Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ruminations on Lauren Winner's "Wearing God"

Summer has arrived and the calendar is relatively clear. There's lots of books to read, movies/TV to watch, and music to listen to. As is always the case and rarely the reality, in efforts to more deeply process what I'm consuming, I hope to also write about a few of the highlights along the way.

A while back, I finished Lauren Winner's book Wearing God, her latest ruminations and theological wanderings couched nicely in her story-telling. In it, Winner explores the lesser explored metaphors we use for God. For example: smell, laboring woman, or laughter. For me, coming from a thoroughly Christian background and having almost always lived in one Christian bubble or another, the metaphor for God as shepherd or cornerstone or [fill in the blank] do not become less true but rather become more easily looked over.

I've long been a believer that all Truth is God's Truth. This maxim often reveals itself in pop culture, say movies, for example. The depravity of drug use in Requiem for a Dream or the joy and art of cooking in Chef. While neither of these movies contain the whole truth (what single story does?), they have elements of God's larger Truth for us as humanity and are honest to the story's individual characters. I think I've long been generous in allowing unusual and, sometimes, untested art and stories and situations speak to me. I'm comfortable with my current state of generosity though I'm still learning.

What I really enjoy about Wearing God is Winner's ability to speak very intelligently and personally to truly connecting with God through all corners of life. All of her metaphors are drawn from the Bible though she explores the grittiness of the human experience. The importance of breathing in the labor process or laughter that is proleptic of the world to come. The book has been a good reminder for me not to allow the "all Truth is God's Truth" adage to lead towards uncritical consumption but rather to see life for what it is, full of God's goodness despite our fallenness. I believe this type of perspective is like putting on 3-D glasses after only seeing in 2-D though I'm not sure of the biblical soundness of this metaphor.

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