Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lizard-Podding to Enlightenment

Okay, that's a little grandiose. Rather than enlightenment, sub in "interesting spiritual ideas."

On the Lizardpod right now:

* John Lennon, I Don't Believe
* XTC, Dear God
* "Shug Avery," Maybe God is Trying to Tell You Something
* Sounds of Blackness, Hallelujah, Lord!
* Various Kids, Books of the Bible*
* O Happy Day, Edwin Hawkins singers
* Uncloudy Day, Willie Nelson

And a bunch of other songs. Sparks, Sonic Youth, Pink, Howard Jones, Nirvana, Sam Phillips, Rancid ...

Out of all of that, the song that's given me my breakthrough moment:

Howard Jones, No One is To Blame.

I blogged previously about this song, and reacting to the "And you want her, and she wants you," lines, interpreting them as Me and Seminary or Me and Ministry. It does, sometimes, take me several days to "get it." If I found a burning bush, I'd probably assume it was there for me to cook hotdogs over.

Okay, so ... how about Me and God. And how about if the important part of that little pop song isn't about want, it's the titular line.

No one is to blame.

Sounds pretty simplistic. Sometimes, I guess the simple is what gets you.

Little Warrior getting cancer. No one is to blame. Which I knew on one level, but hadn't really accepted on another level. So I'm thinking about this, as I do my laps, listening to the 80's pop hit, thinking, No one is to blame. I'm not to blame, God isn't to blame, no one is to blame. Nothing new there.

And this feeling hits me. This thought. So, since God isn't to blame -- you've always known that -- what do you think about "God" (the universe, that which is not us, the great unknowable, that that we are all a part of) grieving with you? God, (the universe, etc.) "saying," for want of a better word:

I'm sorry. This big thing that we're all apart of, it has processes that are all set in place. We can work within that framework, but the framework -- the natural world -- is not something that can be changed for individual circumstance. When you grieved, I grieved. We were both in sorrow that the magnificent creature that is LW was stricken with cancer.

When you grieved, I grieved.

Even being raised Unitarian, it was a really new idea for me. The idea that "God" (I'm not going through the undefinition again), is not a father figure, not a problem-solver per se, and definitely not the "it was then that I carried you" vision of bookmarks and condolence cards.

God, personified as the person who, when you fall to your knees on the beach, sobbing, doesn't pick you up. Doesn't comfort you. But cries along with you. Huddles with you on the beach.

I know that for some, this is blasphemy. For others, it is an immature vision of the great "I am." Oh, I could go on listing all of the thoughts others might have on this.

But for me ... I found it extremely comforting.

* a probably futile attempt to avoid a repeat of my first experience in seminary. Repeated many times. A story I'll share later.


Jamie Goodwin said...

For some, like me, it is the very image of God herself holding me and crying with me that gets me through.

I cannot associate with a God who carries us, I have not met that God, but one who loves and laughs, and even crys and get angry.. right along side of us.

Yes... that is the God I believe in.

Nancy said...

Looking back, I probably don't believe God has schlepped me down the beach or controlled everything that happens, either. Why? Because I have never once been really mad at him, even after the crappy hand I was dealt by the beautiful "framework" he created. There is still a lot of good here, and It's obvious I am still very blessed. I don't feel singled out (most of the time).

When he was little, my brother used to pretend he was in God's pocket when he was in bed after he had a bad nightmare and was afraid. I like that image, too, even as a grown woman. :)

Jenn said...

I think the Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., who use to be the senior minister at Riverside Church in NYC, said something similar about God being the first to grieve with us when tragedy strikes... I think I heard a clip of him talking about this in the context of describing how his theology was shaped by his son's accidental death while driving on an icy bridge.