Sunday, June 11, 2006

Where do you stand?

No, this is not one of those awful doctrinal litmus-test posts, nor is it a "Choose your own religion/denomination/worship style/heresy" quiz. Rather, I've been thinking about what a visual person I am-- everything I read or think about unspools like a movie behind my eyes. I place myself at a certain angle or in a certain role in a scene and my response to it is shaped accordingly.

A friend said something interesting when we were having wine and meze a couple of months ago. We were talking of Lent, I think, and the more intense experience of faith that often comes with it. She said that for her, faith is often an intellectual exercise (she's getting a doctorate in theology) more than a direct experience of God. And that's hard for her. In fact, she said, one of her few points of personal identification with the scriptures is with Jesus as he's nailed to the cross, looking out and crying "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

It had never occurred to me to identify with Jesus at that moment. Instead, as I said to her, when those words hit me in the gut and pull me toward the man crying out on the cross, it's as one of those at the foot of the cross--mother, sister, apostle, friend-- standing there longing to rush forward, to pull out those nails and hold that bleeding body, telling him that I at least have not forsaken him, that all might still be well.

This may sound a bit overwrought and medieval mystic-like. I don't mean it that way. But I do think it's interesting that the two of us placed ourselves in such different roles in that scene. Is that common? And what does my reaction say about me?


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