Sunday, August 25, 2013

Such Wonder!

Out of the void
       God called forth life.
              It was good!

Through millenniums
       that call expanded and continued.
              Marvelous diversity!

Then came beings with awareness
       who could look back and ahead,
              to know and comprehend.

Life flowed on and on . . .
       Marvelous complexity
              ever expanding thru eons.


And one day against all odds of possibility
       I came into being
              . . . and was to become a conduit

Life continued through me:
       My baby, my child.
              Mine, but not wholly mine,
                     rather, life's own.

Such Wonder!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Retelling the Story

I initiated this blog with the prose poem Un-Named God because it captures the central concerns of my 'serious thoughts'; next, I turn to one of my journals for some stray thoughts.  In this entry from a decade ago; I was thinking about how different perspectives change things and how our images of God are formed.  In scripture stories there are essential messages, but both the message and our images of God are colored by the story told.

                                                                                                            December 17, 2004

Thoughts . . .

          Men and women see the world through different eyes and express understanding with different voices.
          Each human awareness is colored by the observer.
          When we turn to scripture, what we know of God comes through words of individual men. 
          Accepting that God’s message is true . . . we might ask: how has it been effected by those who are giving voice to the message?
          And we might ask further: where are the women’s voices?
          The voice as spoken becomes the ‘reality’ that shapes the living.

          And what is ‘divine inspiration’?  I doubt that God dictated any story whole to anyone; rather, one received the essence of a thought/idea, weighed it against Truth as he understood it, then wrote it into a story        __      thus did the Bible come into being.

          The first thing the Bible tells of is creation; followed by the appearance of the human and the condition of innocence, lost innocence, and consequences.

Retelling the Story

          If we look at Genesis—the very beginning of scripture—as written, the story is told of God placing the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the center of the Garden of Eden and forbidding the human couple to eat of the fruit . . . but Satan tempts them, saying they will be like God if they eat the fruit.  The woman picks the fruit and eats, then gives it to the man to eat . . . (here we see the male author blaming women for original sin . . . and thus justifying millenniums of oppression of women and establishing the superiority of the male gender) and then we see God, learning they disobeyed, so in anger, drives them from the Garden.

          Had a woman written the story it might have gone differently . . .

          In the beginning, God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, saying to the human couple it was their choice to eat or not; but for their own good he cautioned them not eat it because it was the nature of The Garden to hold only the good, so if they ate of the fruit and came to know evil (it would become part of them) they would have to leave. They would then have to make their own way in the world.
          When Satan told them that if they ate the fruit they’d know all things like God, Adam became restless.  He wanted to be like God.  He was curious, ‘what was this thing called evil?’ and he longed to see that world beyond the Garden.  He talked of adventure to Eve, how exciting it would be to explore the unknown.  She’d listen and agree that it sounded interesting, but she was more content with the garden and it didn’t seem wise to go against God’s advice.  One day as they sat under the tree Adam said:
          “Eve, reach up and pick me one of the fruit.”
          “I think that’s not a good idea” she said.
          He laughed and said, “Come on, Hun, trust me, it will be OK.”
          “But God said not to”
          “No, God just advised against it—and how do we know what we are missing if we don’t’ try it?”
          “No, we shouldn’t” she pleaded.
          “Come on, if you really love me you’ll do it.”
          “Well,  . . . I don’t know.”
          “Go ahead, just pick one.  That one right above your head.”
          As she reached up gingerly, he said, “Great going, Hon!  Now take a bite and give it to me.”  She did.
          After a while as the awareness of evil seeped into them, they knew they could no longer live there.  Together they walked out of the garden as God watched them leave with great sadness, knowing the tribulation ahead.

          If we distill each story to the basic point, we find the same essence in each: The garden can only be occupied by the innocent, in human nature there is a desire to be god-like, to know all things, and the lure of the forbidden is strong.  God gave human brings the freedom of choice; with that freedom they often make choices to their own detriment.

          But the basic point is cloaked in a story, and the story often eclipses the point.  In the masculine story we see the character of God as demanding, wrathful and punishing.  We see blame assigned only to the woman.  In the feminine story we see a God advising and explaining while leaving the choice open and the consequences spelled out.  We see an interaction between the man and woman, with the woman yielding to the man’s persuasion, pointing to shared responsibility . . . while a compassionate God sadly watches as the no-longer-innocent children go forth.

          Where is truth to be found?  In the essence only.   The story suggests a possibility, and different perspectives illuminate different possibilities.  When complex understanding is filtered through only one perspective truth is distorted.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Un-Named God

You are the un-named God
the soul-giver

Who or what you are
is a mystery requiring humble acceptance
not a problem demanding final solutions.

You gifted man with consciousness--
the invitation to participate in the mystery
by shaping the world he occupies.

Kings of the earth responded with arrogance--
employing the law of the jungle 
that “might means right”.

Each ruler interpreted the mystery differently
seeking to amass power and control.

                  - - -

Foolishly, men of power became god-namers
and for a time. . .

The god-namers ruled
presuming to control both God and men.

The god-namers ruled
dividing humanity into controllers and the controlled

The god-namers ruled
luxuriating in glamour and arrogance

The god-namers ruled
losing the quest for the Holy Grail.

- - -

How wise the admonition
to not utter God’s name!

We ignored it to our peril--
we named You and contained You;

We locked You within dogmas,
confined You to denominations;

We borrowed your power to levy control,
stole from You your glory to praise our creations;

We molded and made You into our images,
choosing and selecting what pleased our design.

- - -

We are the inheritors of all that came before
We’ve misinterpreted what and who You are,
We’ve misconcluded who and what we are!

And so history unfolded. . .

Till finally the controlled awakened,
forever beyond blind obedience.
They looked and saw the illusion--
The gods named weren’t as they’d been told!

They saw empty dogma and warring denomination,
They saw corrupted power and tainted glory, 
They saw false idols and self-serving gestures.

Ordinary men turned, first on the god-namers,
--then on God!

Yet foolishly they accepted the divisions of 
controllers and controlled

And everyone raced to be in charge
while denying responsibility for control.

The 20th Century ‘common man’
Intrigued by the proclamation
of God’s death
tried it on and in so doing, brought about
...his own

Meaninglessness. . . 

- - - 

The structure of civilization 
  has been built upon domination and control.
The hope for its continuation 
  hangs upon humankind freely embracing true Wisdom.
The formula is there for us to discover
Beyond controllers
Beyond dogmas

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
“Love one another”
“Go and sin no more”
“Forgive your enemies” 
                               - - -

Is it that God IS NOT. . .
Is it that God is beyond our containing?
--our naming?

God is Unity, Totality, Infinity
God is Love, Justice, Truth
God is Benevolent Transcendent Power.

- - -

Without God upon whom to center
my life,
My Life becomes the center of 
my universe.

Exit warmth and compassion,
honor and integrity:

“Take care of #1!”
“If it feels good, do it!”
“Grab what you can, it’s only once around!”
“The one who dies with the most toys wins!”

- - -

But we’re made to seek God
It’s programmed into our being
so imitations fill the vacuum:
sex replaces Love
legalisms replace Justice
data replaces Truth
and the almighty dollar replaces Benevolent

We’ve become the hollow men!

- - -

Louder, Faster!
Louder, Faster!!  Hide the hollowness!                                                                                                                           
But no matter how loud and how fast
there are moments of 
self alone with self
and the hollow places echo
the absence of the soul
. . . another suicide
                                 and more senseless violence.

Here and there, a tear is shed, a cry is heard
another tear, another cry
and another, and another. . .
till the Louder and Faster
aren’t loud enough or fast enough
and we finally realize

There’s a cry echoing across the land. . .

The cry of a hollow generation
wailing for its lost soul!

With our own hands, we fashioned hell!
We refuse to see how we did it to ourselves--
We not only named God, but dictated the spelling

- - -

But You are the un-named God
The soul-giver

I know you by your absence.

When we turn from You
we dispossess our soul--
soon to discover
we are the hollow men.

Without You we cannot save ourselves
                            from ourselves.

Only in Your presence do we partake of the mystery--
Only in Your presence do we reach beyond ourselves--
Only in Your presence do we find fulfillment.