Is there a choice in love? Is there free-will in love?
I was asked the question recently and had to stop and pause. For me free-will and choice are like the air I breathe – they just “are”.
Yet when it comes to all this God Stuff, we so often seem to park that in favour of “need”. We become subjects of God, servants of God, worshipers of God, indebted to God, less than God, way less than God, poor sinners saved by God, poor sinners who are nothing without God.
I say we choose that relationship as we choose all relationships.
I have read a lot of words written about the verses below.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45
All the words I read about these words almost always focus on the two foetuses “knowing” one was God and the other was in the presence of God. And that is confirmed by the mothers voicing it which makes it true. Because mothers “know”. So there is no choice in the “message”:
“God is Great – see the evidence – now worship.”
This year I don’t need this to be the message. I don’t need this to be evidence. It may be, it could be – or it may not be. This time around I see this …
In a time and place and culture dominated by testosterone, where so much was controlled by the male of the species, where right was might, where death and mutilation was a lesson in “don’t do that again”, where rules and laws were enforced brutally, where occupation was a way of life, where “my laws of my culture” took second place to “your laws of your culture (and rule)” … comes this:
Two “women” – one old and past child-bearing age, one young and not even married – two insignificant and wrong “elements” of this time and place and reality …
Yet this “Christmas Story” places them as the lead actors. Places the Creator of the Universe as a tiny foetus – reliant for its very life upon an “insignificant wrong element” – in a massively testosterone-fueled society. Which for me turns “logic” on its head and places humanity and all are (equally) sacred at its very heart.
I think we get caught up in the “God bit” a little too much. I think we get caught up in the “literal” a whole heap too much. And I think that gets us all into a whole pile of trouble. It gets us into “I believe” and “you must believe” and all of that eternal “I am right and you are wrong” we have nurtured and perfected.
I like anything that cuts through the crap and offers a new way of living. It allows me to choose something better. Something kinder. Something more and more inclusive.
So this year i wonder what you gain by having to believe this is true as written? What you gain by needing to believe this actually happened as written? And what do you gain by seeing this as just “religion” and the root of all that is bad in the world?
And why do you ask me to choose one “belief” over another “belief” – tell me I have no choice but to choose one over the other – tell me I need to choose one over the other to be saved or remain damned?
That all sounds very brutal.