"What Canoes Taught Me About Truth" or "The Rhythm of Paradox"



Sploosh! Puuuuush.


Sploosh! Puuuuush...

The cadence of canoeing is something like that. Your form is probably better than mine, but that's the gist of it,  unless you have a partner with you. Left, right, left, right — like a march. It's fun; it's relaxing. I love cruising along and letting my mind wander...

I do know one little detail about the art: it doesn't work unless you paddle on both sides. It's the only way to move forward. If you don't, you'll go around in little circles and not get anywhere. It's silly and infective.

Me, I'm constantly trying to figure life out.

I probably get lost in my head more than lots of humans, but I know we're all trying to figure out our brief existence. Personally, I like it when things are clear. Like...

Fact: The world is round.

Fact: The circumference of the world at the equator is 24,902 miles.

Thus, if I travel around the equator at 24,902 miles per hour, I'll be back in the same spot in an hour.

Bing! How tidy is that? Measurable, empirical, reliable. 

But there are many things that are far trickier, paradoxes that aren't so cut-and-dried.

Take, for example, this whopper:

Is God omnipotent and sovereign?


Do men have freewill?

Uh huh.

Thus, I can conclude that…. I uh…. wait… that…. shoot.

Welp. That's where I'd bring in the canoeing. There's a bit of a left/right motion to it. See, God knows the second you lock onto one idea you'll start spinning in circles.

"God is totally in charge. He'll deal with ISIS, who gets to be president, my marriage problems. I trust him. In fact, to demonstrate my faith I'll see what's on Netflix!"

Paddle left, left, left, left...

"We have freewill. Humans are responsible for this mess on earth and we have to fix it. It's all up to us!"

Paddle right, right, right, right...

And we argue with our brothers and sisters who are using the other stroke.

"Those silly Calvinists don't understand the power of paddling on the right. If only they could learn to paddle on the left like me."

I'd submit a healthy way to be is something like:

"God is totally in control."

Paddle left.

"God trusts me and longs to partner with me."

Paddle right.

"What strange and wonderful mystery this is!"

Yes, you are moving forward, friend.

"I see that I desperately need grace and can do nothing without God."

Paddle left.

"I will act in accordance with God's will."

Paddle right.

"God is so much bigger than I can fathom!"

And now you're cruising.

So for some truths we may need to get used to a certain rhythm of learning, knowing that God is the keeping the beat. We grow deeper and deeper in our understanding as we participate in this beautiful cycle.

God, you are so much greater than I can get my head around. Please teach me your way, and show me how to live in the rhythm of paradox. Mostly help me stay in wonder of you.