Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Reflection

I'm reading the book, "When God is Silent," by Barbara Brown Taylor for my Spiritual Practices class. This is a very interesting book. It's got a poetic quality to it. I'd like to share a reflection I've had while reading.

On page 53, Taylor paraphrases Richard Elliott Friedman and his book, "The Disappearance of God." Together they are talking about how God seems silent to us for a variety of reasons. Friedman, being a Hebrew scholar talks about "the divine recession in the Hebrew Bible...Divine features that were distinct at the beginning of the story grow blurry as God withdraws, stepping back from human beings so that they have room to step forward."

What this has me thinking about is family. In the early days, God was among God's people, talking to them, telling them about what they should do and about God's love for them. God made promises and gave commandments, and was pretty much loud and clear. It's kind of like when parents have young children. When I was young, I listened to my parents a lot. I was and still am a serious rule follower. I was always afraid of the repercussions, should I break the rules.

So, with this thought of God moving away, I'm thinking, "Is this the adolescence of history?" Seriously, though. Many teenagers rebel against their parents. Some rebellions are large, and some are not. But, many teens rebel. But, at the same time as this rebellion, many parents also take a step (however small) back in order to try to let their son or daughter test out some bit of independence. I would imagine that most parents appreciate when their child does well, but I also think that parents yearn for their child to take a step toward them. Unfortunately, a lot of adolescents turn from their parents to try to find their own way.

So, what is next? Are we ever going to become adults? Are we going to realize that Dad knew what he was talking about? Are we going to take that step toward our loving Parent, after finally realizing the reason we weren't allowed to stay out all night, or get a sports car on our 16th birthday, or just run amok? Are we going to turn back to God and truly ask God for advice on how to live our lives? Or when we do, is it going to be too late? Will God be so sick of our rebellion that we are disregarded? I don't think so. Actually, I'm pretty confident that God is never going to totally disregard us. There may be some silence now, but I don't think that God will leave us alone. God loves us. Through all the stages of our lives, God loves us. I believe it is that love that speaks volumes.

Barbara Brown Taylor, When God is Silent, Cowley Publications, Cambridge, MA, 1998.

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