August 10


Full – Theology and Goodness

There is comfort, safety
in the cold, certainty of the tomb.
In the hard sureness of sin,
set firmly in Augustine’s dream,
sin in the getting, sin in the growing,
doomed to dust and ashes, evil
and rotten at the heart
lets us off from a great deal.
Confirms our worst suspicions,
everyone is as bad, as I
deep down inside my secret shame;
there is justice in oppression,
punishing our own hated hearts
in all those we gleefully
suspect are also rotten fruit.
The alternative, terrifying
lightness in the joining
one to the other, holiness
growing within, divine seed
blooming in the warm, messiness
of womb every face so full of (S)he
who created that we stumble
dazzled and star struck
from one encounter
to the next, drunk on one
another, intoxicated
with goodness and suddenly
all the excuses for not seeing,
for murdering that Light
within our enemies becomes
filth, smeared across the face
of the Divine. You may have
your tomb of averted wrath,
sterile safety. I will take
the womb, full
to overflowing with
(S)he who dreamed us.

Theology isn’t always good, bad theology isn’t just annoying, it is down right dangerous. I suspect Jesus got weary of getting angry at how horrific human beings are to one another, and how they excuse that horror with poor theology. Personally, I’m done with it, but what I’m more done with is the sort of theology that says it is inevitable that we be shitty to one another. That sort of thing leads to cheap grace, and an easy out for every sort of misbehavior on the planet. Crap theology is what leads people to honestly (?) believe that every man on earth is a rapist just waiting to happen. I am such a radical that I believe men are in fact fully human, and fully capable of controlling themselves, and that when human beings aren’t capable of controlling ourselves we need professional (psychological, medical not just religious) help.

I do not believe that the Bible contains the only truth in this world. It is just one revelation, just one witness to Truth. In its pages I see the continual call of God to humanity to live into our created-ness as Images of God’s own self. And in the world, which is itself revelation I see witness every day to the goodness inherent in the world and in each of us. From my big powerful dog who sighs, and squeezes her eyes shut so patiently when the kitten pounces on her (again) and bites down hard (again) in an attempt to play, and never ever does the violence she is capable of; to people who have never met outside the internet carrying a paper cutout of a taxidermy raccoon all over the world to make those who are too anxious, sick, or afraid to leave their homes feel a little more free, a little less alone (bravo to you all, I’m printing him out as well!). There is the heart of the universe showing through, in these and a million other moments of beauty we find the heart stopping goodness that is at the center of creation and humanity; the goodness of God (by whatever name you may call Her).

I refuse to allow theology to reduce the glorious goodness with which we were each endowed, to muddy or shame it; and I reject the excuses such theology makes for acts that cheapen the God image in each of us. Each woman and man on this Earth has a soul shaped like the Divine, and it is the task of our lives to honor that shape, in those around us, and ourselves. This does not discount sin, it gives sin meaning. Sin is the departure from our nature of goodness, togetherness, beauty; sin is tragedy. Redemption in this way of seeing becomes a meaningful act of restoration, the clearing away of that which does not belong that the Light might be seen again.

You are beautiful, and good, and indescribably holy. If you live with crippling shame, self hatred, or the urge to harm or dishonor the image of God in others or in yourself please seek out help. There is no shame in admitting that to honor God’s image in your own heart you need the help of others, for we are created for one another. We are herd animals, pack animals, we cannot be ourselves without each other, and we cannot fully express the Beauty of God without one another either. We all need one another’s help.

Let us look on the world as Mary saw it, full to bursting with the Divine as she carried Holiness in her very body, brave enough to sing out yes when all the corrupt theology of the world tells us NO. Let us look on the world as Jesus saw it, beloved, and connected: worth dying for, stripped of fear, and the inevitability of violence. Let us look on the world with the dazzled eyes of the mystics, laughing and crying at how impossible our task is, and yet how sweet: for we are the instruments on which God plays the song of eternity.


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