Beauty in the Ordinary
An inspiring collection of meditations for Lent or anytime
An inspiring collection of meditations for Lent or anytime
Beauty in the Ordinary illuminates the spiritual significance, the existential ambiguity, and the profound beauty of ordinary life. A richly illustrated collection of daily readings and accompanying reflections written by the late Rev. Samuel Johnson Lindamood Jr., Beauty in the Ordinary communicates Big Sam’s playful, realistic, humane, and deeply hopeful perspective on modern life. Love and death, forgiveness and friendship, suffering and hope: Lindamood addresses life’s ultimate concerns in his friendly, down-to-earth, and refreshingly honest voice. The book is ideal for Lent or any other season dedicated to spiritual and personal growth. After you’ve worked through the daily meditations, keep the book on your coffee table to share the amazing photographs with others. During his life, Sam’s compassion and wisdom were a profound blessing to his family, friends, and church community; now, through Beauty in the Ordinary, the same compassion and wisdom will be a blessing to anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual journey.
A young man recently converted to the faith by fundamentalist friends, tells me, “You know what Romans says, Reverend. ‘If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord…you will be saved.’” He was an attractive young man, sincere, but very narrow-minded.
A sweet young thing of New Age Awareness persuasion wanders over to talk about harmonic convergence and various gurus, “Well, we’re all searching for the same thing. All those different roads will lead to the same God.” Really? She certainly wasn’t narrow-minded, but it would have been difficult to put substance to what she believed.
Single-mindedness commits you to an idea (or a Person) that makes all other ideas and people fall into perspective. Narrow-mindedness is the acceptance of one idea (or one Person) to the exclusion of all others. Being single-minded makes you humble; being narrow-minded makes you arrogant.
— Sam Lindamood, Day 24, “Single-Minded Not Narrow-Minded”
Losing one’s self and finding one’s self are, paradoxically, part of the same experience. In the early nineteenth century, Scottish preacher Thomas Chalmers delivered a great sermon entitled, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” He observed that to have a new love is to be so captivated that all else loses significance. The lover feels more complete and denies self for the joy of giving to the beloved.
It is, then, our larger commitments that ultimately determine who we are. We may never pin down the one true self, but our better selves will surface as we commit ourselves to larger causes. “For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
— Sam Lindamood, Day 4, “What Does it Mean to Be a Person?”
"Beauty in the Ordinary is a gift you can give to others or yourself. If you invest even a few minutes to read a selection and savor the beauty of the photography, you will find your soul renewed, your eyes opened, and your heart enlarged. You'll catch your breath, and the beauty you experience in the book will help you find more beauty around and within you. This book is a treasure: profound, delightful, insightful."
In each of the last two years I have had dramatic encounters with mortality. The first time I was told that I might have a brain tumor and the second time that I might have had a heart attack. Further testing and waiting revealed that I was o.k. No damage, no tumor, nothing to fear.
What a relief! A wonderful sense of well-being arose within me. I felt almost euphoric. My senses were alert, if not eager. Things smelled better, tasted better, looked better, felt better. Most of the things that cause anxiety and stress in the normal course of my life simply faded from view, or at least no longer seemed so important. The problems could wait. I wanted NOW. It was time “to smell the roses.”
— Sam Lindamood, Day 23, “Facing Your Mortality”
I have sat in Pacific Grove, California, and watched hundreds of Monarch butterflies in a tree, thousands of them in the area. The citizens there hold an annual festival to honor their return. How beautiful they are as they waft their way through the summer air. They weren’t always so lovely, however, having gone through a miraculous change, a metamorphosis from cocooned pupa to magnificent winged creature. Now, they are a lovely image of resurrection possibility.
Metamorphosis according to the Oxford American Dictionary means “a change of form or character.” If God can work that miracle with the Monarch butterfly, why not with us? Some scientists believe that in time we will understand the process of butterfly metamorphosis. Perhaps, but that won’t change the miracle that there are such creatures of beauty.
— Sam Lindamood, Day 47, “The Miracle of Metamorphosis”
There are lot of people on spiritual journeys, struggling to find their way in a landscape where the available resources don’t fit. Give Beauty in the Ordinary a chance. Sam Lindamood’s spirituality is unorthodox, opinionated, generous, and full of wisdom that you can put into practice. Use it to chart your course through life, to cultivate virtues you prize, and to become a more loving and grounded person. Soak in the photographs and the readings. Ponder Sam Lindamood’s meditations. Become a better, more joyful, more self-aware person.
Sam, or “Big Sam” as he was often called due to his impressive height, was a dynamic preacher and gifted pastor whose ministry in Arizona and California churches nurtured and transformed generations of people. He believed that preaching was the expression of personality in relation to religious themes and he was master of the craft. That same combination of proclamation and personality is abundantly evident in the pages of Beauty in the Ordinary.
Sam intuitively grasped the ambiguity of religion, which helped him communicate with its cultured despisers. He was able to convey the benefits of religion without artificially or falsely idealizing it. He stood for tolerance and inclusiveness and against bigotry and fanaticism. And he changed the lives of countless people through his pastoral work and powerful preaching.