God

Window

“If God were living on earth, people would break His windows.”
–Yiddish Proverb

"Window",  Nikon D700, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/160th sec., 125mm

“Window”, Nikon D700, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/160th sec., 125mm

=^..^=

Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings throughout Central Florida.

God Waits by the Window

“If our concept of God is wrong, the more religious we get, the more dangerous we are to ourselves and others.”
—William Temple

I can no longer in good conscience call myself a Christian, the term having been thoroughly misappropriated by a legalistic, self-righteous, self-destructive, segregationist, pharisaic, oppressive and judgmental sect of religionists whom are nothing like Jesus.

“God Waits by the Window”, Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/5.6 at 1/640 sec., 180mm

“God Waits by the Window”, Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/5.6 at 1/640 sec., 180mm

=^..^=

Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings
throughout Central Florida.

Idol Hope

“Whatever controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by acceptance. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives.”
― Rebecca Manley Pippert,
Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World

"Idol Hope", Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/8 at 1/125 sec., 78mm

“Idol Hope”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/8 at 1/125 sec., 78mm
Click the image to view larger size.

=^..^=

Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, personal, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida

Be sure to visit my booth at Space Coast Pride this Sunday, May 25th!
Wickham Park Pavilion, 3701 Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL

Cross of Shadows: A Question of Character

WARNING: Today’s photo comes with a bit of a personal soap box. Thanks for indulging me.

 

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
— 1 John 4:8

Perhaps it’s all the hoopla and undeserved attention Phil Robertson is getting that compels me to write today’s post. I’ll be the first to admit it contains a great deal of an entirely personal rant based on entirely personal perception. I hope you’ll excuse me for adding another voice to the chaos.

As a second-class citizen currently denied the rights given to others, I quite often encounter those who think of themselves as Christians acting as voices for hate rather than love. To that point, today’s post is intended as a bit of a reality check. It is quite clear that A FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH has been put aside in the practice of the Christian faith, one which concerns me greatly. It is the question of God’s character and the failure of most denominations to understand and conform their teachings to this simple and critical truth.

The Bible teaches that God is love. (1 John 4:8). But what exactly does that mean? Let’s start by looking at what it does not mean: It doesn’t mean that God is loving. You and I can be loving, but we cannot be love. Only God can do that. Since scripture should always be used to interpret scripture, we can look at 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 – 8 for a definition of love. And here’s where I’m going to ask you to do something different. Instead of reading these familiar verses as a revelation of what love is, understand them as a revelation of who God is. I’ve substituted “God” where “love” occurs in the scripture to help you see it.

“4 Love God is patient, love God is kind, it He isn’t jealous, it He doesn’t brag, it He isn’t arrogant, 5 it He isn’t rude, it He doesn’t seek His own advantage, it He isn’t irritable, it He doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it He isn’t happy with injustice, but is happy with the truth. 7 Love God puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love God never fails…”

Why isn’t this what churches — and Christians — are teaching today? How many times have you heard preachers hurl from the pulpit endless strings of admonishment about God being angry, eager to throw sinners into hell? How can this be reconciled with the clear scriptural evidence of God’s character? Who should you choose to believe, the Bible or your pastor? Yes — the Bible does say to “fear God”, but is the concept of “fear” communicated the kind that leaves us quaking with terror in a corner somewhere, incapable of having a relationship with Him? How can you truly love someone you’re taught to be afraid of? No, it means to look upon Him with awe and respect, reconciled to the truth that there is and can be no greater focus for our love and allegiance.

And what’s truly beautiful about that is the fact that God’s character is unchanging. Can you say the same about your understanding of Him? I hope not. “Judgment Day”, rightly understood, is not so much about how we are judged by God as it ultimately is about how we have judged Him. I may not be trained in theology, but I have spent my life studying God’s Word and seeking to know Him, despite the attitude of the church toward me. Though it would be nice to be accepted into a church family on the sole fact that I love God and seek to have a relationship with Him, I don’t need other believers to validate and confirm God’s love for me. I am grateful for the fact that God is love, even though most Christians are not even loving. Phil Robertson, and those like him, would do well to revisit Scripture and do so with an open mind and a spirit of understanding. Until they do, it’s not God they are serving, but His antithesis. Simply put, if it’s not love that motivates you, it’s not God.

"Cross of Shadows" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 3200, f/1.8 at 1/80 sec. handheld, 50 mm

“Cross of Shadows” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 3200, f/1.8 at 1/80 sec., 50 mm

I would appreciate a vote from you in the 2013 Cool Photo Blog Awards. Just click here and you’re done. Thanks for your support!

=^,,^=

Social Engagements

Follow me on Instagram at @EarlHarrisPhoto, where I am posting photos (and quite a few kitty pics!) captured and edited on my iPhone. #herekittykitty #instagramcats

Tweeting from @EarlHarrisPhoto

Living Through Death

At 7:15 AM on Thursday morning, 12 September 2013, the love of my life closed his eyes and won his 5-year battle with cancer. He will no longer play host to this hellish disease. No more will it eat away and destroy his body. No more hospice workers, medications, blood draws, infusions, scans and probes. Because cancer rendered him incapable of swallowing, no more must he agonize from going over 40 days without nutrition, save small amounts of water misted into his mouth with a squirt bottle so he could just let moisture trickle down his throat. No more will it cause him to worry about those he leaves behind. Yes, James won his fight with cancer, despite the fact it claimed his life.

To know James was to know a man of great faith. He had no fear of death and no fear of dying. He only feared what his death would do to those cherished loved ones he would leave behind. I believe that James won his battle, despite the fact cancer took him from us.  I believe this because, while it took his body, it did not take our love. It did not take our hope. It did not take our memories. It did not take the warmth that stirs in the heart when we think of James. It didn’t erase the impact he had on so many lives nor what he meant to so many people. It didn’t destroy friendships. It didn’t erase the innumerable acts of kindness and charity that James performed throughout his life. It didn’t unrescue all the animals he so compassionately rescued nor his ability to always put others before himself. It didn’t undo the joy that I learned comes from serving the one you love; from giving of yourself completely in order to care for their every need in any way you can.

In October, James and I would have celebrated 22 years together. During the course of these years, James taught me what it truly meant to love others. He provided a daily example of the life and vitality that comes from having a relationship with God – even if you’re gay. Prior to getting too sick to do so, each morning as James would get out of bed, he would walk straight to our bedroom window, raise the blinds, look outside and thank God for another day of life — another day for us to be together and another day to be with Him. By his examples, he taught me so many lessons with no awareness that he was doing so.

iPhone selfie moments after we were married in D.C.

iPhone selfie caught moments after we were married in D.C.

On June 26, when we first heard the news on MSNBC that the Supreme Court had struck down DOMA, James – not feeling too great after a chemo treatment – looked at me from his bed. With tears in his eyes and a smile on his face, he asked me to marry him. It is one of two moments I shall forever cherish. The second was July 29th, when – despite being weak and unusually sick from chemo, James insisted we stick to our plans to fly to Washington D.C. to be married, returning home the same day. Those few minutes it took for Rev. Cedric Harmon to officiate as we exchanged our vows in the shade of a tree on the courthouse lawn are among the best minutes of my life; I have never been so proud. That the events around DOMA unfolded in such a way and a time that James and I could realize our long-held dream of getting married was a blessing and a gift.

The photo of James below was taken in June, when his sister and childhood friend TC were down for a visit. We drove over to Canaveral Seashore, and I managed to capture this shot of James looking out at the water from the safety of the wooden steps leading from the parking lot to the sand. I was pleased because James hated having his photo taken and seldom would let me do it. I think he probably knew it would be one of the last times I’d ask.

As I heal from my grief and begin to refocus my energies back toward photography and building my business here in Central Florida, posts on I Shutter at the Thought! will resume and eventually take on some regularity again. Thank you for your support during what has been a consuming and stressful time. So many of you have reached out to me and offered me words of much needed encouragement, support and prayers. Please know your efforts have sustained me.

"James" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 100, f/2.0 at 1/5000 sec., 50 mm

“James” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 100, f/2.0 at 1/5000 sec., 50 mm

In closing, I include this video from Carly Simon, which I was thrilled to find on YouTube. It is my favorite version of a song I often sang to myself and subjected James to as I cared for him over the last year, when things got so bad. It’s a song about light, for a person who was a light and a beacon for so many.

=^,,^=

Find me on Instagram at @EarlHarrisPhoto, where I am posting photos captured and edited solely on my iPhone. If you like cats, I seem to be posting a lot of photos of them there… #instagramcats

Long Out of Gas But Not Out of Go

Very special prayers for peace, healing and understanding in the wake of the evil and cowardly bombings in Boston yesterday.

“Love one another…”; “love your neighbor…”; “love one another as yourself…”; “love your enemies…”; “God is love…”
Why don’t we get it? Why can’t we do it?

Today’s photo is another one from last week’s Daytona Beach photo walk. What appears from this image to be an old gas station is, in reality, now a popular and thriving local drinking establishment. So I guess it’s fair to say people fuel up around here, just in a very different way.

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/180 sec, 52 mm

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/180 sec, 52 mm

=^..^=

You know the drill: if you like a post, please Like or comment on it. I consider each one a virtual hug, and I need lots and lots of hugs. God bless!

Crucified

I gave in, and admitted that God was God.
– C. S. Lewis

Nikon D300, ISO 320, 1/45 sec. at f/22, Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8

Your likes, shares, ratings and comments are most appreciated.

Photography Prints