less overt than they are storied instances… really well done.
What role does “baptism” play in your spiritual life? Tell the truth: is it important or is something that just happened one time, long ago, like graduating from first grade?
This chp begins with a hilarious story about being in the deep woods of northern Minnesota where mosquitoes could be the State bird! The chp, though, is about his initiation into a group, and then Dean reflects on baptism — saying good bye and hello to a new world, a new story, where the past is past and the future is now. It also illuminates who we really are. It ushers us into a different kind of story, the ongoing story of cleansing.
This is what Dean Nelson examines in God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World  in chp 6.


On the theology of baptism: “There are historical arguments about baptism that say it isn’t a legitimate means to God’s grace unless you are immersed, or sprinkled, or poured over. That’s the same kind of argument as whether prayer is legitimate if our hands are turned palms up, showing that we’re receiving what God has for us, or our hands are turned palms down, showing that we let go of everything we cling to that keeps us from God” (157).
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posted October 16, 2009 at 7:46 am

This chp ends with the theme of “More” in hearing the song Amazing Grace(which he states he’s heard so many times it risks losing its meaning). He tells of Judy Collins a cappella, Bill Moyers explaining its history and significance through interviews, the 2007 Hollywood movie, himself singing to young people groups to the tune of Gilligand’s Island or The Addams Family, or The House of the Rising Sun, all accompanied on banjo, Arlo Guthrie ending with it and the hush that fell, Diane Schurr the blind jazzer who ended with it and gave a whole new meaning to “was blind, but now I see”(there is sight other than our eyes). My favorite story was Aretha Franklin on her live Amazing Grace album emphasizing “Through”…many dangers, toils, and snares. She sings it again, and again, and again. Dean ends this Amazing section with a story of his split service English/Cambodian speaking congregation coming together and alternating verses. As can happen in hymn singing the heavens opened, and then you get a glimpse of who you really are. As Scot says, storied instances, really well done, that I can’t do justice to.

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