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Showing posts from November, 2010

Grace in the Structures

The spiritual tradition I grew up in doesn't allow for privacy, for internal space. Without symbolism, we can have no boundaries or interiors, and thus the outside (which can't really exist, as with a Mobius strip) comes in. We implode and are violated. There is nothing real inside.
Pastors tell us that Christianity must take over our lives; thus, we lose our grasp of who we really are. Appropriate and distinctive relationships are blurred into gray by the term fellowship. We are told that the Holy Spirit within us guides our consciences so that we know what is right; guided thus by three abstract, vague, and invisible concepts, we give way to the pressure of outside definitions of goodness.
My life has been a perfect expression of gnosticism.
***
My friend lent me a fascinating book once. Those Terrible Middle Ages addressed common misunderstandings about the Middle Ages, and pointed out that with Christianity came gradual emancipation for women, children, and slaves. That concep…

The Same but Different

So this weekend I was tired so I

slept in and just did what I felt like
and didn't feel guilty and i

was brave and talked to people and normally I'd be too shy,

and I didn't go to church. and bought a latte even though I'd already had tea
and bought a book for myself. to read. for fun.

And i have places I'm going and I'm going because now i know it's okay,
to do what I want
it's okay
to have a place

and all the things I thought I couldn't have because they were bad

The Happy God

Lately I have found myself drawn by crucifixes. I've never been the type to talk sweetly of Jesus and all He did for me. I prefer not to think in detail about His death agonies, and I'm tired of drumming up sticky sadness and slavish gratitude by contemplating my sins that held Him on the cross. If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times: The cross shows you how much God loves you. He came to earth, dirtied His hands, suffered and died for you, the human worm, so you could go to heaven when you died.

It doesn't make me feel loved. It makes me feel tolerated, sacrificed for, needed, controlled. Not loved.

But I've been learning a lot about love lately. Real love isn't performance based. People who really love you are just crazy about you, and they don't care if you're Hitler. People who really love you want you to be happy and they want you to love them back, but they don't want to control you or make decisions for you.

When I think about …

Why Be?

. . . because I buy flowers. And today one vase wasn't enough for them all, so there's one bouquet on my dresser and another on the shelf.
. . . because I got a new haircut.
. . . because it's fun to write again. So I'm writing a novel. And last night, working on it, I felt happy.
. . . because a friend told me to watch 30 Rock, and Alec Baldwin is flawlessly hilarious.
. . . and live chamber music in the evening and the acoustics were perfect, and yesterday I made a list of the people that love me. And a golden retriever who never gives up hope for an extra morsel of food from the kitchen counter. An autumn-leaved tree, straight-trunked, out my window. Finally admitting all the things that never made sense, and holding my breath, wondering, thinking maybe . . . all the things I once hoped for, could they be possible?