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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Center

A poster for a performance with a woman laying on a windmill holding a fan with her foot.

Every now and then I am awestruck by the cultural opportunities offered in our coastal town of Wilmington. One of those unique experiences landed at the Wilson Center this week. 

The show was called “Cirque Mechanic: Zephyr.”  ENan and I had seen the well-known “Cirque du Soleil” perform several years ago and figured this must be along the same lines.  It was!  The evening was filled with performers leaping through hoops feet first, a man juggling 5 bowling pins while tumbling across the stage, a woman doing ballet while hanging by her hair, a man doing one-arm handstands on a pole 25 feet in the air.  Every act was amazing and entertaining and made my palms sweaty.

Maybe the most jaw-dropping act of the night was by a woman who left a career designing apps for mobile devices in order to study contortion and foot-archery in Mongolia.  (Now that is not something you see on a resume every day.)  Her performance consisted of shooting a bow and arrow using only her feet while she was hanging upside-down, suspended high above the stage.  Amazingly, she hit the target, much to the relief of the folks seated on the first three rows.

I have done enough archery to know that hitting a target is not as easy as it looks.  Most of my arrows have veered to the right or the left or never made it as far as the target.  I cannot imagine the skill and training it took to be able to shoot an arrow, using only your feet, hanging upside-down and scoring a bulls-eye.  Bravo!

Seeing the show reminded me of the different images the Bible uses to describe sin.  One image is that of crossing a line.  God says, “Thou shalt not…” and we say, “I’m going to anyway.”  That is sin.  The Bible uses another image that is more like archery.  The definition is not so much deliberate disobedience as it is missing the mark.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  Whether by carelessness, selfishness or by not being intentional about our words and deeds, we fail to love others in the way God intends. When we miss the mark, people get hurt, oftentimes the people who are closest to us. 

This is why we all need forgiveness and grace from God.  The good news is that we don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops to receive it.

Dr. Jim Baldwin

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