Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012.02.01 And God Said What?

A friend sent me a Geranium Farm post (12/22/11) by the inestimable Episcopal priest Barbara Crafton, author of Geranium Farm the almost daily e’mo,a communiquĂ© replete with grounded spiritual wisdom.

Crafton is full of humor and usually good theology. But this time I disagreed.

She wrote about scrooge-like pettiness and ridiculed her own fretting about where to place her teapots in the kitchen, a worry that inspired a small marital bit of rancor.

Then she heard an inner judgment that came to her “with the accent of steely love I recognize as the voice of God, cutting through my fantasies of gracious living” while others have no home.

“And you’re worried about teapots?” the voice said.

I’m sure Crafton means that she was humbled, maybe ashamed or embarrassed. I wondered about steely love. I’m probably a theological softie but I don’t experience God speaking to me in ridiculing ways. If I did I might have trouble trusting and loving such a God. I have plenty of inner self-ridicule that puts me in my place. Would a gracious God pile on more?

I once had a wise Jesuit spiritual director who said, “If you hear God being negative towards you personally it’s probably not God.”

I’ve held onto that wisdom. The voice of God doesn’t make my soul cringe. I do, but I don’t think God would. I might feel humbled by God or awakened and challenged, but not scorned.

What I believe is that God loves and cares about silver teapots. Or let's say God cares about my anxious fretting about this and that trivia, as much as the larger issues like poverty.  

“That’s insane,” said a friend.

Perhaps so, but to me that is how God is different from us,how the divine heart, unlike the human heart, can contain all our trivia in equal measures to receive loving care.

I find that image of God so holy, so inhuman, I hardly dare take it in.

Frankly, it’s easier to believe in the divine judge than the divine lover. Easier but not so faithful.