We tried for awhile to land on a name for our new blog before deciding on Consider the Pigeons. We know it's odd. But to us it speaks to faith, joy, wisdom, beauty, and the wonderful challenge of life in San Francisco. It’s really a snapshot of who we are, what we think, and why we’re here, which is what we started this blog to share. It also still makes us smile. Let me explain.
Jesus taught a beautiful and famous sermon on anxiety and the Kingdom of God. After riffing on the dangers of greed and absurdity of materialism, He said, “Therefore, do not worry about your life.”
Oh really? Thanks Jesus. And how exactly are we supposed to do that?
“Consider the ravens,” He went on. “They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
“Consider how the lilies grow,” He continued. “They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you - you of little faith!
Consider the ravens. Consider the lilies. See how God cares for them.
These words, completely simple yet utterly profound, continue to reshape us. San Francisco is a neurotic city and our generation is riddled with anxiety. Worry is a contagion around here, to which neither of us are immune. We struggle with a fair dose of it ourselves. But the right kind of consideration truly is a cure. When we stop to notice and reflect upon the life around us, we find God there, and in Him lies rest for our souls. Incredibly, when we ponder the things around us rightly, peacefulness happens.
To me, it’s that last bit that makes this teaching so great. It’s a sermon on the world. You see, I used to think that religion and the world were somehow in opposition to each other, or that Christianity was just too high and mighty for the nitty gritty of normal life. But it’s just the opposite. That’s where Christ is and it’s what He taught on. The only religious portion of his sermon material was the humbling reference to rich, old Solomon. Otherwise, He chose ordinary examples of birds and flowers, typical to everyday life. In them, He said, you can find the very love, hope, and goodness of God.
Perhaps the greatest lesson is what the teaching implies. Wisdom isn’t confined to a book or a classroom. Grace isn’t trapped in a church. The wondrous love of God is spread generously across the face of the Earth. We see signs of Him in every microscopic speck of this great world which He created and continues to sustain. Goodness is pervasive here. Promise, hope, and sustenance surround us. These gifts flutter constantly about, everywhere before us, but we often fail to see them. Christ’s invitation is simply to notice and consider.
And the truth is, I never thought we could do that here. I’m a country boy, and city life is tough. I’ve been here over four years and even the size and texture of things still seem foreign and unnatural to me. There’s a lot of noise and very little green and everything seems rushed. Often, the secret grace feels all too-well hidden here, and the stillness required to seek it all too rare. But alas, it is here. We’ve found it. It sprouts up like little blades of grass between cement sidewalk slabs and flutters outside our window when we least expect it.
If Jesus were here in San Francisco, we think he’d probably tell us to consider the pigeons, and perhaps the oak trees in Golden Gate Park. To be honest, I’ve had a pretty tough time with that. We don’t get over to the park very often and there’s nothing within a mile of our home in SoMa that feels even remotely natural. Pigeons and a couple planter boxes are all we’ve got. And let’s face it, pigeons aren’t the loveliest creatures. They’re the rats of the skies. So I get bitter and resent this foggy concrete Neverland sometimes, both for all that it it is and all that it lacks. Bend, Oregon and New Zealand are nearly constant temptations. But I’d be remiss to ignore the treasure that we keep discovering here. Not just the city’s great coffee and amazing food, but beyond that. We’ve found more love and joy and Jesus in this crazy gray city than we’d know what to do with in a lifetime. The Kingdom of the Heavens is peeking through. True life is here and you can find glimmers of it even in the pigeons.
So Considering the Pigeons represents life for us here. We have to work a bit harder it seems to find God in the concrete details of San Francisco, but He has his hand on every weathered inch of it nonetheless. And life feels like a pigeon sometimes. It’s ruffled, messy, often downright ugly. But even then, there’s brilliant glory in it. As Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” Our task is merely to stop and consider it.
So that's what this blog is: A public journal of considerings. We hope you enjoy it!