Becoming a Child of the Wind
The Faith and Practice of Evolutionary Christian Mysticism
In appreciation of the work of Bruce Sanguin.
To learn more about his work, click here.
Bruce Cockburn responding to the Wind
Artists in South Africa responding to the Wind: Elephant Street Art
Galaxies Responding to the Wind
Horses responding to the Wind
Rhizomes responding to the Wind
People responding to the Wind
Friends of justice responding to the Wind
Scientists responding to the Wind
Jesus responding to the wind
Introduction by Jay McDaniel
Readers of JJB know that there is a wind-like Spirit at work in the world and throughout the universe in whose currents we can walk. One of our writers, Patricia Adams Farmer, tells us that to the degree that we walk in these currents, we become wide-hearted and open-minded, embracing the world in a spirit of love. She calls it becoming a Fat Soul. See her Fat Soul Manifesto, which I helped co-write.
This wind-like Spirit is named and felt in different ways. John Cobb calls it the Spirit of Creative Transformation; I speak of it as God's Breathing; others call it Love; and Bruce Sanguin calls it the Wind. It can be felt and known without being named and it does not require "being believing in."
True, believers can walk in the Wind. The many world religions, at their best, are ways of walking in the Wind in one way or another. But skeptics can also walk in Wind, and so can the vast majority who are somewhere in between. Gateways to the Spirit are an open-mind and generous heart, a curiosity about the world and a respect for life. Formal belief in the Spirit is not a requirement for participating in it.
Many of the world's religions have been spawned by Wind-walkers. In the story below, you'll find Bruce Sanguin suggesting that Jesus was a child of the Wind, inviting us to walk with him and share in his journey. He was Jewish, but he was much more interested in Wind-walking than in religious affiliation. That's why he was so radical. He became, in his own way, a living prayer flag.
Living prayer flags are people who flow with the Wind. They know that this Spirit – this Love -- is always freeing and liberating, even as it has many modes. It can be softer than a sigh or stronger than a hurricane, quieter than a whisper or louder than a thunderstorm, but always it is on the side of life and its flourishing.
We fall short of its guidance if we see it as all-powerful; it is never coercive but always persuasive, perpetually adapting to each new situation but never abandons us. The Wind is a muse for creativity, a catalyst for curiosity, an invitation to wonder, and a call to love and justice. We can trust this Breathing but never contain it. We fall into sadness -- indeed, into sin -- when try to catch the Wind and make a "thing" of it. The heart of fundamentalism lies in trying to catch and contain the Wind. That's why Jesus was not a fundamentalist.
We walk in the Wind, becoming prayer flags ourselves, when we love our neighbors as ourselves and when we feel small but included in a larger universe that is more than us and yet somehow embraces us. In The Way of the Wind: The Faith and Practice of Evolutionary Christian Mysticism, a theologian from Canada, Bruce Sanguin, shows how biblical storytelling and cosmic wonder can come together helping us become children of the Wind. The musician Bruce Cockburn sings to us a similar point in his "Child of the Wind." Please enjoy this excerpt and the music:
The Way of the Wind