Friday, January 16, 2009

Call The Grieving God, Appearances

These two difficult poems were written within 45 minutes. They are, I think now, two different phases of the same inner movement.

I don't know how to make theology out of it. I don't care because for me this is where heart comes in. I know in my bones that Infinite God grieves. The sadness known to the house finch chick who fell from the nest, the fear and loss of its mother, the regret of the universe at that moment leads to the infinite grief of God. Anything God does in genuine response of His own is and must be infinite. As in the Holy Word, down to the smallest and least of them. When life is unfair, as it so frequently is, God grieves the necessity of that. Because it is necessary. It always has been. Life must prey on life. There is nothing else it can prey on. The prey will always know its own protest. The prey will always Witness. And God perhaps eternally grieves as she sees as a mother does through the prey's own eyes.

Call The Grieving God

The walls are too high.
They go too far left and right.

Storms will come near soon
And wild eyed, we still cast blame.

Call the grieving god to help
The host cross over.

We think we know what happens
When the walls fall.


The salmon go home to spawn. It starts there but I was not a fish, not on this day. I was myself feeling the immensity of things, the smallness of me.

I openly declared myself on quest, declared it publicly as part of my return to finish my degree. In 1980 I wrote a Portfolio of prior learning experience to achieve 28 credits and my batchelors degree after a decade out of school. I started over a year earlier. It was 283 pages in the end. Ten pages a credit is about right. It was titled, Metaphysics, A Quest For Wisdom - Psychology, An Exploration Of Mind. Of course to be in the position to write such a thing, well, this was the time of the open declaration of what had been happening in my life since 1966. So I started college in 1963 and graduated in 1981. I did a bunch of living in the middle.

But there are days I don't feel I measure up. I bet I'm not the only one.


Me swimming upstream
Feeling the pull against me
But home is this way.

Oh, I am tired, aching.
One more stroke, then another.

But I am farther
(This is how it seems to me)
From home now than then.


  1. Hey there...

    Your idea of a grieving deity is quite fascinating. I never imagined a God filled with sadness. Or longing.

    Sadness seems such a human emotion.

    I am imagining God as a parent - full of doubt and self-blame at her child's tragedies.

  2. Charli, One main point of the Christian experience of Jesus, the Second Person in the Trinity, is to humanize God just this way. Or rather, the way I put it, to help us to mature in our own experiences of God, that we are the image likeness and everything "big" in us is in Him, or Her. Anything in God is infinite, that is, without beginning or end because that is who God is. Since grief is one of the biggies, in my experience the one we in the USA most run away from, then certainly God grieves.

    I believe there are pictures all over the world of God doubting, not only Jesus in the garden, but in many traditions.

    God is certainly full of self blame because He/She certainly is to blame.

    The self created tragedies that we critters here below suffer are probably not what God grieves, but the consequences range far and innocents are caught up in the nature of things.

    I quit smoking in 1981, quit chewing tobacco in 1991, quit drinking in 1983. Yet I will probably die of complications from my earlier behaviors. God will not grieve that. But when I nearly died of childhood diseases, and when meningitis nearly took me down in 1964, God probably grieved those circumstances. You can often easily distinguish the differences.

  3. did you know you can get degrees by just sending money to some places?

    no writing or anything.....

    your grieving God and now Charli's comment really makes me want to say this thing.....

    you know, when Jesus said that thing about only being able to get to the Father through him (paraphrasing the Bible), i think he meant that humans really don't have a clue about the nature of God, and that our understanding of God is essentially simile and metaphor grounded in the fishbowlic (i made up that word) parameters of our finite existence.....

    so, like another way to say that is that i haven't really been able to characterize God in any absolute, or non-absolute way without somehow or some way having to anthropomorphize the conceptual deity.....

    even our fundamental monotheistic characterizations are negations of our own existential condition....

    like.... we are finite.... got is infinite (do we know what infinite is? have ever experienced infinite except as an abstract concept?)...

    or like we have limited understanding, so like God is omniscient.... what do we know about omniscient?

    your poem alludes to a system of meaning that somehow transcends our own..... we a-perceive that there is "some thing (or no-thing)" that somehow transcends us.....

    to understand God better, we imagine that S/He/It is just like us, only infinitely more so....

    now, this is not criticism.... what i'm saying is that it is inherent in the human condition that our spiritual quest for God (which is a demonstrably compelling obsession historically) always involves an anthropomorphic dimension....

    personally, i prefer the mystic traditions to fundamentalist traditions of most religions....

    Christian (and other) mystics frequently write of/speak of things like "....knowing nothing in order to know everything...."

    God, to them is that which we profoundly do not know, and the closest approximation to description resides in the realm of silence.

    as you say, however, it is important to not take all of this too seriously....

  4. like.... we are finite.... God is infinite (do we know what infinite is? have ever experienced infinite except as an abstract concept?)...

    (i have to learn to proof read what i write)

  5. Only have time for a quick response, just to say yahoo to your words here, Ghost.

    Only I would add for your rumination, the dictum, deeply intuited, as above, so below. This is very old, in fact predates history, and so does mystical experience. I believe that mystics everywhere agree with that. It means that within certain constraints, anthropomorphising God is merely returning the favor. (s)he deified us.

  6. or even more.... the separation between humanity and God is inherently artificial (an artifact of the human perception much the same way as we conceive ourselves to be something apart from nature).... in that God and His creation are (potentially) eternally co-extensive.....

    i think one of the Apocryphal books (books intentionally excluded from the aggregation of the Bible under Constantine) that has lately been discussed in popular media suggests something about the "Kingdom of God is within you...." or some such heresy.....

    conceive then that humanity is simply coextensive and within the God, and perhaps the anthropomorphic sensibilities we "project", require no projection at all..... we ARE the sensibility of God's human creation.... no need to project... already of Him.... our experience is artifact of a particular relationship within the whole....

    "Only God says jump
    So I set the time
    cause if he ever saw it
    It was through these eyes of mine!
    And if he ever suffered it was me who did his crying"

    Tomorrow Wendy
    Andy Prieboy, Wall of Voodoo

    It is very important to not take all of this too seriously....

  7. Ghost, I don't know about all the rest of mankind, I know about my place in things. I am convinced there is such a thing as destiny, that it is an agreement, or at least as close as it can be said in human tongue. My agreement is a project of witness, as if God needs human eyes, in particular, my eyes, and this in regard to certain matters. That is me, as I conceive it, arguing a fine point with her or him, standing up straight looking square across the divide and having words.

    Anthropomorphising in this way is to mythologize. So I will say I have a personal myth.

    The situation is terminal but not serious.

  8. well that's pretty doggone kewl Christopher (Christ Bearer)..... later...


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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