Montana Outdoors

November 9, 2008

Looking for God in all the wrong places

Filed under: Inspiration, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Reflections — montucky @ 2:12 pm

“Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity’s holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus’ tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.” – an excerpt from THIS STORY in today’s news.

Another excerpt from the same story: “After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli riot police holding assault rifles, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.
The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.
The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built.
A ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down.
More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.”

Now, I’m not a theologian, but upon reading that story a question of theology immediately comes to mind. Would God be more likely to be found in a factious congregation of rival gangs gathered at the ugly place where two millenniums ago a similar gang of cowards killed His Son, or would He be more likely to reveal Himself in the beauty of a mountain peak in the wilderness?

Cherry Peak roadless area

Or in the pure, cold, life-sustaining water of an unspoiled mountain stream?

Spring Creek

Yet the revelation of Him in those places of hope and beauty or the marvelous news of a solitary traveler in the wild country finding Him manifest in the innocent face of a simple flower growing in harmony with nature is never published in the world media.

Tolmie tulip

It’s no wonder that this world is in the condition it is in today!


  1. Very thought provoking and I do think you’re onto something here. Thanks for this.


    Comment by fw — November 9, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  2. Just keep showing us your multi-dimensional journey.

    That’s the main thing.


    Comment by Pinhole — November 9, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  3. Terry:

    Nature exists to help us make the discoveries captured in your wonderful photographs and to provide a way by which to explore our inner self so that we can better appreciate and honor the mystery which binds us all.



    Comment by Chad — November 9, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  4. fw,

    Just my thoughts on the hierarchy of importance.


    Comment by montucky — November 9, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  5. I will, Pinhole. It’s about all I can do.


    Comment by montucky — November 9, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  6. I agree, Chad. The absurdity is in the task of introducing modern man for the first time to the world in which he lives.


    Comment by montucky — November 9, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  7. Personally, I think this God you speak of would never be found in any of those churches. In the mountains, canyons, deserts, oceans – yes, any of those places, always.


    Comment by Bo — November 9, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  8. I think so too, Bo. How could He be found in other than the places of purity?


    Comment by montucky — November 9, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

  9. My beliefs aside, all I keep thinking of is the fact that Jesus taught love and tolerance. He taught the importance of overlooking the faults of others while working to correct one’s own imperfections. He was very much against a litigious nitpicking mentality.

    The beauty of nature tends to inspire introspection and spirituality within mankind. It is beneficial to each of us to cultivate within ourselves a sense of spiritual awareness and to seek out the meaning of our lives.


    Comment by Tabbie — November 9, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

  10. IMHO, It is everywhere, in the beautiful landscapes you so passionately share with us on this blog, and in that ugly brawl over doctrinal points known only to themselves, and all points in between and otherwise, but then again, I’m a bit of a monistic theist.

    It’s disgraceful behavior on the part of those supposedly in service of their religion no matter how you look at it. Another day in the sh*tstorm that is the Middle East 😦


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — November 9, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  11. I guess part of the problem is that those who are brawling and rioting do not get out on the land and take in all the gifts we’ve been given. Their senses aren’t open. So all they know is the angry and militant side of their lives. Sad.


    Comment by Cedar — November 10, 2008 @ 5:25 am

  12. I don’t think you can say that the Holy Sepulcher is not a spiritual place for many people, but it all depends on what mindset you are in when you go there and how you treat yourself, others, and the surroundings. Just like with nature.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — November 10, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  13. Tabbie,

    It seems to me that it’s best to be able to seek truth without the distraction of perpetual bickering.


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  14. I agree, Adam.


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  15. Cedar,

    We think it’s “cute” when children will sometimes ignore a great present and instead, play with the box it came in, maybe it’s not so “cute” when adults do it, especially while dresses in pink and red or black robes that are supposed to represent “holiness” and wisdom.


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  16. Scienceguy,

    I don’t think I did say that. I simply asked a question, one that each reader must answer strictly for himself.


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  17. Your beautiful photography is a reminder to many of the real joy in life such as the dazzling and serene landscapes around us, the clean air and water and the simplicity of our interconnectedness with the world as a whole. The world is whole and beautiful by itself. We the people cause all the problems.
    That being said, our journey is to find how to live with kindness and peace amongst each other. I do hope that the people in these countries (and our own) strive to find that peace in their hearts and will then be able to emit into their surroundings.
    Thank you for your inspiring photos!


    Comment by Norma — November 10, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  18. moved to tears, over the way “christians” act and the beautiful sermon you have posted here! your pictures remind me of the saying about the most powerful sermons are the ones w/o words….


    Comment by silken — November 10, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  19. Norma,

    I agree: kindness and peace and also respect would make all the difference. Thank you for your visit and your thoughtful comment!


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  20. Silken,

    There’s a very interesting perspective to be found in today’s world, with the technology of the internet providing a story from the Middle East in the morning and shoe leather enabling a view of the natural world in the afternoon. I just wish more folks could have ready access to both.


    Comment by montucky — November 10, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  21. Amen!


    Comment by Sandy — November 13, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  22. I can’t believe I didn’t respond to this post, because I *love* the point you make here. I have always thought God is most truly found in nature.

    Unfortunately, the news media isn’t geared toward reporting good news, or really Good News (so to speak), it’s geared toward the bad and the dramatic. So quietly encountering God in the fuzzy heart of the Tolmie star-tulip, or while contemplating the babbling brook, is completely outside the purview of the newspapers, journalists, television crews, and other components of the modern media.


    Comment by gradschoolsara — November 18, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  23. Sara,

    What you said about the media is certainly true. The really disturbing thing about that is that they cater to their audience, or think they do, and if those kind of things are what most of the people desire, I think we’re all in big trouble.


    Comment by montucky — November 18, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

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