We recently received an email from our sister Susan in Minnesota. We were decidedly blessed to have her email our blog with her testimony and corresponding poem, "Meditation for a Century Barely Begun" that explores the peculiar athanasia of the Judeo-Christian story.
So often do we assume the Judeo-Christian way of life is a philosophy. To make this conclusion is a most impudent treachery. It is an erroneous literary criticism- at the least- or an outright subversion of the Judeo-Christianity story to be more pejorative.
This culturally induced hogwash neuters the best message ever.
Respected philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul once said, "God does not reveal by means of a philosophical system or a moral code or a metaphysical construction. He enters human history and accompanies his people...[the Bible] is a series of stories...that are one history, the history of the people of God, the history of God's agreements and disagreements with this people, the history of loyalty and disobedience" (italics mine).
Our faith is a constant reflection upon the historical and steadfast love story that the Father has with his people.
Bless you Susan for reminding us of our amour.
I am a poet and writer who has long struggled to express my Christian experience in all its variety. I feel lucky to live in such a time of change and possibility within the Christian church.
I was a Catholic until I was 12 when my mother had a dramatic faith healing while watching the 700 Club, converted, and took us three kids over to an Assembly of God church. I love those people and especially the way they introduced me to Scripture. But there was SO MUCH about the culture of evangelical fundamentalist Pentecostalism I did not like. I wriggled out of it painfully, and then in 1997 I went with a friend to Mass at a Benedictine monastery. I loved it-- the liturgy and silence and listening to Scripture and prayer. Life took me from Joliet to Reno to Southern California, and finally I found my way to Central Minnesota where I came for a year to write poetry and finish a memoir about faith at the Collegeville Institute-- following in Kathleen Norris's footsteps.
My second poetry manuscript, "Bringing the Body Down" is full of what I consider the core of my "emergent" struggle. I like Phyllis Tickle's three questions: "What is Real/human?" "Where is authority?" and "What is the relationship of all religions to each other?"
I keep thinking about my mother; a devout evangelical Christian. But practicing in a Dutch Reformed church, now a Community Church, she says her only real crisis of faith was after seeing the movie Ghandi and not being able to square with the idea that Ghandi wasn't "saved." I'm happy to think that after death she will be singing the eternal hymn of praise in a circle with Ghandi.
Meditation for a Century Barely Begun
by: Susan Sink
Bow down five times a day, or seven.
Sing the psalms in an unlit sanctuary.
Sit in any pose and stare at the wall.
Burn incense, burn a candle, burn a sacrifice.
The centuries are calling your name.
What language do you speak?
Translate the word of life into a tongue
Unspeakable. How would you answer, then?
And if God said to you: leave your family, right now,
And if God said to you: say what I will say
And the world will listen, and if God said to you:
Love this man, offer your son, do it for me,
Would you argue? Would you take up arms?
Beat them into ploughshares, and sow seeds
Altered to bear three times the normal yield?
Would you feed them or would you feed
The Word of God in a strange land, one untouched
Yet, and how would it sound in their ears?
How would it sound in their hunger?
What would you see there, your own wealth
You never before considered, or something new,
Humility you knew as an idea but which now
Strikes you dumb? Do something small
And then something smaller and then
The smallest thing, a gesture, very slight.
Consider whether it’s brave. And if these three
Movements make an action, and if it helps
You feel alive, or names you love, or opens
Your heart, your ears, any window, any door—
Go to the beginning and listen again. Listen hard.
Get more from Susan at http://susansink.blogspot.com/.
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