Against Ecclesiastes

Continuing my war on dichotomies, this morning I take issue with Ecclesiastes 3 (even though I’m never sure how to spell it). “There is…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Anyone who has experienced much of life knows that all times are one. Just as there can be joy and laughter at a funeral, there can be sorrow and regret in the midst of happy times. We never – or almost never – think, “How do I handle, how do I get over, how do I at least conceal this joy?” Others never – or almost never – feel called to remind us that feelings of happiness will pass, that soon we will get on with our lives without feeling happy. We have labeled joy and happiness as good, sorrow and regret as bad. Yet all are simply emotionally honest responses to life. And life is complex – deep and rich and multi-layered. God is complex – the perfectly good, all knowing Supreme Being who created a very imperfect world. I think accepting the coexistence of complex, conflicting emotions may be a small step towards accepting the complex, holy, not-completely-knowable reality of God. If we cannot be comfortable with our own emotional complexity, how can we ever hope to be comfortable with God’s complexity?

And one of the ways we have been taught to reduce God’s complexity is to think of God, to worship God, solely as male, the Supreme Him. So much Christian misogyny flows from this. It is a challenge to accept both that God is a personal Being, in relationship with us, and to avoid assigning God a sex and gender. Might this be something our LGBTQ compatriots could help us become more comfortable with?

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