Monday, July 26

Tuesday’s Thoughts: An Artful Response

OK. Well, this is sort of artful. It is in response to Psalm 31. My haiku:

Vulnerable babes
Hide in mother's wings
Sheltered from harm

A couple things that I noticed in response to this Psalm:

God is given many images in this Psalm, one which includes the "wings that shelter". Sheltering wings are a mother's job. So, the image is God as mother. Also, mother's can protect. It isn't just the father's job. This complicates the religious binary that becomes so much of the conversation. [Personal opinion: Let's lose the binary!]

The Psalmist is going through a lot of emotions in this poem/song. While they at once declare God is with them offering protection, they describe a lived reality in which God must feel a zillion miles away. They are depressed, scared, being gossiped about, and feel that their lives are threatened. That's a lot to feel. And, especially important for us, is that all this stuff is happening under God's gaze. God is not magically making a straight path, it is a queer path. (I could not resist the opposite of straight is queer).

This leaves a lot of contradictions living in the heart of this Psalm. But contradictions are okay. Scripture is a human construct. Our image of God (mother hen, father) is a human construct. Neither contains the Divine but both point the way towards an encounter with the Divine.

There is a saying, "It is not this or that but this and that."

But the truth of the matter is that the parent is tasked with caring for their vulnerable babies. In this real world we live in, that fails all too often. And, our government is responsible for removing the vulnerable from the very people that carry this task. Putting the children with institutions and people that will not carry this care and responsibility forward. We are creating a mess that will be upon the next generation as children whose development is stalled because of trauma begin to act their trauma out.

I often say of the children I work with who are incarcerated, "These are not children with a crime problem, they are children with a trauma problem."

At the same time I ask, "How can we possibly do this?" And the horror grips my heart in a vise, I see the God in the Bible portrayed in this same way. Killing babies, wiping out entire communities, destroying women who simply want to look back. The idea that God is contained in scripture is possibly at the heart of the horrible ways that we treat one another. "If it's okay for God, then it's okay for those created in the image of God." Is that the reasoning?

As I said the other day, please don't mistake the container for the thing.

Don't mistake the flour for the container (yucky cakes!).

Don't mistake a photo for a person.

Don't mistake a man for a woman (based on a flimsy understanding of gender).

Don't mistake a travel guide for a country.

Don't mistake the Bible for God.

Amen? Amen!

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