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31 May 2010

Thoughts on the Trinity

The One is many: one, two, seven, twelve, 1001, a number beyond numbering, One...a metaphor that has become an idol. ~

24 May 2010

Seeking Shalom

Seek the Shalom of Ir-Shalom, Jerusalem, and

pray for the peace of Palestine.
A proposal for peace:
If I had one, I'd offer one. I am neither stateswoman nor diplomat. (Nor the daughter of a diplomat.)  don't have a specific plan. But I do have some ideas about the conditions for peace, the environmental factors necessary for peace to thrive.

There can be no peace without justice.
An absence of violence without justice is not peace.
Apartheid is not peace. Segregation is not just.
Genocide and ethnic cleansing are not solutions.
There can be no peace in or with a nation formed entirely of one ethnic or religious identity by the exclusion, expulsion or extermination of another.

I believe that the only path to peace is the way of compromise.
True compromise is not merely voluntary nor simply choosing the most palatable options from a buffet. Compromise is painful.
A true compromise will leave both sides unhappy. In fact that may be the measure of the justness of a proposal - the degree to which it is unacceptable to both sides.
There can be no quantification of suffering. There is no valuing of the suffering of one community above the suffering of another.
All have suffered and are suffering. More will suffer.
There will never be enough vengeance to assuage all of the hurts of all of those who have been hurt.
Each community will have to forswear violence and revenge.
Each community will have to accept a remedy that is less than they would have desired.
Individuals who have stakes in specific pieces of ground will have to accept that they may find themselves on that piece of land in a different nation.
Arabs and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims must learn to live in peace.
We can't wait for someone else to capitulate.
There will be no ultimate victory for one at the expense of another.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

22 May 2010

What Makes a Wo/Man?

I've been listening to discussions on masculinity and responsibility in the context of fatherhood in the black community. And it strikes me that what is being identified as emblematic of mature masculinity is not gendered in anyway that I can see.
Responsibility is an often repeated key word: parental responsibility, social and sexual responsibility, fiscal responsibility. Even among those who have a hierarchical view of gendered relationships there is no suggestion that women should not be parentally, socially, sexually or fiscally responsible. So then, how are those forms of responsibility masculine?
Granted, there are those who say that women should not have to support their children financially or parent alone. But the single mothers who successfully parent their children - even when they are referred to as mother and father - are generally not stigmatized as less than feminine.
Are there characteristics of a well adjusted adult that are gendered?
On as essential level, I have always believed that women are born and made (with a nod to Simone de Bouvoir). We are socially shaped by our families of origin and the culture in which we live. That shaping is based on the implications of our bodies in our cultures.
People who are born with a particular genital configurations (or variations based on it) are categorized as female. People who live like (socially constructed) people who are identified as female are themselves identified as [trans] female without regard to their genital configuration.
So, some of us are identified as female by our bodies and the world at large. Others self-identify and are affirmed by some of the world at large. But in neither community have I heard a definition of woman (or even female) that is ubiquitous to the gender or distinguishable from man or male.

14 May 2010

Knowing Her Place

I've been listening to Laura Bush's recent interviews with interest. She has publicly disagreed with two of her husband's (and his administration's) signature stances on critical social issues: same sex marriage and abortion rights.
Some pundits have questioned why she did not speak up earlier (like Cindy and Meghan McCain). I don't believe that George Bush would have been able to gain and maintain the support of the conservative patriarchy if his wife espoused unacceptable social, political and theological positions.
Laura Bush's choice to support her husband's political ambitions over her own conscience suggest to me that she values patriarchy and the privileges she accrues from submitting to it more than justice for God's children.
Women like Laura Bush are the incubators of patriarchy. It couldn't succeed without them.

08 May 2010

Superheroes, Saints, Gods and Angels

I love superheroes. (Yes, I just saw Iron Man 2.) I love the X-men and the Avengers and Spiderman and Batman and the Black Panther. I grew up in the Marvel universe.
Now that I'm a practicing and thinking theologian, I wonder, what's behind our love of these extraordinarily gifted women and men?
Are superheroes modern saints? Gods? Angels?
Are they symbolic of unrealized human potential?
Are they our way of proving that we can and will save ourselves without any supernatural interference, thank you very much?
Are they a form of sour grapes - we are our own salvation because God isn't saving us on a day to day basis?
Maybe it's not that deep.
All I know for sure is that I love them and I want to be one.
I'd be Dark Shadow, part of the Judith Squad. A group of women warriors who rescue women and children from physical and sexual abuse. And beat, kick and stomp the shit out the men who use and abuse women and children.

05 May 2010

True Diversity

As important as is racial, ethnic, gender, orientation and ability diversity - and it is crucial - ideological diversity seems to be rarely invoked. I have noticed that some communities are happy with visual diversity as long as there is no theological, philosophical or ideological diversity. You are welcome as long as you think like the dominant culture (even if you don't look like them). Physical diversity has become for some an opportunity for self-congratulation, proof of liberal/progressive identity and/or fetishism. Frequently the basis for accepting visibly different bodies into a community is the degree to which they accede to the values and beliefs of the majority culture.
I do not suggest that communities - particularly believing and worshiping communities - have no right to theological, philosophical or ideological boundaries. I do wonder how much space there is - and ought be - between confessional communal identity and individual theological convictions.
My experience has shown me that my black woman's body is acceptable when it performs, preaches, teaches and worships in the image of whatever community I'm in, even if it is my own. Tension, rejection and rebuke arise when my theological commitments, perspectives, beliefs and practices are divergent.
How hollow is that diversity which is only as thin as a photograph of variably colored people!