Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Dare You

Mark has challenged me to write a post on how the Bible can be true without being factual, and whether it means anything at all if we start picking and choosing what is factual, as opposed to stories that can point to important truths. This is not a simple task, especially for someone as unschooled in the Bible as I am. But I would like Mark and others to understand how I read the Bible, and why. So I'm working on it.

I think this post will dovetail nicely with the question Suzanne has asked, which is how can rational people believe in a religious faith based on a tale of virgin birth? So I'm working on that too.

In thinking about both these posts, I asked Michael to send me a copy of his sermon titled "People Matter," because at the end of the day, I'm pretty sure that's the key to both questions. So last night, I was reading his sermon and thinking.

At the same time, and totally unrelated, I had asked Julie to write a sonnet for Shannon, who is writing a sonnet a week in the month of December, and has challenged her readers to do the same. I have never fancied myself much of a poet, but Julie is a bit of an idiot savant when it comes to sonnet-writing. I think she dreams in iambic pentameter. So in about thirty minutes, Julie whipped this off:

A “dona nobis pacem” frame of mind

eludes me and the world this time of year:

no peace on earth, no tranquil hope may find

free lodging absent stealth companion’s fear.

The bleak midwinter challenges my mood,

A dilatory penchant for stiff drink,

The promise of vast stores of festive food,

I cannot draw a breath nor even think

About the 40 thousand items on my list

of absolutely musts and shoulds and mights

…How is a girl to stave off being pissed

About responsibilities’ mad flights

through quantum realms of things still left undone?

I fear the race is o’er before ‘tis run.

Yeah, Julie's feeling a little cranky these days, but she was a sport to crank out a sonnet anyway. She made it look so easy, I decided to try my hand. Since I was reading Michael's sermon, I thought I would rewrite it as a sonnet. Almost three hours later, this is what I came up with:

Syrophoenician woman, like a dog

you wait for crumbs of bread to heal your child.

You break convention, touch the man, agog,

insist that no one should be spurned, reviled.

In you Jesus confronts the demon fear:

of woman, gentile, unclean foreigner.

Not just the food he shared beside the pier

is clean, but also now the soul in her

your child. Her soul, your courage magnifies

the Lord, expands his heart and shows him now

what love can make us see through clearer eyes,

and hearts can strive to make their solemn vow:

with no exceptions, never, now nor then,

all People Matter. Lord we say amen!

Julie points out that "Jesus" in the fifth line is not really an iamb, but that it's actually a "substitute foot" that focuses your attention on Jesus. And I just want to be clear that was totally intentional on my part.

I don't think I've ever written a sonnet before, but it was kind of fun. I might write another one soon. I double dare you to give it a try!


Sara said...

I can't think of a more torturous way to spend my time so there will be no sonneting from me! Though I'm entirely impressed, and giggling rather madly at your "intentional" stuff.

Anonymous said...

Dare accepted herewith by Myra.

From festival to festival we yearn

To leave undone the many tasks that beckon.

Perhaps the earth, with every global turn

Grows weary of her solstice tasks, I reckon.

So if the leaves can put on different hues

When Autumn struts her stuff, I guess I can

Devise a new display, as I may choose

With green and gold and scarlet as my plan.

If stars can glow, as still the snowflake drifts

I'll add my contribution to the night.

If heavens can devise celestial gifts

I'll twinkle with a small domestic light.

So toss your list and fret not on your chores.

Here's wishing Love and Peace to you and yours!

What Mama Sews said...

It's gettin' really smart around here..!

Marta said...

sara and jen: write a sonnet. just do it.