I’m thrilled to unveil Reluctant Mysticism’s new logo!
Created and designed by my friend and pastor, Jailyn Corbin, it visualizes some prominent themes that have repeatedly shown up in my life.
The blue and yellow represent water and light. Both elements, created to fill rather than to fit, remind me that fitting into space isn’t always who I’m supposed to be. Water and light take the shape of the space that they’re in while remaining fully and powerfully what they are, even if I’d rather wish they weren’t.
Offering hydration and illumination, sustenance and daytime, even drowning and blindness, their reasons to exist are as dynamic as their ebbs and flows. Their movements allows them to be present in any place entirely and completely, even changing their states, while remaining what they are at their deepest levels.
The flower shape reminds me of the connection I have to the earth: I am created from dust and to dust I shall return. No matter how busy I am during the course of a day, I must make intentional time to spend with nature. The black line of the flower reminds me of the interconnectedness of all things.
What about the cross in the middle?
For some of you, this can be very off-putting. I understand that. Religious imagery and symbolism is wrought with our deepest psychic and emotional responses to the core of the universe. For many folks, walking away from such imagery altogether is not rebellion or rejection, but rather survival. And that is okay. It’s more than okay, it’s amazing! Finding new life after death is always a reason to celebrate.
For me, believing in a divine God in the person of Jesus Christ is life-giving. For many years it wasn’t. For a long time, I lived under a veil of shadows sewn together by shame, fear, loneliness, and despair. Oddly enough, this person of Jesus wasn’t the source of such shadow. It was more the organized institution heaping darkness upon darkness on to me. That was what had to change.
I spent a brief time — perhaps a year — quietly see-sawing between agnosticism and atheism. Ultimately I found those communities to be unhelpful for me in terms of belief systems. There was a dominant ethos of smugness and condescension towards religion and spirituality. Often claiming that because religion was worse than atheism/agnosticism, such circles justified an often exclusive culture of inflated hubris.
It was then I realized that, even if I didn’t have sufficient answers or healthy community in the Christianity of my youth, I still needed and wanted to believe in something. And that was okay! But I wasn’t going to find supportive networks in my current circles to help me on my journey back.
One friend approached me quietly — a devout atheist — and confessed: “It’s true. We are a community of elitists. I will live and die by my principles regarding anything to do with a deity, but I can’t justify the ways we’ve come to treat others who believe differently. That’s not community. But with the sickness within religion and the condescension in atheism, I really can’t tell you where to go to find what you’re seeking.”
Are all atheists, agnostics, or anti-theists condescending elites? Of course not. I share amazing fellowship with folks whose beliefs and principles are vastly different from my own. I’m only narrating my own experiences within two specific communities that impacted me in specific ways — conservative Christianity and atheism. Other people have widely different experiences. And that’s okay.
Jesus, as God’s expression of love on earth, is the Source of life for me. It is a living love (like the flower), interconnecting with all things (like the line), and is able to fill any space it enters (like water and light). Because it is alive and moving, I can explore it, receive it, move in it, and find life in it. It is not static in such a way that it would demand me to remain still for all eternity. That would spell certain death for all time. Because it is Life itself, I can experience and value life.
Thank you, Jailyn, for such a wonderful logo! If you want to check out some of Jailyn’s other work, go to That Geeky Lady Pastor — The Gospel According to Mark. It’s a terrific illustration of Jesus’ life, work, and community!