Perfect Moment Monday: Retreat

by Lori Lavender Luz on January 22, 2012

in Mindfulness,Perfect Moment

As part of a year-long course I’m immersed in, I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with a group of authentic and supportive women (12 of us plus a teacher) at a dude ranch called Peaceful Valley. We drove up between snowfalls and, because of the time of year, ended up being the only people there that weekend. It was blissful in many ways.

One way was that I got a dose of the solitude I so often crave. I enjoyed some of that time and mountain air to think about and continue writing my book.

Much of the class time was spent getting acquainted (or reacquainted) with the creation stories of the book of Genesis. The beliefs within have shaped much of western civilization, regardless of which religion you personally may or may not practice.

In Chapter 1 we read about a loving God, the epitome of a good parent, who who creates and gives and blesses. After “male and female created he them,” God rests. Over and over again we read, “It was good.”

In Chapter 2, however, this LORD God dude enters the picture and the story is told all over again.

  • Only in this version, the woman comes from the man’s body (even though everything we’ve ever observed in nature is that the female body delivers new life).
  • Only in this version, god isn’t loving and blessing and giving. In fact, LORD God is a bit of a trickster and not what anyone would use as a model parent. What loving parent would set his innocent children in a beautiful room and say, “Touch anything you want except THIS REALLY SOFT AND COZY BLANKET?” When the children do succumb to the constructed temptation, what compassionate parent would then berate his children, curse them and their progeny for eternity, curse the very earth they live on and banish them from his home?

Can you imagine doing so? I think most of us mere mortals would foresee the folly of the forbidden fruit. But if we didn’t, we’d probably use any resulting disobedience as a teaching moment. Why is it we have given LORD God a pass on this?

  • Later in Genesis, LORD God chooses one brother over the other  in a pattern that later repeats itself. What kind of wise parent would praise a child who hands him a fistful of dandelions but chide the sibling who brings him a frog? The  result of the ensuing jealousy is a murder and another curse and another banishment.

The reason we were talking about the early chapters of Genesis is that we who have a relationship with God may have conflated “God-the-loving” with “LORD God-the-poser.”

Doing so leads to our collective feelings of shame, unworthiness, separation, fear, hopelessness. We have been cursed and deceived and told that our eternal life depends  on loving and being loved by this trickster of a divine parent. No wonder we have evil in the world, as we try to cover up our shame, best each other, and do unspeakable things because we feel disconnected from LORD God and from one another.

It was a lot to think about and a new way of framing my relationship with God. Liberating, really.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

a January 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

And that is why I could never be a fundamentalist…or that interested in organized religion. Interesting analysis, though.

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Lavender Luz January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

One of the points our teacher made was that whether you practice an organized religion or not, whether you believe in God or not doesn’t matter. It’s the shame and unworthiness that comes from the story and has been passed down in our collective consciousness that causes our disconnection and fear and leads to some of the pathology we see in humankind.

Once we know WHY we feel shame and unworthiness, we can choose to release it, if we wish to.

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Kathy January 23, 2012 at 6:02 am

You course sounds very interesting and I am glad you got some peaceful time away for yourself and to work on your book. As a practicing Catholic (who considers myself to be progressive and liberal-moderate in my views), I think it is important to question and learn more about our faith, including God, stories in the Bible and traditions. I appreciate the perspective you have shared here and need some time to ponder it. 

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Lori January 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Sounds like a perfect retreat with some alone time and time with frineds.

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Ratna January 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Wow- perfect… okay I need to write a perfect Moment – I miss memorializing these types of things and there are so many! thanks for sharing!

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Mel January 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I think that we hear the stories so often that we start to tune them out a bit. I certainly hadn’t paid that close attention to the two versions. But now I’ll go back and read them.

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Susan January 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

What an interesting class.
I love Peaceful Valley! When I was a teenager, my family went there every summer and rode horses and did the Wild West thing. I have many fond and not so fond memories (like when a horse rolled over on me) at Peaceful Valley. A beautiful place to visit!

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mrs spock January 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I find it most liberating to rid myself of the idea of a meddling God completely. Whether a God exists or not, and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, makes no impact on my daily life. To me, The Bible is a historical tome and not a spiritual one. I can neither disprove or prove the existence of a God, so my goal is to improve this world as much as I can using my abilities, and approach death, as a thing that will certainly happen, with openness and curiosity.

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des January 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

Peaceful Valley…sounds like a place I’d like to visit, too!

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excavator June 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm

How did I miss this?

My head. You. Know. Where.

Great post; great class. Can human beings become undeceived before it’s too late?

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