Monday, February 06, 2006


i have been thinking much about the cloud. i thought it would disperse and i would be in the clear, but it lingers. i read this passage in my daily prayers:

When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD'S glory had filled the temple of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever" (i sam 8:10-13).

don potter has said,
it's cloudy today, God wants to be near His people.
when i get really scared and uncertain of the path i am on, i listen again to don potter. some tapes from a conference my sister sent. i listened to don potter all day saturday.

some of the things that strike me about his words are they speak the very hard things of God. there is no quick easy path to righteousness, and don points out it is mostly cloud. unknowing.

i am reminded to entrust myself then, to the cloud. for it houses the presence of God. allow me to quote merton, another great soul who soothes me:
To pray "in spirit and in truth" enables us to enter into contact with that infinite love, that inscrutable freedom which is at work behind the complexities and intricacies of human existence. This does not mean fabricating for ourselves pious rationalizations to explain everything that happens. It involves no surreptitous manipulation of the hard truths of life. Meditation does not necessarily give us a privileged insight into the meaning of isolated historical events. They can remain for the Christian as much of an agonizing mystery as they do for anyone else. But for us the mystery contains, within its own darkness and its own silences, a presence and a meaning which we apprehend without fully understanding them. And by this spiritual contact, this act of faith, we are ourselves properly situated in the events around us, even though we may not quite see where they are going.

merton releases me then from the taxing need for answers and clarity. for that i am grateful. i don't read many current authors because they have so many answers. they have it all figured out it seems, i guess one must come at a book having something to say, something worthwhile, something marketable. but these are not the words that soothe me. and it is probably not wisdom to think one can have a book that lacks significant answers.

i guess what i'm getting at is what i want to do most. provide no clear cut answers, but to come alongside a reader and live with them. to be a friend and help, like merton is to me. perhaps i ask too much of readers to allow me this place of trust and openness. but i do not think so.

i've been contemplating belly dance for a great while. it is a gorgeous dance. my body does it well. i took a workshop once where the lady behind me said,
how do you get the wiggle in?
as i wiggled away in front of her, the instructor said,
you don't get it in, you let it out.

do i teach my daughter to dance like this? do i entrust something so powerfully beautiful to a mere child, knowing our society is debauched. i do not know. her dad said no way before. he is not objecting now. i am uncertain so i wait. and read the passage of herod and herodias' daughter with much fear and trembling.

what has made me think of this passage is a book i received recently. written for young women to stay pure. my writing a book like that would be like the magdalene writing a book like that. it is certainly an angle. perhaps not the kind of angle one wants.

i imagine magdalene would speak of how she was handled by all men as a chamber pot instead of a chalice. until she met one Man. that Man gave her an understanding of her intrinsic worth, something not to be taken from her again. i guess that is the angle a christian would want to read a book from, the redeemed saying, this is where i've come from.

but something tells me magdalene would be more honest about it all.

so i think herodias' daughter is a type of magdalene. as a youth, perhaps her mother and father used her as a go between, to run grisly errands. and she thought of herself as nothing more than an executioner of sorts.

how will i teach my daughter to be pure? hopefully, by teaching her to understand who she is in Christ. i do not think anything else is required. once i got that, much was righted for me. though the years of damage had been done.

i hope it works in both directions. that going forward knowing herself in Christ, she will not allow anyone to handle her as a chamber pot, for she is actually, a chalice.

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