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How Else to Free the Wolf?

So many strands are coalescing amidst my visceral response to Cheryl Johns’ words, cited yesterday. It’s a knot of Gordian proportion, methinks, but perhaps some strands want to be named.

I need more than ‘the right interpretation’ to save me from despair. Me too. What has saved me from despair in these last years has been women. Circles and circles of women. Then, some men, including my soul-hitched-partner, Brian. One might say we decided to de-center the benevolent patriarchy of our home that I had inherited (more than he did in his family system).

The other thing that has saved me? Repositioning Scripture as an occasional partner in inquiry with Christians, but not a “god” to be discerned in interpretive study. It functions with more reality than the Presence of Godde in my lineage(s), given generational inheritance. If you can provide a scriptural argument …if you study Scripture more than others, you get to be an authority. So I relinquished anyone’s interpretation of any Scripture. I could no longer trust external authorities who unconsciously disregarded my experience as a woman for decades, centuries. Which of course made/makes me lonely, dancing with despair. I regularly wish those close to me could and would admit that Scripture has betrayed women, silenced women’s voices, left women out of history, and called it sacred to do so. Admit it already, my belly screams, and let it go with me. Why don't others need to relinquish it, as I have had to do?

Hermeneutics alone cannot save us from the grief of finding little to match the sound of our own cadence. Part of this knot is my context, of course. Faithfully rooted, unavoidably misfitted. I find Christian architecture of theology stunningly beautiful, for the most part. It addresses and redresses real human suffering. It posits forgiveness in places we don’t want to hear it. It ‘reads’ human life and our collective choices today beautifully, damnably, while pointing always always to Grace, Mercy, Abundant life in surrender to Godde. I’m steeped in Tradition, like it or not.

Being around other Christians, however, always reminds me how no one wants to see or respond in any meaningful (transformative) way to any of the above. No one wants to face squarely the utter violence, rape, and betrayal of women in Holy Writ. Those are just “texts of terror,” says the academy. Paradoxes to be sure, and horrible to recount. A woman could go crazy with the collective denial we live in, constantly. Women are still asked to swallow it and shut up, play nice. Which then makes us complicit in our own silencing. Unbearable.

So I have sought and been found in communities who can and will honor the sound of the cadence(s) denied. It has cost me Scripture as Sacred Authority, which I do grieve. Yet one can’t help feel empathy for the wolf who is willing to chew off her own hand to get free of the jaws that would hold her captive, silence her, even kill her.

Then a belly smile of recognition. Yeah yeah yeah…anger is unresolved grief. Rage is unresolved collective grief.

There's enough here for anybody. Everybody.

Let the grieving begin?

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