Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thoughts on God

Sat: 10 mi. in 1:34:34

A bit of frustration as, for some unknown reason (unknown to me, at least), my Garmin Forerunner 205 would not pick up and satellites. I spent at least 30-45 minutes delaying my run trying to get it to work. Of course, after my run, I tried again and it worked perfectly. The second frustration was that I used my Nike+iPod transmitter with my new Marware case for the transmitter, but I didn't recalibrate it, thinking it was close enough. It wasn't! After I'd gone a distance I knew to be close to 3 miles, it finally said "1 mile complete". Sheesh.

Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day and I created a special playlist of (mostly) uplifting songs which was quite helpful when my butt was dragging. "All Jacked Up" came on just as I was midway up a hill wanting to stop--thank you shuffle songs!

My playlist was:

Feel Good Inc. (Album Crossfade)        Gorillaz       
Over My Head (Cable Car)        The Fray       
21 Things I Want In a Lover     Alanis Morissette      
Crazy   Gnarls Barkley 
Steady As She Goes      The Raconteurs 
Gia     Despina Vandi  
Tomber la chemise       Zebda  
No Scrubs       TLC    
Pay Me My Money Down    Bruce Springsteen      
Nothing Left to Lose    Mat Kearney    
Suddenly I See  KT Tunstall    
Hey Ya! OutKast
Put Your Records On     Corinne Bailey Rae     
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree   KT Tunstall    
Dani California Red Hot Chili Peppers  
Until the End of Time (Explicit)        2Pac   
Cubicle (Edit)  Rin
Lose Yourself   Eminem 
Complicated     Avril Lavigne  
House of Love   East 17
Chasing Cars    Snow Patrol    
Girlshapedlovedrug      Gomez  
Unpretty        TLC    
Close to the Edge (The Solid Time Of Change Total Mass Retain I Get Up I Get Down Seasons of Man)       Yes    
All Jacked Up   Gretchen Wilson
I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)    Sandi Thom     

There's a line in "21 Things I Want in a Lover" that goes "you are happily employed in work that helps your brother" or something like that and I was struck by her use of the male-specific "brother" rather than something more inclusive. This reminded me of discussions I've had in the past where others (most often men, but not always) would argue that "man" and "mankind" were universal terms meant to include everyone. But of course, "woman" and "womankind" would somehow not be equally universal. And this had me begin to reflect on God, so often referred to (in the Western tradition at least) as male. God the Father, God the Son, He, King, Lord, etc. I know people who have successfully and powerfully transitioned to reference to God in the feminine -- Mother, Daughter, She, Queen, Lady -- and I admire them. I have tried this a few times, but it always seemed somewhat fake or strained and I've not worked with it long enough to get past this, although one of the most powerful prayers I have ever experienced is Bobby McFerrin's feminized version of the 23rd Psalm (on the Medicine Man album).

All of which had me reflecting on how distant God feels to me these days. Although I have not been consciously present to it, I think I have been seeking, searching, looking for God or an experience of God, for awhile now. And I think I may have assumed I would find that experience here in Africa, having had the experience quite deeply here on previous occasions.

But ever since the death of my partner, God has seemed very distant, as if in retreat. I always had such a deep experience of God in our relationship--both because we always felt that our relationship was a gift from God (or a test, depending on the day <g>) and because the covenant upon which our relationship was based was not only with each other and our community but with God. So everyday I would look across the table and see the hand of God, regardless of how I felt about it at that particular moment.

Now, without that constant undeniable reminder, I have somehow reverted to childhood thoughts of a distant, parental God high in the sky (which tells you much more about my psychology and family dynamics than about God).

Yet, creating a covenant with God as the foundation of our relationship was a conscious decision on our part, a decision which somehow became a profound, felt experience. Perhaps that is now my guide. I know God can be found not only in relationship, but in nature, in beauty, in community, in the face of suffering. Perhaps it is up to me to make a new covenant with God.

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