Thursday, August 15, 2013

Parenting and when I most identify with, but still don't agree with, Old Testament God

from a less violent time

The closest I get to understanding "Old Testament God" (as I perceive him, anyway. i.e., as a pretty violent and angry dude) is when my girls intentionally hurt each other. It inspires this irrational rage inside of me. My mind goes directly to a worse-case scenario. Yes, nobody was seriously hurt when my child pushed her sister. But what if she pushed her down the stairs? or the Grand Canyon? (Yeah. I told you it was irrational). 

For example, yesterday a child of mine kicked another child of mine in the face. I mean, really. What is that? Pulling hair, I get that. Even pushing. That makes sense to me. But kicking in the face? I just. I can't even with that mess.

And I get that they each have a very immature pre-frontal cortex. They don't have the executive functioning skills to deal with these overwhelming emotions. My pre-frontal cortex, on the other hand, is the one that is (in theory, any way) fully developed. And yet who is the one that will, ultimately, lose it most epically? Mommy. Mommy will. Mommy will lose it in a way that the whole, entire neighborhood will hear (mostly because the front door was open, but whatevs.)

That is kind of how I feel about God. He's the one with all the skills and the perfectness. And yet he loses it. Epically. Many times in the OT.

And yet, here is where God and I part ways.

Even though (as much as I HATE to admit it) there is a part of me that wants to pick up the guilty child and take out all my irrational rage on her tiny, little body, I would never, NEVER, never do that. I am ashamed of myself for even screaming like I did. Because I know that terrifies her (and accomplishes nothing else). But I would never in a million years think that a great way to teach that "violence is bad" is by using more violence. In the words of Audre Lorde, "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change." Violence will never destroy violence. And in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Right now, two oddly parallel things I am struggling with is: learning how to respond with love when every fiber of my being is screaming with crazy rage; and trying to understand how the Old Testament seems to be full of God being a hot mess of doing the exact opposite, and I'm supposed to some how be okay with that and worship Him anyway? I don't know...



  1. If you haven't already, you MUST read this:

    This article is an affirmation of what I have believed about the "god" of the OT for a very long time.

    There is most definitely a God, but the OT dude ain't him. ;-)

    1. You know what is funny, I had JUST heard that Piper interview he references. I mean, I couldn't finish it, but I heard that line. And lawdy. That Piper.

      But thank you for sharing! I love David Hayward. And it is so refreshing to hear people explain the OT in non-literal/fundamentalist terms. It is like a breath of fresh air.

    2. Yes indeed, a breath of fresh air in a world that's wheezing and gasping under the weight of "standard Christian" OT interpretation.

      The mental and emotional gymnastics that one must have to undertake in order to reconcile the true God of Love with the violent and vengeful god of the OT is staggering. No explanation other than the fact that the OT writers were NOT really writing verbatim from God's voice but rather from what they believed to be true about God has ever, or ever will, make sense.

      And I thank God that my mind, beliefs and being has been freed from the (bloody!)chains of adhering to a literal, infallible "direct-from-the-mouth-of-God" bible.

      And Piper, along with Driscoll, Dobson and Robertson (and many others too numerous to list here) need to be put on a boat and sent to a deserted island for the rest of their miserable lives.

    3. P.S. Three Good Things Thursday happened today!!

      And I posted yesterday too!!

      And I finally figured out that you commented!!

    4. Speaking of Dobson, I tried to engage with them online about their "biblical" teachings on hitting your children. But they wouldn't do anything in writing, only on the phone (I totally wanted to turn it into a blog post, where I was like, but I'm confused, at what point do I stone them? my kids are like, really, really bad!" hah) Put them on a boat, INDEED!