Saturday, October 06, 2007

Out of the swamp

Another from the files: the struggle for integrity, the struggle to get rid of the junk that was put on me by others, the struggle for truth in the inmost parts, the struggle to get rid of all those nauseating layers that come between me an the waiting Love of God. if I may try to redeem an analogy that's usually used in a VERY different context, trying to experience God's love with all my layers on is a little like showering in a raincoat! One tries to walk truthfully, and then finds that the untruth was a part of one's own self. (sigh)
The wild goose was the Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit.

I have not walked in the swamplands, in the secret hidden places
Where the plants close over brackish streams,
The swarming things flicker in the shadows;
Breath catches on decay.

This is not where the wild goose flies
High in the lonely heavens, stretched to the limits of my span,
Cutting the cold, clean air
With the sorrows of the spirit.

This is the no go zone,
Spawning with a life I do not know,
Bloodsuckers, crawling things, tiny particles of nightmare,
Banned from the waking day,
They have made them a habitation,
Parasites that thrive on my discarded flesh and bone.

Here the blood throbs thickly, and swift, pale thought is difficult;
Dark deities I do not own come here to proselytise
Making demands in a gibberish to which I have no key;
I do not know what converts they have made
Amongst the disowned of myself,
Or what dark beliefs engage them.
I have no desire to roll in stinking mud,
Or betray myself for the shudder of a kiss.

I would go as the wind goes, bitter but so clean,
Scoured from the nightmare host, skeletal but singing.
In a clear, herb-scented fantasy where my gleaming bones can fly
Reduced to ethereal whispers, the safe-place of the mind.

Who was it welded this soft flesh to me,
So that there is no escape from the foetid, scorned encounter
In the undertow of the wastelands, where the angels do not go?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

That "woman" thang again ..

Pickles are peacable creatures really (ok the question of whether a pickle is a creature can be discussed at some more philosophical moment) .. after all, we don't like sharp knives or any suggestion of slicing or chopping, but in spite of our general squishiness we do have principles and things we are even prepared to go to the chopping block for, even at the risk of a sandwich! And for me, one of those issues is being allowed to preach and teach as a woman. I can respect people who genuinely and thoughtfully interpret the bibledifferently, as long as they can respect the biblical validity of MY position, what wears me down and out is those simply use a couple of fairly obscure verses, without proper exegetical consideration, and without looking at the bigger picture of what the bible, and the Kingdom of God, is all about, and condemn women like me as "sinful", "unbiblical" etc for honest disagreement on this issue. sometimes it just feels liker misogynistic abuse all over again.

Anyway, the subject came up on codepoke's blog, in reference to yet another group of Christians who can overlook their differences on all sorts of divisive theological issues, but are united in their condemnation of us presumptuous women! (sigh) This is part of my response:

My own denomination (Anglican, Sydney diocese) has announced that it is a sin for a woman to preach, and a sin for a man to let her. That hurts. my own minister asks me to preach regularly, in fact the whole congregation, even people who used to be a bit iffy about women preaching, are very supportive of me, but it still hurts to have God's calling on my life called "sin". it hurts to know that my sharing from the word of God, preaching truths that none of them would disagree with, is more offensive to them than someone preaching things which in reformation times would have been regarded as a different gospel! i have heard arguments back and forth about those 2 verses of Paul's on which the entire anti-women exegesis depends, and many of the alternative interpretations make good sense to me .. surely even the most conservative should be able to concede that there is some grey area there (just like there is, say, on baptism, or church government) These days I tell people who ask that I am bypassing the endless arguments on those disputed verses, and i simply take my mandate to preach, as a woman, from Jesus having told a woman to go and tell the male disciples that he had risen from the dead! (definitely new teaching)

But I get very tired knowing that every time I step out in obedience to God I come under the condemnation of men. I have also been known to say to friends that the only qualification I lack for ordination is one of those magic Y chromosomes. Still, i know the Lord has called me along this path for His purposes, and my job is to wait on Him and do whatever comes to hand for Him. but hey, you have no idea how much the encouragements along the way mean to me ..

Am I really that threatening to men?