2008/10/12

Eclectic...

My computer is so screwy that I can't even post a comment on my own blog. Oy g'veigh! What's an eclectic gal to do? So, nu, I'm just making a blog post because my comment was getting long-ish anyway.

The blog is eclectic, I really am not. In fact, I'm pretty much a one note nellie. Even my unpublished (forgot) Rosh Hashanah post! It's all about love of God. Living in it more, expanding awareness of it, expressing it better, being able to find language for it, learning new ways to think about it... it's really all from the same motivation. Whether it's the Hebrew, or reading through the Tao, Kabbalah, meditating on the lives of the saints... it's all because I can't get over this God!


I don't even allow myself to actually dwell on it too much because it takes all my time and it blows me too far away! I can't even say any more about it.



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I wanted to do more of a post on Beth Moore. But, why? I mean, I'm preaching to the choir. Even if I thought any of the Moore-ites would be open to hearing my brilliant and much-needed insight, what good would it do?

Look, it's true that the "Bible Studies" don't acknowledge the massive glory of the book we call the Bible. (They call it "The Word.") Beth Moore skips across centuries, she dances through cultures and language as if they weren't there, she's impervious to any consideration of literatry form, she's a nimble proof-texter, and she's got these women believing that if they look up an english word in a greek lexicon that they have done a greek word study on it, you know, in "the" greek. Really, you all don't want to get me going on that.

But, I thought about it a little bit this afternoon. What good would it do for me to tell them these things? Maybe one person would start to think a little bit. Probably not. More likely they would just feel sorry for me and call me an intellectual. The standard for that is pretty low I think.

And I don't think it's doing any harm to just let them go on with what they are doing. I mean, they really believe they are doing serious Bible Study and if they keep believing that... well, maybe one day they will! I don't want to be the one to derail whatever path they are on. I've had people try to do that to me and I didn't like it too much.


The thing is, I am feeling more tenderly towards the Beth Moore-ites. I can't help it.


This morning a paper they gave me fell out of my Bible. It was a list of some Hebrew names for God. I think there were ten, maybe twelve, of them. Bless their hearts. They are just like me: Looking for more ways to think about God, more ways to know this unknowable entity, they too want to talk about God and express their love for God. And, somehow they've come up with these ten or twelve names and written them down and shared them with me. Isn't that precious? I just about cried for the sweetness of it.

As a little experiment I listed the ones I could come up off the top of my head this afternoon. I was embarassed that I only had 27. But, I was more embarassed that I rarely ever meditate on more than a handful of them. I hardly ever think of Tesemach Adonai (branch of the Lord), I wouldn't even have thought about it except that it was in my reading a few days ago. And I especially never think of Avi or Avi-ad (father). And I double especially don't enjoy too much thinking about Shofet (Judge), unless it's in relation to my enemies. I am more of an Mascheck or Ma'on (shelter) kind of thinker. I am also fond of El'or, God of Light... stuff like that. So, I am not convinced that having so many is a real assett, unless you just want to show off. We don't want to be like that, do we? Sometimes we do. But, we overcome it.

The names are important. They let us know of God's gender (El is a boy, El Shaddai is a girl), they tell about God's number (Yashar is just one, Elokem is plural), and they each allow us another peak at this unending mystery in which we live. Having more names is better than fewer, I would say. But, what is more important is what you do with the ones you've got. If all you have is ten names for God, well, dayenu! That is enough.

And if Beth Moore is the Bible Study teacher you've got, dayenu! And, if you enjoy looking things up in a greek lexicon, what's the harm? God can use anything.

So, that's where I am with the Beth Moore-ites. I want more for them but realize they are happy where they are and as a Star Trekkie I know that the prime directive is not to interfere. They have God, and that is always enough.

Dayenu!

2008/10/11

Connecticut says YES!

Now all that's left is for the Christians to grouse and grumble, probably come up with a ballot initiative, stir up a lot of hetro-hate and homo-fear, and eventually go down in flames like they are about to in California.

When will you fundamentalits learn this one fundamental lesson: The arc of history -- God's own history -- is in the direction of justice. No amount of proof-texting, fear mongering, or wringing of hands can change that.

Every page of that Bible you worship tells of a God moving people out of slavery and bondage, into freedom; out of exile, and into the mainstream. Every little thing is a step closer to the Kingdom, and it's comming babies... it's coming!

Go Connecticut!

2008/10/10

Tao Te Ching, Seventy Six

From this morning's readings...

A man is born gentle and weak
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

-- Tao Te Ching, Seventy-Six

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On an unrelated note... totally unrelated... Saint Regina was not a recently remembered saint. Turns out I was reading in the wrong month on that.

I did go to Beth Moore Bible Study last night. Maybe I'll write something about that later. For now I'll just say that there's more diversity in the body of Christ than we ever imagined, and I think I'm it.

Have a good day everyone, and don't do anything I wouldn't ;)

2008/10/08

Saint Regina

Yesterday was the day we remembered Saint Regina on the calendar of Saints. Nobody knows much about Regina. Her mother died in childbirth. Her father was a prosperous pagan. Poor motherless Regina was handed off to a nurse who took it upon herself to baptize Regina. When Regina's father heard that his daughter had been baptized, he immediately disowned her. My hagiography says he flew into a rage over it! The nurse took Regina in. They were poor and Regina helped out by herding sheep. Eventually a man whom I'll not dignify by naming proposed marriage to her. She refused and he put her in prison for it. Eventually he tortured her to death for her refusal to deny her faith, marry him, and sacrifice to idols. It was a brutal death to be sure.

I admire the martyrs, possibly more than I should. But, with all respect to Regina, what touched me about this story wasn't her faithfullness in the face of torture. It's that it was her baptism that set it all off. Really, it defined the rest of her life.

Apparently, even a pagan can recognize the indelible mark of baptism. Having been raised by baptists that seems pretty remarkable to me. My own credobaptism wasn't that way. The baptists call what I had "believer's baptism." And I guess that was OK. But, it had more to do with something that I did, I believed, than it did with anything God had done.

I am wondering why we don't take baptism so seriously anymore. What would it mean if we did? And I guess the underlying question is to ask what baptism actually is. I'm not talking about the catechetical answer. I know that one. I need something better. I am thinking about that.