Print Version October 30th, 2002
Both those readings make my skin crawl a little—Paul with his comfortable hierarchies and Luke with his tough message to try, try, and try again to enter the kingdom even though you’ll likely as not fail.
Like I said they both upset me. I don’t believe anyone has a fixed station in life they have to put up with. And I don’t believe God closes the door on anyone who asks entry.
But, truth be told, my discomfort comes in part because both those positions—however much I protest—hold a disturbing attraction for me. If the world were static and the place we were born to were fixed I wouldn’t have to bother my head about justice, about fair pay, about women’s ordination, about gay adoption. I could let it all be. But we’ve seen the world change, witnessed it, and what we know that Paul never could have grasped is that the whole order of things is up for grabs—we decide it even as it decides us.
Same with God the doorkeeper. Part of me would be very happy knowing that God has standards—high standards too—it’s the part of me that would look down on any club that would have me as a member. They say the angels fell over that. That when God let them in on the plan to take flesh and become human they couldn’t bear the thought, couldn’t stand to see God so embarrassed, couldn’t stomach God turning the natural order so far upside down. Better to reign in hell than rub shoulders with animals on two legs. … I guess I want standards too. I guess I find it hard to believe that I don’t have to try and try and likely fail. I guess I’d rather fail than lay down the burden and let myself be loved. Because I guess it does come down to love and loving and being loved.
Isn’t it sad? All the running we do, all the hiding, all the reaching after emptiness—when we could be resting in the great wide open arms of love.