Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Broke My Heart, The Final Chapter

Help me to understand:

I'm standing here with blood dripping from the gaping wounds on my hands
and you're telling me
that my story of pain means
I don't have the capacity
to indict the ones who inflicted the wounds?

I Only Debate Those I Trust

I used to share a lot about differing political, theological, and moral views. Lately, my writings have focused more on the poetic, the pastoral, the mystical experience of the radical grace of God, and far less on the academic. And there's a few reasons for that: as much as I love an intelligent discussion between people who disagree, in the world of Christianity, there are many who feel that it is their responsibility to call out heresy and to continue calling it out ad nauseum until everyone else in the discussion wishes they would be quiet and actually engage in the arguments being presented.

I find such activities to be a waste of my time. I discuss these big, deep, complex ideas with people I trust and respect. Those who want to put me through their own version of the Inquisition don't have that privilege.

Go Ahead and Try

Go ahead and say, "The Bible clearly says."

But don't for one second attempt to comfort yourself with the delusion that if your beliefs come from the Bible no one is allowed to criticize those beliefs.

This is not a theocracy, this is no inquisition.

I don't doubt that you sincerely believe that the Bible clearly says such and such a doctrine. But since when did sincerely believing something mean that I don't get to call you out for the pain those beliefs cause others?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Animals On Earth, As It Is In Heaven (for Duncan, Heloise, and Keeya)

Perhaps, if you're the sort who only finds a theological idea palatable to your mind if it is based solely on syllogisms and the declarative sentences of accepted authorities, the following will not appeal to you. Not because it is illogical, or because it doesn't take into account authorities on the matter, or because it is anti-intellectual, but because it is also based on lived experience, on the tangible and yet also the mystical and poetic, and on the sneaking suspicion that things aren't only as they appear in an outlined argument on crisp white paper.

But what I must say is this: this impoverished notion--that all creation begins and ends only on this side of earth except for human life--that has invaded the theology of many friends of mine who claim devotion to Christian religion, frustrates me to no end.

The best I can surmise, the argument comes from the idea that human beings were created in the image of God, and that must mean nothing else merits eternal life, that nothing else has a soul.  Tell me, of all the things in holy writ to take to be exclusionary, why did we decide that because humans were made in God's image, that other creatures, with unique visages and personality, weren't going to live eternally, that they don't have their own animal souls, their animus, that will carry them through this life to the next?

And of all the things in holy writ that many insist on interpreting literally, why couldn't it be literally true that all creation praises God? Why can't the trees truly exult, why can't the puppies offer their praise?

You might answer,"Because they have no soul." I retort, "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio."

If creation groans with us for redemption why can't it also be the recipient of it's benefits? Why can't the individual sunset maple of my childhood backyard and the cat I cradled in the light of the sunset while she looked out the window, frail and dancing on that border between life and death, benefit from the healing that will take place?

Perhaps, you might insist, the only reason I believe this is because my day to day work with animals makes me sentimental. But tell me dear one, if my Creator isn't sentimental, what is the point in creating at all?