girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Saturday, October 27, 2007


'we have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.'-dorothy day
when i first started my OT theology class this past quarter my professor told the class that he hoped we'd be 'undone' during the course of the class.
later i would find that he intentionally chose a provocative book that would challenge not only his thinking but the whole class' thinking.
he used the same book last year and each class continues to reread the book so that he can be challenged yet again.
he also prays for each of us by name before class as well.
i also found out about his wife.
i'm not sure about the exact timing, but i think around 2 years after they were married she was in a car accident that crushed her brain stem.
since then she has lived with the understanding of a third grader.
so every morning my professor wakes up and they reacquaint themselves with each other...and with God.
his wife can't read because she can't go from one paragraph to the he reads for her.
she's also oblivious to the current christian culture around her...
it swirls around her and goes totally a child.
my professor said that when the car accident happened he wasn't a christian.
after that, he had to figure out what was real.
he found God...and christianity...
3 masters, seminary, and a phd later...
he had to unlearn everything that seminary had taught him.
then one day he went to africa and his whole life was changed.
i mentioned a few weeks ago at my wellspring community that maybe the 'good news' isn't good news to white, american, middle-class males because there's nothing in the bible that's good for them: they have never really understood the pains that the rest of the human race has.
and so i began to wonder about this.
i brought it up in this OT class and my professor said something that i guess i had always known but hadn't recognized:
that the good news becomes good when it's read in community.
that a white, american, middle-class male can understand the oppression of women, and of blacks and hispanics, and of orphans and widows and the poor...when read through their eyes.
at some point we have to remove ourselves from where we're at and begin to see the gospel for what it might be for others...and then its our duty to support them in their plight.
my professor is also critical of the current christian culture in america...
he goes to first baptist in houston (shocking, but let me finish)
he constantly reminds his pastor that he is navigating the titantic...
that there's an iceberg down below and everyone is failing to notice.
i can't understand why he would put himself in a church like that,
but he's right:
him: what is the opposite of love?
me: indifference.
him: then what are hateful words? things like 'i'm fine'...when you're really not.
things like, 'i care, and i'll pray for you'...with a smile on the outside but disinterest or even animosity on the inside.
words of cynicism and sarcasm...those are hateful words.
he also told our class once that he didn't pray for revival....
'i don't pray to revive what's there...i pray to transform what ain't.'
so not only am i learning a lot from this man and his life,
i'm also learning a lot from the class.
this past week we travelled through proverbs and job.
(my prof tells us he feels like a cheap whore when he has to fly so quickly through these chapters that demand so much depth)
he talked about how proverbs were tried-and-true truths that the community believed in...
and that perhaps somewhere along the way they became so relied upon, so set in their ways, so trite and cliche.
then we talked about job.
that his theodicy (trying to understand God's goodness in light of evil) is not a theodicy at all.
that job stands against what proverbs was...
job was innocent.
he had no sin...
God conceded that to him...
and yet he still suffered.
there was no making sense of that.
this past week an acquaintance/friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident.
he and his wife travelled with the wellspring community for awhile last year and when we hung out he wasn't even 21.
(their picture is above)
i spent all week thinking about his wife and about how she could cope with something like that-
how i would cope in the same situation.
i couldn't think about them without getting nauseous.
they had only been married a short time and all of her plans fell to the ground in an instant.
during our group on wednesday we got to discuss how we were all feeling around his death.
we all had things that his death reminded us of...
one of the women there shared about how she's been feeling over the past two years around her own father's death:
he was out on a golf course with his son when he was struck in the head by his son's flying golf struck him in a place that killed him instantly.
...another horrific surprise.
this woman talked about how she has begun to meticulously control and calculate what her family eats and how they work out and all the things they do to remain healthy...
because she doesn't want any more surprises.
she was bold and brave to share this with everyone,
and i respect her deeply for it.
i shared bits of it with my OT class in order to give a real-life example of what happened with proverbs and job:
we try to find the equation and begin to calculate God...
and then something terrible and surprising happens...
and like job, we're just left there wondering.
lamenting a deep wound and yet praising that we acknowledge that a God out there exists.
and the scary part is that a lot of the time we won't even let ourselves feel it...
we push the pain and suffering away and find ways around it.
i used to hate the idea of suffering...
and i still hate it for its own sake...
but i'm finding that there are many places where we run,
we run from the what-ifs and the possibilities of pain,
and i guess i don't want to anymore.
i guess i want to just be whatever i am wherever i am...
and just let that be enough.


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