The Shape of Things to Come

“Your shoes are on the wrong feet.  Would you like me to change them for you?”shoes-wrong-feet1


Is Miley being shaped by the expectations of a male dominated misogynistic, money-bound music culture as Sinead’s first open letter to her states?  Or, is Miley shaping herself?

How long can a person wear their shoes on the wrong feet before the shape of their foot is altered?  I have two grandchildren for whom wearing shoes or boots on the wrong feet seems not to matter at all – not to their physical comfort, their emotional stability, or to their worrying what others might think.  So … I bring my granddaughter to her day care with her feet looking rather erratic.  And I wonder … Should I tell them her father got her dressed this morning?  Should I make a point of it to say that she dressed herself?  Or should I just relax and let the whole thing go?

If I make too much of her choice for which feet she puts her shoes on, do I run the risk of adversely affecting her ego?  If I do nothing, do I risk her forever having deformed feet – all because I didn’t insist on her wearing shoes on the properly designated appendage?

Did Miley lick the sledge hammer because, when she was little, someone didn’t force her to wear her shoes on the correct feet?  Or … is she rebelling against having always been told what to do?  Or … did she just decide one day she wanted to ride naked on a wrecking ball while licking a sledge hammer while singing a song and making a video of it?  (When it’s put that way, the only thing more ludicrous than her actually doing that is that anyone would want to watch the video.)

You are “rock”, says Jesus to a man whose intellectual, emotional and spiritual spine was so fluid he could profess a faith profound in one breath, and completely disown and deny that faith in the next.  Peter took the shape of whatever pressure was dominant at the time.  But Jesus saw potential …

I’m reading a lot lately about an “emerging church”.  Is this “church” emerging the way a pot emerges from a lump of clay?  If so, whose hands are in the mud?  Is Christianity something we shape for ourselves?  Or is it something – or someone external whose presence shapes us?  Is living the gospel a little like trying to wear the shoes of justice and peace on the feet of selfishness, oppression and violence?  That is, Jesus seems to be working hard to shape how people think about life and relationships – here and now, then and forever.  And it’s not always a shape that immediately feels right.

Even those in the “emerging church” are expressing the desire not to have to always be creating the shape of the faith they are creating!  It’s exhausting work; and sometimes, when you are done, you have absolutely nothing to show for it.

Life seems to make a two-fold demand on us all.  In one case, we are water being forced to take the shape provided by immediate circumstances.  In the other case, reality is inviting us, or demanding us to form it and shape it as we see fit.   Always being shaped … and always shaping.  We are “free” within the limits of this mystery.

He leaves day care with boots and feet askew.  She walks in to day care with sneaker toes turned out and feet toes turned in.  I don’t know how they walk like that, to say nothing of run.  But they are my grandchildren – and they, along with all the children of their generation, represent the shape of things to come.


Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.