life in the suture zone...

In the earthquake faults between tectonic plates, the suture zone is the in between place where they meet. I find in that a metaphor for the times in which we live... and invite your conversation in the suture zone.

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Location: Bakersfield, CA, United States

... a struggling, but mostly joyful, apprentice of Jesus.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Well, I missed posting the last two days. The first day I overslept. My taxi ran off without me. The dispatcher was surly in ordering another one. I was surly back. I was late to my meeting. I ranted some at lunch with my fellow-workers about the state agency we are contracted with, bemoaning the lack of sequential planning and preparation that we often see in rollouts. Then yesterday morning I had to repack all the junk I had brought with me.

And other things. ;-)

Anyway, it was just a difficult four days away.

Enough whining. Onto the blog post for today...

Don’t know that it made the national news or not, but yesterday in the early afternoon PDT we had an earthquake near Bakersfield. Actually, we had at least three quakes: the first at magnitude 4.0, the second at 4.9 and the third at 3.0 on the intensity scale. I haven’t checked out the USGS website to see if any were aftershocks, but it doesn’t really matter. The ground rocked and rolled.

And I wasn’t even here.

Don’t you just hate that?

Some felt it, some did not.

Where I would normally be is on the 7th floor of our building in downtown Bakersfield. We feel all of the feel-able nearby earthquakes. Being up seven stories magnifies the sense of how big the earthquake is. And so I am told they evacuated the building for a short time. This happens two or three times a year. My wife, who works less than a mile away at a school site, didn’t even feel the quake. I’m not surprised at that with a 3.0 quake. But a 4.9 does a good bit of shaking and the epicenter was only about 30 miles away. Sometimes people are distracted, or they are driving and don’t notice (if the quake is small enough as these were) or they are asleep or otherwise occupied. And they miss the quake though they were right in the middle of it. There are actually hundreds of earthquakes in California each week that no one but the USGS and earthquake researchers know about or pay attention to. They are called microquakes. No one can feel them. It takes a lot of very sensitive equipment to even detect them. But the landscape, and most importantly the foundations of the landscape deep below the surface of the earth, are constantly changing.

Besides the fact that I’ve named this blog Life in the Suture Zone, why all of this about quakes?

Isn’t this a pretty good description of what is going on with society and within the church in regard to the changes from the modern to the post-modern?

Some say there are no earthquakes. They don’t feel them therefore they don’t exist. Or they name them something else (e.g., the consequences of sin). Others feel them but accept them as a fact of life and don’t acknowledge the changes or the need for change that come with them. They continue to live in unreinforced masonry buildings and refuse to keep an emergency kit with water and blankets and such somewhere where a falling house or fireplace won’t crush them. Some seek psychotherapy in order to deal with these unsettling events. While still others recognize the change in landscape, and most importantly the foundations beneath it, and learn to live within it. Finally, some just move to Florida or Mississippi or Louisiana or Texas where they don’t have earthquakes.

There are a number of responses to earthquakes. Hopefully, you are able to discern the metaphors above without further explanation.

I believe we are living on the suture zone. There are earthquakes.

So how are you responding to the movement of the land?

* * * * *

On tomorrow’s post (I hope), knowing god 2.

Grace and peace,



Anonymous Wade said...

Hello all
I am glad to know that earth quakes happened because I experienced what I called dizzy spells and really wasn't dizzy it was earth quakes. I was on the roof when the bigger one happened and going up a ladder the second. I was going to the doctor to get checked out because I don't get dizzy. Thank you for the news. With respect to the way things are, living in the suture zone, I am glad to find some answers to why I feel like changes (dizzy) things are taking place. I can be glad because, change is happening to me and everyone else who chooses to allow God to change them, really change them. I once gave a sermon on things that happen whether we like it or not. I don't need to explain, if so please ask and I will be glad, but for how. God will change me much like the earth quakes will change Califonia and thanks be to God that those changes will be for my good.
Thank you Owen

11:04 PM  

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