"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Friday, January 12, 2007

How this is going to begin...

Sometimes I try to see Julian of Norwich from a traditional theological perspective. From that high position, she is unorthodox, to say the least. One might call her a universalist in her perspectives on salvation and strange in her ideas about sin. But when I actually read Julian, I am completely taken up by her words and her images. There is none of this Post-Enlightenment "this is that" and "that is the other" propositional theology. Hers is more comprehensive and less systematic. Hers is more personal and less interested in categorizing who will go where after death (the true downfall of most American Theology). I like the word "organic" (although it is now becoming trendy and commercialized and thus losing all meaning).

What draws me to Julian is her immediacy. She certainly reached across 600 years to speak to me. Okay, so I'm decidedly a sympathizer with the premodern way of percieving the world. That must be almost entirely due to my precarious situation as a postmodern. It is also due to qualities that I might call, hmm... romantic (as in Whitman and Wordsworth and Coleridge, although I like their poetry some days more than others). I think like an artist and, if I might put it humbly, a seer. It is difficult to say that I aspire to understand truth and beauty in the world, but that is what I hunger for. Every instant is important in this light. The white buisiness man who shoved a young latino on the train this morning is important. The snippet of a conversation I overheard last week is important. It is important when anything out of the "ordinary" happens.

Needless to say this sensibility seems to be completely squashed in my day job right now. Middle schoolers have an incredibly poor sense of the abstract (and terrible vocabularies). I have a really hard time with the concrete (and usually they don't have the foggiest idea what I'm saying). Put us together in a classroom and chaos is likely to ensue. However, sometimes I forget to make the connection that right now discreetly telling a sweet, dark-skinned girl not to wear a white bra with a white sweater is also important. It is also a part of discerning a universe full of truth and beauty.

This blog is for me to write about God and books and culture and especially poetry. My life is exciting in other ways, which will determine my choice of books and topics. But I have a Xanga for the petty, daily parts of my life. I want to start a more serious blog to record my ideas. I need some sort of impetus to dream of returning to the life that I left when I joined the Teaching Fellows.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you're seriously an interesting and cool person. I love the way you write things, and your interests are a lot like mine. Do you by chance like Henry James?