Friday, April 23, 2010

The Episcopal Church as Abused Wife

In their excellent book Proverbs of Ashes, authors Rebecca Ann Parker and Rita Nakashima Brock take on atonement theology and how it can be twisted to encourage folk to continue in abusive relationships because pointless suffering is supposedly "redemptive."

In one of many examples of tolerating the intolerable, the book recounts the harrowing story of a wife convinced by her priest to return to her violent husband, who then stabs her to death in front of the couple's toddler.

Suffering? In the extreme. But redemptive? No fucking way!

Parker and Brock go on to make a case for faith in salvation despite such suffering, so go read it. You will not emerge unchanged.

Expanding our view from individual to institution, is it possible that the Episcopal Church as a whole has bought into abuse at the hands of the Global South goons? Have we swallowed the notion that suffering such fools is "redemptive?" Are our leaders acting the part of the good submissive wife, soon to be gutted with a butcher knife?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"He is Risen!" True, Even If Not (Necessarily) Factual

I am blessed/cursed with the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet. So on this Easter Sunday 2010, my intellect rejects the bodily resurrection of a crucified carpenter as my soul rejoices that He is risen!

"Fact" and "Truth", though not mutually exclusive, are not necessarily the same thing, either. The fact that Jesus' decaying corpse would never draw another breath didn't preclude the truth that his spirit - the Christ - would continue, appear to his followers, and breathe eternal life into the notion that loving God, yourself & your neighbor are the keys to our own personal, "here-and-now" resurrection.

"But what about for all eternity?" you might ask. Frankly, I'm so busy attempting that Greatest Commandment stuff in THIS life that God's gotta handle whatever comes later. Maybe we merely cease to exist, or maybe we go to heaven or hell, or maybe we reincarnate - I simply do not care, since my hands are full NOW.

See, as a recovering alcoholic & survivor of childhood sexual abuse, here-and-now resurrection is what makes me able to work on that loving we're called to do. Daily resurrection is what grants me a reprieve from the compulsion to drink, and from the awful doubts & perceptual distortions an abuse survivor lives with. Jesus set the pattern, we just have to follow it.

Did he literally rise from the dead? I don't know, and it doesn't matter to me, because the Lord is risen indeed!