Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rolex 2008

We went down to good ol' Kentucky this past weekend to watch the Rolex Three Day Eventing. We went before in 2005 and I loved the weekend. I wrote about it twice, once here and another here... This year I went with Kate, my mom and sister. It was a change from last time as Puppet Nuts wasn't with us, although he was missed.

I really love Rolex. Lexington is a beautiful city, the land is breath taking, and the food is top notch. My sister lived down there as she went to UK. It's great driving in a city with someone who knows the in's and out's. we ate at Gumbo Ya-Ya and Warring Station... Cajun and awesome panini's delish!

Time with family is great. It is tense and hard sometimes as your dealing with ppl who've known you all of your life and have certain expectations of you to follow. When you break out of these expectations it can be traumatic and there will be some who will try to put those expectations back on to you... force you back into that box. My family has dealt with this and is still dealing with it on many levels i won't get into... but aren't all families having to deal with this? what junk does your family attach to you, dear reader? i'm sure you have plenty of examples.

i write this to say that not only am i the victim of this but also the perveyor as well. i wear both hats equally. what this weekend has shown is the dangers of this... of not really listening to one another, of just hearing what you expect to hear, not what is actually said. my family works to actively listen to one another, but it's a hard row to tow. it takes a lot of work.

what boxes are we being stuck with because of our gender, sexual identity, race, and ethnicity? we all get hit with this. as soon as i said KENTUCKY i bet some images popped into your head. even some that would say "of course he can go to Kentucky, he's a white, straight, middle-class male, he'd have no problem." that is boxing. so what boxes do you work to overcome? what challenges are you facing due to expectation?

i ask, and i really want to know, because i think what boxes we face have an affect on how we view God. i've been discussing with a fellow blogg'n seminarian about the pronouns we use for God. is it fair to God, that when i pray to God i picture a white male with a beard and call God "He"? How spiritually mature is this practice? I'm well aware that all the pronouns in the bible are "He" for God, but how fair is that? Are we boxing God? Are we putting labels on God that shouldn't be there in the first place?

I would say the answer is yes, we are. not only do we do it to ourselves and the ones we love... but we do it to our Creator as well. True love is seeing the other for what they are and responding to them out of compassion and empathy. expectations can be good as it's great to have goals... but they can be equally restraining. so just consider this... ask yourself what boxes are you using, and see if some of those would be better placed in your attic.

looking forward to your responses.


Brad said...

We all bear the image of God. Thus God is not only white, nor only male. Jesus was both fully God and fully human. In that case alone, God is a man. Was/Is He white? Probably not. He probably didn't have long hair or a long beard either (carpentry is hard and hot work, both would be in the way).

God the Father and Holy Spirit are without gender, and are not physical. How we bear God's image is limited only by how He created us. God is referred to as a Father (Ps. 89:26; Is. 9:6; Mal. 2:10) and refers to Himself as Father (Jer. 3:19; Matt. 5:16, and many places in the NT). This "Fatherhood" is a dominant role, not a gender. There are other roles He fulfills as well, and none of them ascribe gender either.

God is many things infinitely (loving, just, faithful), but not an infinite number of things (evil, cruel, fickle). There are many "boxes" that God chooses to put Himself into, in order to define Himself and make Himself knowable to His people.

It is a cultural presupposition that we bring to the text that says "boxes are bad." The goal is to put God in the boxes He has put Himself into, not to refrain from putting Him in any box at all. We don't define God. God defines God.

Anonymous said...

God in a 'box' - something we all have to wrestle with - the definition of a God without an image - trying to make an image of Him...hmmmm.

Now Brad does state Jesus is God - so that defines his position - God is defined in some way by the very notion of Jesus walking, talking, and shaking hands. I would also say he is right - God would have to be 'male' seeing that Jesus was.

I do not adhere to Jesus being God so this leaves my view of God more open (in that sense). God is not truly defineable - God is a Spirit - we are human (we're also creations of the Creator - by virtue we are much smaller than God and easily defineable). But how many God exist to make comparisons and define this God we know? One...right? It's going to be truly tough to physically define God - seeing we have no actual basis for this mystery.

And that's how I like it - God's image is indefinable. We try to define and make imagery - but we are guessing with even the most sharpest of our faculties. I do believe - God does not need an image...He just is.

Ron said...

Going to Kentucky brings up many great memories for me. It's not because of my race but more so my family. My step-mom's family settled there after they left upstate NY. Louisville was where they lived but my step-mom went to Univ. of Kentucky. Great traditions of college basketball and the rivalries of Louisville (that place the Wildcat fans think has no business in college ball or playing the a great team like Kentucky) vs. Kentucky.

Many memories of visiting family there. Colonel Sanders KFC and his wife little place that has the best southern food! Churchill Downs and stories of the Derby. Never made a race yet.

Then there are the great times visiting my friend there while I was in the Navy. He went to UK as well so I had the knowledge of the university and area that I got to share with him. Turned him into a basketball fan in no time. Finally got to see a game at the great Rupp Arena...it was against some poor team that got obliterated. Going to Keeneland race track on a day where the prelims. for the Derby were running. We had no clue until we were standing next the CBS sports crew that something big was going on there.

I do how ever keep the state in a "box". It's a box or sterotypes - "rednecks", rebel flags, them calling me a Yankee, etc. It humors me to see many people there not able to move forward in these cases. Most of the things in that box are substantiated by a large part of the people in the state.

Ok, now for the bible using he & him, etc. As a person with non-specific beliefs and an open mind I ask you this - what pronoun would you use instead of he or him? I understand where you're going with the observation...at least I think I do.

Luke said...

brad- we came to a great understanding on your blog, thank you for you comments here as well.
As for God placing Godself in a box, i see that... but don't expect God to stay there.

societyvs- agreed!

ron- i wouldn't use a pronoun. God the Father, Mother of us all. thanks for your comments and thoughts! i forgot you had a connection to KY!

Anonymous said...

As a student of languages I find the 'unnecessary' emergence of gender classifications for nouns an intriguing one. For instance in all the Latin, Germanic, Slavonic and Celtic languages the word for 'day' is masculine and the word for 'night' is feminine. From the perspective of the many millions of speakers of those languages one would have to say, when commenting on the day and the night: "It's been a hard day!" - "Yes he has", and conversely "What a beautiful night!" - "Yes, she is". Although linguists would say that these assignments of gender are random and have no essential significance, they cannot help but color the thinking of those who have to use them in their everyday speech.

In Hebrew the word for Spirit is Ruach which is a feminine gender word. Whenever God's Spirit was referred to in the Old Testament, whether or not the hearer was consciously aware of it, or indeed liked it, the essential nature of God was being attributed to some degree, if only subliminally and subjectively, with female characteristics. Unfortunately this was lost with the New Testament's use of Greek in which the word for Spirit, Pneuma, is a rather cold neuter word. As a result, generations of Christians have oftened referred to the Spirit as 'It'. I much prefer the Hebrew 'original' ... "when the Spirit comes, SHE will guide you into all truth".

I'm slightly jealous of non-Indo-European languages, such as Finnish, Hungarian, Basque, etc. in which no distinction is made between he and she, or his and hers... "God is good!" - "Yes ** is"... without having to constantly reinforce a male-dominated system.