Friday, March 4, 2011

They Love Me and Leave Me

I am the Pretty Girl.  My features are often coveted.  My figure studied by many a female compared it to their own.  I am the Smart Girl.  I boast the Dean’s List with a 4-point grade average at University level.  My teachers and professors take delight in reading my papers and correcting my work.  I am the Talented Girl.  My vocals are good enough to sweeten the atmosphere; my eyes capable of capturing pictorial moments with camera, pencil and paint; my fingers rhythmic enough to persuade the guitar and tambourine; and, my mind sharp enough to design poetry, song, narrative and blog.  I am absolutely astonished at the degree to which these magnificent attributes have caused me so much grief; not because of the numerous possibilities they encourage, but, because of the relational inversion they create.  I find that I have many suitors but few lovers….
Educational halls, shopping malls, extended family get-togethers and corporate church gatherings.  In each place I am singled out and responded to, for the most part, as a result of these distinctions.  I receive flattery on the hinge of jealousy.  Truly, I meet with few hearts.  My quality investments are hoped for, my personal world is not.  This little place in the heart where I live is often ignored, unshared.  Though I am aptly courted, I deeply lament the loss of a lover’s fellowship.  What is one commodity to do?
Follow my metaphor and comparisons…  
The human race, I fear, has become an iconic welfare people.  We live and breathe on the useful resources of our neighbors.  Each person, partially gifted with some attributes to offer, exists as a means of securing our welfare, our survival.  We worship the necessity and embellishment they bring.  They are our demi-gods for as long as those resources exist.  It’s no small thing that we depend on neighborly resources.  It’s a larger affair, however, that our neighbors can be reduced to commodities themselves.  I am one of these commodities; appraised and valued commercially.  I am an icon and super hero for as long as I can produce profitable beauty, intelligence and talent.  So are You.  Keep following my comparisons…
Super heros or demi-gods, whichever term you prefer, are loved for what their abilities can bestow, however, they are often hated for having abilities that the average individual does not have.  A love-hate relationship exists of dependency and jealousy.  Sacrifices and teasing - anything to secure a means of personal welfare; anything to get what the demi-god has got.  But since they are commodities, necessary sources alone, no real interest in their welfareKeep following…
Hosea’s personal plight is strewn dramatically and half-hazardly across our conscience.  He is begging us to hear.  Although, truly, I don’t think he is entirely concerned with our listening.  Hosea has tapped pathos… .God’s pathos.  He watches God give His heart away.  No, he felt God give His heart away to Israel.  He felt it as he gave his heart to a women who took it for all it was worth… .as a commodity.  God gave His attributes.  They, Israel loved them… .and left Him.  Follow…
I have met with this beautiful Creator who loved Israel.   His eyes, they say, are like “a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14), casting their perceptual gaze in every possible direction (Ezekiel 10:12).  What deeply spiritual and future things could be perceived through them?  I have met He, the Wise One of Universes.  His wisdom enthrones a sovereign realm of order that lavishes our flourishing galaxy with bountiful structure (Proverbs 3:19-20).  What organizational strategies might we extract from His creatively written instructions in the sky and in the sand?  I have met with His mighty powers.  My talents pale in comparison.  He sets His finger over the waters and they split (Exodus  14).  His verbal vibrations topple walls (Joshua 6).  How might we contain this powerful expression and set it loose, under our control, to manipulate its benefits?  
How might we make use of this Beautiful One, Almighty Artistic One… .this Powerful God of innumerable attributes?  If He comes into the room could we subdue Him?  Train Him?  Unleash Him?  Might we wink and saunter, flatter and court Him correctly until the most profitable benefits have been amply extracted?
Gomer glides into the room and acknowledges the family alter.  Yahweh sits on a shelf amongst the household gods.  He is full of blessings.  Far beyond my own, His attributes are vast.  I believe I, a neighbor, sit upon that shelf as well.  I, an unseen personal soul, have been dipped in gold and sought for my giftings.  Pathos.  Perhaps a neighbor has gilded You as well.  Pathos.  Do you feel God’s pain?  
I invite you to read all of  Ezekiel, chapter 8.  When it came to pass that God no longer poured out His blessing on a rebellious Israel who loved the super qualities of any deity, the whoring nation left Him and sought any available god with beauty, brains and talent.  “And there engraved on the wall all around (Yahweh’s temple), was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel,” Ezekiel 8:10.  If Yahweh cannot be summoned to play His part, we will seek another, they think…. .one of these gods will work for us.   Israel sought protection, posterity and material prosperity.  They consumed wherever the attributes and goods could be found.  Often, in our longings, dreams and desires, the Creator is a shelved demi-god.  Useful.  Maybe.  One of many.  “Loved” and left.  
I don’t believe that we purposely seek God or neighbor exclusively for their goods all of the time.  And, much of the time when we do it, I venture, we don’t even know that we are doing it.  I will remind us, nevertheless, one personal soul to another, that neither the Almighty Artistic One nor His creation are merely goods to consume.  Take a listen to Hosea who cries from the heart… .his goods are taken and dispersed to other suitors and he is left alone.  Take a listen to God and this prophet of pathos who occupy religious shelves.  I don’t want to flatter and court God for what He has to offer… .I don’t want to be flattered and falsely courted for what I have to offer…. .and neither do you…
Let not my forerunning list of personal attributes suggest any egotism or attempt to illicit self pity.  Life presents us with many opportunities to engage pathos with both God and man.. .and I have found Him here seeking to be more than an impersonal commodity to humanity…

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