The temple.

Tonight, I told my daughter that God is alive

In her body.

 

No one ever said that to me.

 

Instead, people told me all about the Commandments,

Ten of them.

Also, Seven –

deadly sins.

Some handful of Beatitudes

And what a fuck-up Eve could be.

 

God breathed God’s breath into the human body,

in order to make a living being.

Genesis says so.

 

It’s the first written words about human beings

in my own tradition.

This gorgeous scene.

 

A man and a woman, made from dust.

Through their nostrils, they are filled

With God’s breath.

 

And when the breath of God leaves

them,

and each of us,

we are returned again

to dust.

 

But what of the time between?

While God’s breath is breathing Itself in us,

how holy can we be?

 

You’ve heard it said, “mercies are new each morning”,

but I tell you,

New mercies ride in on each breath.

 

God’s breath,

In each of us.

 

No one knows what to do next.

 

Me neither.

But, I told my daughter what I wish

someone had told me.

 

Listen for God in your body, sighing softly.

Sometimes rattling.

Feel God, too.

That rhythm, the movement in and out,

filling up and letting go.

 

Rupture and repair.

Expansion and contraction.

Life, Death,

Re-birth.

 

Every cell and atom in the universe is dancing like this.

 

Later, I will tell her even more subversive things.

 

Advertisements

Eve.

To be a woman in the church,

No matter the age.

Ah, that is a great source of shame.

 

Were you, like me, given the story of Eve

to blame?

That first woman, tempted by the power of knowledge,

Not smart enough to know her place.

 

And poor, innocent Adam,

So trusting of the woman,

Now defiled

After her tango with the snake.

 

Taking serpent’s words, and God’s fruit into her body

now changed.

Now naked and ashamed.

 

Man’s first words in his own defense,

“She tricked me!”.

 

What a witch.

 

Well, here’s another trick.

Blame.

Scapegoat a gender, get every last one of them.

Meanwhile, stripping God of any feminine traits.

 

If God is male, then male is god.

 

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

That which cannot be named.

Only felt.

In our bodies.

This knowledge of God.

 

Who among us knew it first?

Eve.

And of course, she was afraid.

 

How does a fragile human body withstand the knowledge of God

Once consumed?

 

For me, it’s always some tender blend

of grief and grace –

Mixed.

Like Eve,

 

I cannot keep it to myself.

And, yet I too am rendered a bit naked

And ashamed.

 

But shame, beloveds, is not the toxic terror you’ve been told.

Just the stripping back of one or two dead layers,

Much like the snake.

 

Nearly every woman on earth would now pay

For the peeling

Of old skin,

 

Unearthing something new.

 

But this is not a surface peel.

The encounter with God we’ve been offered

By the snake.

 

When we eat the fruit, we risk becoming

A graveyard

For all the people we thought we were.

 

Scales falling from the eyes of Saul,

A new name, a new life, and here we have

Paul.

 

Not my favorite apostle.

Some thorn is his side about women still.

But,

Then I suppose we all have to drag our own humanity

Along

with us,

 

Long after consuming what’s been given

by Grace.

In The Beginning

Do you know that there are TWO different creation stories in the book of Genesis?

Genesis chapter 1 describes the creation event in the way most of us have heard it: God created the earth in 7 days, “let there be light”, yada yada. The second story, however, which begins in Genesis chapter 2, does not have that 7-day storyline, and instead says this:

“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens – “. – Gen 2:4

“The day”, as in ONE day, or maybe “the day” as in “time period” – e.g. “back in the day”.

Additionally, in this second version of the creation story, the order in which God creates things is different from the first. Story 1 reports the order of created ‘things’ in this way: 1) separation of day/night, and separation of heavens/earth, 2) separation of earth/seas, 3) vegetation to cover the earth, 4) lights in the sky (i.e. the sun, moon and stars), 5) living creatures in the waters and in the sky, 6) living creatures on the dry land (including humans, male and female simultaneously).

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them”. – Gen 1:27

Story 2, however, orders creation like this: 1) earth, 2) water, 3) man, 4) vegetation, 5) other living beings, 6) woman.

Somehow, over the years, these two stories seem to have blended into a bit of a religious folklore that says “God created the earth in 7 days”, and “God created man first, and then woman second”.

But what the Bible actually says is: “here are two different versions of how this all went down – enjoy!”

Now, of course, these stories have some fundamental agreements – e.g. they seem to agree about the phenomena of 6 separate creation movements, and that God was in charge of the roll-out either way.  But they also have some pretty fundamental disagreements – i.e. how long it took, the order in which it all happened, etc.

And while this is all completely fascinating to my inner literary-critic, it’s not really the point I’m trying to make here. The point I am trying to make, however, is that if we set out to read the Bible as a literal account of historical events, our brains are going to explode less than 3 pages into the reading material.

Or, in other words, THE UNFOLDING OF THE BIBLE NARRATIVE ITSELF DOES NOT NECESSARILY ENCOURAGE A LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE TEXT.

Good talk,

Whitney

Goddess

“We need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. Divine feminine imagery opens up the notion that the earth is the body of the Divine, and when that happens, the Divine cannot be contained solely in a book, church, dogma, liturgy, theological system, or transcendent spirituality. The earth is no longer a mere backdrop until we get to heaven, something secondary and expendable. Mat[t]er becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity.” — Sue Monk Kidd

I admit it. The word “Goddess” is a leap for me sometimes.

It’s so hard to redefine the concept of God we inherited in our youth. In fact, I think it’s often easier to simply reject God outright, rather than allow God to become truly expanded in our hearts and minds.

Nevertheless, this is what I am trying to do.

I am trying to discover all of the things that got left on the “cutting room floor” when my own religious tradition became canonized and organized. So, I pay attention to words like these because they confront me.

Reading this, I hear myself thinking “Ah, yes, that must be true. But, oh my, how uncomfortable too. I don’t know how to get there genuinely yet”.

…That’s all.