What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Category Archives:Co-creating with Mother God

Acorn’s Passing: Animals and Mother God

In the middle of the night, our rabbit, Acorn, who lives in the backyard, was mauled by a raccoon or two. We knew they’d been coming in sometimes. But normally they ate cat food, washed their hands in the cat water, and left. (Raccoons have hands more than paws in my estimation).

But last night there was no cat food available. The bunny was available.

We are all grieving and distracted. For about a half an hour, Marshall threatened us with death if we didn’t resurrect the bunny. He said, “I know God can do it if you pray!”

It was a twisted affirmation of both his faith and ours. But he didn’t know how the bunny died because I didn’t tell him. It was a judgment call; one of those mercy lies, I guess.

I am feeling overwhelmed because it is 2:17, in the heat of the afternoon, and forest fires are burning in Willimina, not far from here. The sky here is blocked from color and the usual brilliant summer light. I want to keep my kids in due to the pollution, but can’t. Sam is outside now with Joel.

I guess I am sensing that the animals are suffering there, too. I am (again) thinking through this thing called the Food Chain, theologically. When Marshall was 5, I bought him a gold painted lion and lamb ornament to remind him of the Not Yet. That things will be different some day. He’d cried for fifteen minutes when Joel told him that birds eat bugs. He loves bugs and birds both.

Now, at 9 and a half, he stuffs his tears away in threats and anger. It’s not right, the way things are.

Julian of Norwich’s famous prayer “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well” is preceded by “Sin is necessary, but…”

And I’ve heard the Best of all Possible Worlds talk (Leibniz). Is this it? Could Mother God really do no better? No better way to control animal populations?

The adage “There is a reason for everything” seems hollow in the face of natural forces that destroy.

“There is a season for everything” might be more appropriate: pain and suffering occur, but they are not the final word. They are temporary.

And maybe my distress is partly due to the people-izing of animals. They aren’t people. A rabbit expects to be prey, on some level.

But people are predators, too, like those raccoons. Occasionally the Humane Farming Association sends me their magazines. Thankfully they don’t traumatize me with pictures of suffering. But I get the idea. Animals we eat live horrific lives before we eat them. I feel rather removed from it all, having gone to Fred Meyer’s to take out a pink slab wrapped in plastic and drop it in some boiling water. Organic yes, but the organically fed animals don’t fare better.

All I know is, whatever may have been the best Mother God could do, there’s better days ahead. And we get to help Her make them happen. We get to help Mother God make a new world for the lion and the lamb and the cow. And the bunny, too.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9, NRSV

What bugs you about the food chain, or do you just not think about it? How would you have done it better if you were Mother God?

Do you get angrier at God when you call Her Mother, or less? Is God the Father more trustworthy when it comes to figuring out the mysterious ways of the Creator?

What part do we play in creating a new world for animals?

 

 

What Would Raffi Do?

The first song I heard by Raffi, the Canadian children’s folksinger, was “Biscuits in the Oven.” Tears gathered in my eyes as I danced with 1-year-old Marshall. I sensed this man was responding deeply to a calling to love, that can only come from God. The words were simple, but his voice and music fed my soul.

Recently, we found some of our old Raffi CDs we’d misplaced, and we play them daily. His are the only songs with lyrics that Marshall, my nine-year old Asperkid, will listen to. He, too, knows that Raffi is a mentor, a real presence in our lives calling us to goodness, truth and justice. When Marshall is upset, Raffi calms him.

When Raffi wrote a song called “In the Real World” on his CD “Love Bug,” Marshall said, “He can’t mean it.” But I explained that Raffi really does think the world of trees, flower, sky and sun is better than the online world. He got quiet.

I recently finished Raffi’s autobiography, written in 1998. I couldn’t help but search for a sign of a faith in Christ. One of his grandmothers was deeply evangelical and prayerful, though the pamphlet-giving type. As for Raffi, he wasn’t impressed with Christianity, nor the New Age or yogic philosophy he briefly explored. He was attracted to Taoism in college.

Now he talks about listening to The Creator in prayer and taking his life’s work as a calling. He strives for integrity. The value of caring for children comes first, over money.

It seems to me that Raffi has a sense of being a co-creator with God, and an understanding of the sacredness of children. He’s drawn on the feminine aspects of God intuitively, allowing the Spirit reign in his work and life. The idea for activism for children came to him in a vision. He clearly listens, stays open, to God. Can that happen without believing in Jesus? Yes, I think it happens all over the world every day.

It occurred to me that someone could start a WWRD movement, What Would Raffi Do? But he’d find that over-the-top. Nonetheless, I find great overlap in Raffi’s view of children and Jesus’s.

Raffi starts his autobiography, “Children are the most reasonable people I know.” Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you will never enter the reign of God” (Matt. 18:3). I think Raffi was saying that the values of children right the world again, make adult reason seem paltry. And that they tell the truth when adults would prefer they didn’t. And this too was Jesus’ point. Children enter into the world of faith easily, and this, said Jesus, was the work of God (John 6:29).

Adults aren’t usually so good at taking cues from little humans who are supposed to show respect, more than be respected. But we’ve got a lot to learn. True, Raffi and Jesus are both childless men. But I think they give us tired, just-give-me-ten-minutes-alone-in-the-bathroom parents more objectivity.

In Jesus, we see both a Mother and a Father unlike any most of us have experienced. This divine parent welcomes children in the presence of adults–in a culture where children had little power. Then, in front of those same adults, praises the kids as examples of spiritual maturity (Matt. 19:13-15).

You never hear Jesus scolding a child. And, never a word to parents about discipline. No quoting of Proverbs about not sparing the rod. Just Jesus’ quiet insistence that children understand God and the way things should go, in ways his adult followers did not.

Raffi seems to get that. I have pasted his Covenant for Honouring Children below from his website. So when you get to a hard place in your life with kids–just ask, What Would Jesus and Raffi Do?

The Secret Odors of God

They disguise God, of course, these odors of earth. But some have noses

For underarm sweat when we’ve gone straight to the door

 

From hammering nails; because someone knocked,

We invited her in, served her spaghetti.

 

For baby poo from mama’s milk. They say it smells like buttered pop corn,

And like love that is never wasted.

 

For the urine of that little boy who misses the toilet most times.

(I’m on my knees with Jesus.)

 

For the moon-lit blood women cast away,

That rises again to nourish miracles.

 

For the potato peels beneath dirty dishes

From which could grow a zebra or a mouse with time and God’s intention.

 

Luther said shit was a product of the fall. Could he

Imagine a world

Without it?

 

The muck of re-creation, of work, of birth:

It smells,

Like God.

Co-creating with Mother God

The day after the last post, I peeked out the window and saw a western blue bird fluttering around the trampoline. When I went to the door, it flew away. I heard activity high up in the Catalpa tree. I think this was Mama Bird coming down to thank us for saving one of her babies. Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but I looked up at the black container nailed to the tree and felt all was well.

I have been excited about a poem I wrote called “The Secret Odors of God.” It’s about the mucky smells of God’s work, all She has birthed.

It occurred to me in the past day that, like Julia Cameron says, I am a co-creator with God. I’m excited about my poem because Mother God and I wrote it together. It’s the same reason I am loving the work of writing this blog, trying out this Mother God experiment. New growth is taking place in me; Mother God is rototilling, composting, planting and enjoying what is coming up.

When Marshall was little I wasn’t writing, except to journal. I used to exercise every day though, to this one DVD by Amy Dixon. During her cardio workout, she’d say, “Find your breath, and find your way home.” I used to cry every single time I heard it. I hadn’t found either breath, or home. But now that I am writing daily, I am breathing and I am home.

At the same time that I am loving what I am doing in my head, I daily admire what God has created, Her work on earth. We have a garden this year, I mean a real one, not a sorry, wish-I’d-been-watered-more version. My 25-year-old step-son and his wife have come most weekends this spring to learn about organic gardening by doing it.

We have, for the 9th year, taken over the curbside with rows of peas, bush beans, broccoli, cabbage, and corn, along with winter squash and pumpkins. In the yard, we’ve got beds of Walla Walla onions, ten varieties of tomatoes, and ever-bearing strawberries.

Sam is learning to spot the ripe ones and gobbles them up after plucking off the leaves. He smells like strawberries now as he sleeps in my arms.

The sweet peas are in at the fence, and we have a square sunflower garden still hiding the seeds but promising 12 foot flowers and a fun play space. Seeds wait, everywhere—hollyhocks, nasturtiums, bluebells.

The soil and the still air start speaking at around 6 in the evening. King David, or whoever wrote that psalm, may have felt like I do when he wrote, “the heavens are telling the glory of God; the firmament proclaims (her) handiwork” (Psalm 19:1,2). I can’t put into words what they say. But, I listen, I wait, I look: something important is happening in the stillness and I can absorb it if not understand it.

Tonight Joel will have grappled with the sweaty, smelly part of co-creation with the big rototiller, on the other curbside. I will take wildflower seeds and fescue grass seeds and scatter them, then sprinkle them with water. I will be aware of Mother God, and maybe She will say, “Let’s do this again soon.”