Giving up on the journey part 2

Last post touched on a desire of mine to move away from the metaphor of the spiritual life as a journey. To tear things down without offering alternatives to fill the space is not something that is ever productive and many times problematic. So an alternate metaphor to faith as going on a journey to faith as ice sculpting.

Ask a sculptor how they make a figure out of ice and they will tell you that they listen to the ice in order to understand how to work with it. The artist respects the shape and history of the ice in order to help bring out the potential it has within it. As the sculptor works with the ice, shapes take form.

The sculptor makes the ice. The ice is not the primary actor but it also not without input into the process.

There may be imperfections in the ice that result in an unintended fracture, but the sculptor works with it in order to find another way to shape the ice.

The ice is beautiful.

The ice is a paradox. It is hard yet also liquid. It is solid and temporary. It will melt in a blink of an eye. The sculptor lives on after ice melts.

While ice can be shaped it requires a bit of work on the part of the sculptor. And once the ice takes its form it resists changing. But it is not impossible.

And once melted, the sculptor can collect the water and use it again to create a new block with a new shape.

Although not perfect, the metaphor of faith as ice sculpting allows us to explore new ways to talk about faith and what it means to individuals and communities. We can pick it apart, as I have with the metaphor of journey, and find where it breaks down. But the beauty of this metaphor is that it is uncommon enough for everyone to know it is a metaphor and we can treat it as such.