Saturday, March 17, 2012

day 24 - is it any wonder?

i have written before that i am struggling with my faith, and that my daily practice is to read the next portion of scripture before bed, and that i have done so continuously for over 12 years.  i had chosen to read through isaiah a few month ago and it is killing me.  it's destroying my faith.  it's messing with my head.  last night was the straw that broke this camel's back.

i am living in a world that has gone backwards somehow.  the culture has somehow decided that it needs to address areas of victory for women that we have had for decades.  it is shocking and so discouraging.  i am so weary of it all, and heartbroken and tired that we're losing ground and instead of finding more of a place cf common-ness between us, the differences are being re-shoved in our faces.

last night i read isaiah 47:1-12 - in the message - i'm typing it out here to try to understand why a loving god, whose image i am created in needs to use this kind of ugly, shaming metaphor to portray his disgust in a nation.  why some other type of metaphor could not have been found.  why is it necessary to use derogatory, hurtful words like these? and is it any wonder radio personalities and congressman can dehumanize half of the human race when this is the best god can do?

"get off your high horse and sit in the dirt,
virgin daughter of babylon.

no more throne for you -- sit on the ground,
daughter of the chaldeans.
nobody will be calling you 'charming'
and 'alluring' anymore.  get used to it.
get a job, any old job;
clean gutters, scrub toilets.
hock your gowns and scarves,
put on overalls -- the party's over

your nude body will be on public display,
exposed to vulgar taunts.
it's vengeance time, and i'm taking vengeance.
no one gets off the hook."

is this really the best that the god of all creation can do?  this virgin daughter did nothing to warrant this kind of shaming.  she is innocent here.  why would you strip her and publicly humiliate her?  is it any wonder his people feel no shame in speaking like this even today?  is it any wonder that males feel uplifted by these words, and women downtrodden?

liam said that i need to put it away, that if it's not helping i need to find another place to read - but i can't understand why i can't be nurtured by the whole of scripture.  i have devoted my life to it.  i feel so betrayed.  i just want to belong.  i just want to feel whole and a part of something - i feel like i am groaning with all creation for things to make sense.  for the broken to be made whole.  for the humiliation to stop.  i know in my heart that the god of all creation is better than this.  my faith is bigger than scripture, bigger than the church.  but i feel crazy hoping.  is it any wonder?


Erin Wilson said...

At risk of proving just how big a heretic I am (and I'm not actually worried about you knowing how big a heretic I am), but I've come to have a very different way of reading (particularly OT) scripture.

My starting point is always that God is infinitely loving, that God loves all of creation, and that God is involved in a really long story arc with us. If I read something in scripture that doesn't seem to line up with this, then I start to wonder what is really being said, or why it's included. I share your belief that the Bible isn't intended to be read as straight-up how-to manual from cover to cover. I think there's a lot of nuance in there.

Sometimes passages like this really bring out the heretic in me... because my take is that this passage is about how God continues to love a people in process, even when they treat their sisters terribly, even when they treat their enemies badly, even when they can't yet imagine that God could love their enemies as much as the writer of this passage.

I think God allowed many stories to be included to serve as cautionary tales, to illustrate what it looks like when we create god in our own image (like when God hates all the same people we do).

Not sure if this made any sense. But there it is.

bobbie said...

thank you so much erin, the company means so much to me - and i too believe that the nuance has been stripped away for far too long. love is also my filter. if god isn't more loving than liam why bother? how in the world could anyone want to serve a god like that?

i blogged on this passage again, had a bit of an epiphany, not sure if it will resonate with anyone else, but it touched me deeply.