Photographing God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life
Down-to-Earth Spirituality in an Networked World
Abraham rushed to the tent to Sarah and said, “Hurry! Take three measures of the finest flour! Kneed it and make rolls!” Abraham ran to the cattle to choose a tender and choice calf. (Genesis 18:6,7)
Abraham ran after a calf that ran away from him into a cave that was the burial place of Adam and Eve.
At the far end of the cave, he saw intense light emanating from an opening.
When he came close to the opening, he found himself standing at the entrance to the Garden of Eden.
About to enter the pristine garden, he remembered that his wife and three guests were waiting for lunch back at the tent.
What should he do? Should he trade Paradise for a barbeque?
The Bible tells us that he chose to return to the tent and join his wife in making a meal for their three guests.
Abraham realized that Paradise is what we create with our spouse at home.
Other visions of Paradise are either mirages or lies.
Adam and Eve had a vegetarian kitchen.
Spirituality emerged from our collaboration making a potato casserole for our guests.
We bought potatoes and scallions in Avi’s vegetable store and cottage cheese and grated yellow cheese in Bella’s grocery.
We baked the potatoes in the microwave, sliced them into the baking pan and covered them with the cheeses.
Miriam washed the scallions, cut them up, and sprinkled them over layers of cheese-covered potatoes.
After the casserole was baked, we served it to our guests.
Photograph God in Your Kitchen
This biblical narrative linked to revealing God in a contemporary kitchen is a posting from the “Torah Tweets” blog http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com that presents the core concept of this book that we can photograph God in all that happens in our everyday life. Although its ideas are derived from the Hebrew Bible and kabbalah, its message speaks to people of all religions and spiritual traditions.
The book begins by teaching you how to make an invisible God become visible through your creative lens. It draws on the ancient wisdom of kabbalah to help you recognize that you have been looking at God all the time and often missed the action. It helps you develop conceptual and practical tools for photographing God as divine light reflected from every facet of your life.
Having learned how to focus your lens on God wherever you look will help you create blog narratives gleaned from your reading the Bible creatively.
You will be encouraged to explore imaginative ways for blogging photographic sequences that link two stories – the story of your life as it unfolds and the enduring biblical story. You will learn creative ways to write accompanying tweet texts to disseminate worldwide through Twitter and other social media. 52 postings from the “Torah Tweets” blogart project that my wife, the artist Miriam Benjamin, and I created offers a model for your Bible blogging.
This book invites other couples who find the Bible an inspiration to celebrate their relationship by creating their own Bible Blog. Bible blogging can also be a meaningful way for individuals and families to reveal spirituality in their lives.
Our “Torah Tweets” blog is a dialogue between images and text. The images are photographs of God as the moving force in our lives. The text is composed of tweets, sentences of not more than 140 characters required by the Twitter social networking website. Limiting the number of words in the "Torah Tweets" blog posts is a creative challenge that imitates the Torah itself which does not waste words. Torah tweets are like bursts of bird song that sometimes gain a haiku-like poetic flavor. 140 is the numerical value (gematria) of the Hebrew word hakel, which means to gather people together to share a Torah learning experience as in Leviticus 8:3 and Deuteronomy 4:10.
"For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp." (Deuteronomy 23:15)
"Judaism does not direct its gaze upward but downward ... does not aspire to a heavenly transcendence, nor does it seek to soar upon the wings of some abstract, mysterious spirituality. It fixes its gaze upon concrete, empirical reality permeating every nook and cranny of life. The marketplace, the factory, the street, the house, the mall, the banquet hall, all constitute the backdrop of religious life." (R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik)
"It is not enough for the Jew to rest content with his own spiritual ascent, the elevation of his soul in closeness to G-d, he must strive to draw spirituality down into the world and into every part of it - the world of his work and his social life - until not only do they not distract him from his pursuit of G-d, but they become a full part of it." (R. Menachem M. Schneerson)
"If there is a religious agency in our lives, it has to appear in the manner of our times. Not from on high, but a revelation that hides itself in our culture, it will be ground-level, on the street, it'll be coming down the avenue in the traffic, hard to tell apart from anything else." (E. L. Doctorow)
"The first message that Moses chose to teach the Jewish people as they were about to enter the Land of Israel was to fuse heaven to earth, to enable the mundane to rise up and touch the Divine, the spiritual to vitalize the physical, not only as individuals but as an entire nation." (R. Abraham Y. Kook)