metaphor of movement
Montananeighbor of mine…. Besides being an excellent writer, Bass is a fervent environmentalist…. Environmentalists care deeply about this creation, but a lot of them are also pretty mean – angry, sometimes violent. Bass is small of stature, elf-like, energetic, and laughing, it seems, most of the time. He holds parties for the loggers and miners, working for common ground, developing a language of courtesy and understanding. He wrote an essay recently that I count as required reading for anyone who cares about living well as North American followers of Jesus who are immersed in this impatient, shortcut-addictive culture.
“He writes that it used to be that whenever he was confronted with a complex and difficult task, he imagined himself patiently laying down one brick after another until eventually he got the job done…recently he has changed his metaphor. He had been reading about glaciers. A glacier is the most powerful force the world has ever seen. Nothing, literally nothing, can stop a glacier. A glacier is formed by the falling of snow that collects over a period of time – an inch today, a quarter of an inch yesterday, a mere skiff of powder last week. As the snow deepens, the weight compresses. Ice is formed, and then more snow, which becomes more ice, year after year. Nothing happens for a long time, but when glacier is sixty-four feet thick it starts to move, and nothing can stop it. “…[Bass] notes that one theory about the origin of glaciers is that they are ‘the result of a wobble, a hitch, in the earth’s rotation…. Glaciers get built or not built, simply, miraculously, because the earth is canting a single one-trillionth of a degree in this direction for a long period of time, rather than in that direction.’ And then this comment: ‘When I am alone in the woods, and the struggle seems insignificant or futile, or when I am in a public meeting and am being kicked all over the place, I tell myself that little things matter—and I believe that they do. I believe that even if your heart leans just a few degrees to the left or the right of center, that with enough resolve, which can substitute for mass, and enough time, a wobble will one day begin, and the ice will begin to form, where for a long time previous there might have been none. “‘Keep it up for a lifetime or two or three, and then one day—it must—the ice will begin to slide’ (The Roadless Yak, Lyons Press, 114).
“Or, to replace his metaphor with ours: we’ll see… Christ playing in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, lovely in eyes not his, to the Father through the features of men’s and women’s faces.”
Rick Bass Eugene Peterson
The above quote is from Eugene Peterson’s, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005, 337-8.