27 April 2009

God of destruction

By David DeLauro

Amos 4:1
"Hear this word, you fat cows on Mount Samaria,
you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!" "

What a ride this week has been: from temperature swings of 50 degrees, finding out America tortures, to the PCUSA once again voting against inclusion. It all seems so tumultuous but then again that's what Spring is all about. We are changing seasons. We are moving from the cold introversion and self-reflection of winter to the warmth of rebirth and community. As I was laying in the sun basking in this new found change in the weather, I came to realize something about my theology that was missing. For all of this new Spring life to appear, something needs to be destroyed first. God is a god of destruction. At first this sounded blasphemous to my uber-liberal-god-is-all-love ears but the more I meditated on it and upon the prophet Amos, which I had been reading this week, I came to find peace and a sense of joy in God breaking things we hold to be unchanging facts. God destroyed death in the resurrection of Christ. God overturned life and walked with us. God destroyed the power of sin.

I know I've often overlooked the parts of the biblical witness that proclaim God's wrath and destruction. I've often looked at it as being a patriarchal throwback to when it was good to be an abusive father to a wayward son. If I peel back the patriarchy, though, I find that the message behind the culture is quite on par with the Good News we proclaim in Christ's life. God is working to bring humanity to its full dignity. God is working to tear down all walls that separate us from being a community of love. God is freeing us from the husk of our seed so we may sprout and bask in the joy of all creation.

While this change is occurring, though, it can be quite a frightful thing. At least for me, it's hard to accept new things that will upset the flow of life I have created around myself. The suffering that comes from this destruction is not found in the in-breaking of God's love and mercy but rather from our inability to let go of an inhuman past--with its patterns of power in which we have found comfort--and embrace the humanity found in God's new way of love. Now, I'm not saying that God sends lightning bolts, tornadoes, or even earthquakes as retribution or as a way of punishing us into "getting on the right track." Rather, I'm saying that God's destruction is found in the freeing of our hearts to love each other as fully as Christ loves us.

I have seen this new way of love especially growing this past year as the PC(USA) voted and began anew conversations of full inclusion for ordination. Though the measure to remove restrictive language against glbt folk has since failed, I still see God beginning the process of destroying the PC(USA) with God's love. More and more people have formed communities to embrace the dignity of human beings and in so doing they share in God's destruction by showing each other love. Those that are fighting to keep the church mired in legalistic and restrictive language are 100% correct about the results of changing whether or not the church accepts persons of various sexual orientations: it will destroy the church and it will be God's doing. God will destroy the part of the church that preaches marginalization and oppression of glbt folk and transform it into a church that listens to glbt folk preach to us about God's life giving grace and love. God will destroy the industrialized notion of family and open the church to form new ways of family in community that uplift the whole of humanity. So, with my whole heart I have been and will continue to pray that the church is destroyed and transformed into a vibrant witness to God's limitless mercy and love.

Praise God for my destruction and the new life that I have been given because of it!

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