Friday, January 24, 2014

Claiming the Tornado

Recently I feel as if my life has been tossed into a tornado, and I'm spinning around and around just trying to catch my breath, find my balance, and spread my wings to fly within the mess. I've had discussions with people close to me about how I don't don't believe everything in the bible is 100% accurate and true. I don't base my whole life on a book. Hey, there's a lot of wisdom to be found in the bible. But really, if the God I worship really ordered whole cities to be destroyed (and that means sweet babies and chubby toddlers), then I can't follow a god like that. I believe in a God of Love, and Love doesn't destroy. It's not its nature. And that is simply one example of so many things I have a problem with in the bible.

Love nurtures, builds, creates, protects, and uplifts. God is Love. God is not death. I have stepped away from the bible and gained clearer understanding. I am also learning that my journey looks different from yours, and maybe you don't believe the same thing as me, but that's ok. Accept me as I am. I accept you as you are. We are each on our own paths. Sometimes those intersect, sometimes they go parallel, and sometimes they go in opposite directions.

 That doesn't mean one of us is evil, and the other is good. I'm human, so of course I wish you saw things the way I do, and it hurts when you don't. These feelings are real and I won't pretend they don't exist. I think you feel the same way. We are human, we do feel things deeply, especially rejection. It doesn't have to mean rejection. I'm learning how to live maybe a little more gently, and let those around me be themselves (as if they need my permission). I'm also always going to be true to myself. No hiding and pretending that I'm "good," that I have it all figured out. Because the truth is, no one has it all figured out.

So, instead of thrashing and screaming within this tornado that is spinning me head over heels and round and round, I'm spreading me wings and gliding on the current to see where it takes me, but also to take control of myself.


Jonathan Nathan said...

I think it is great you are expressing yourself without a fa├žade! The world would be a much better place if everyone would give up the illusion that we have to be the same to get along. We are not clones of each other, and, therefore, should not live as if we are. Our difference give character to our relationships and should be encouraged.

I loved the paths analogy, and your point that we all can love and accept each other wherever our paths go (and not just when they overlap).

Grace said...

Thank you, darling! Your words mean a lot to me.

Susan Schiller said...

BEAUTIFULLY said! I agree with you, so very much... you helped me put words to my own new beliefs :)

Grace said...

Thank you! I'm so glad.

Sara said...

I don't believe in the doctrine of infallibility either. Once I got out of that mess, I wondered how I could ever have believed it. We don't normally ever put that much weight on one, single source, or shut off our brains' abilities to decide what to believe or not when we read anything. Our own fallibility should be a reminder that nothing that is spoken, written down, canonized, or whatnot, is above error. Our voices are just as important and needed as the bishops of the ecumenical counsels that voted and decided what counts as divine writ. The beauty of the story of God's people is that Love sought a dwelling place in the midst of and inside a fallible people. I do see where, in history, the doctrine of infallibility solved various problems in the church. During the Constantinian shift, when the church became the official religion of the empire, the counsels were called by the emperor to unite the empire. In the reformation, it solved the problem of an infallible pope. In the 1980's it solved the problem of the postmodern shift to a morality of "whatever feels good is right" and gave stability in a confusing time. So it is understandable that people would want something to cling to, to rescue them from uncertainty. But what it doesn't take into account are the ways this doctrine has been used to oppress. And it is these things that are coming to light, great crimes that have been covered over in the name of advancing Christianity. It has become the tool of colonizers and a clerical elite to keep the great machine of power-over narratives turning and crushing many spirits. Yet in the midst of that, certain stories in the Bible give hope to those who are being oppressed. The exodus, for these people, is a story of liberation, and I wish I could write in bold here, but that story, for them, is the primary, controlling narrative, by which the rest of Scripture is judged and interpreted. So, historically, the Bible has been both a tool of oppression and a tool of liberation. How can we know truth? I believe it is an ongoing conversation between the knower and that which would be known. It takes listening to others, it takes studying and learning from all traditions and histories, it takes personal experience and the experience of others, it takes reason, it takes instincts, it takes a soul full of love for all of life and the living and humility that is willing to hold the joy suffering of others inside it. As for me, I really don't mind being uncertain of things. I know what good is, because I can taste and smell it. And I always feel that there is someone holding on to me that won't let me go, who does understand it all and will one day make all things right. Panvocanta, sister!

Grace said...

amen, Sara! Amen.