God of Nothing

Vase FacesDuring a Sunday service my pastor asked the congregation for our images of God. What people shared—God as the sound of children laughing; God as prairie; God as executive assistant—filled me with hope. Holiness is abundant, emerging in and through creation, and can be encountered in the smallest of ordinary moments. I too have known God as the breadth of the Hudson River, its salt water pushing against the fresh water flow, its expanse my wide margin, its current my clear direction. I’ve known God in the indiscriminate attraction of my bisexual body. I’ve experienced God in the joy of a climate march and a Black Lives Matter protest and in a community’s story-telling at a beloved member’s funeral.

But had my pastor confronted me yesterday, had she held the microphone to my face and waited for me to muster up my courage, I would have said God is emptiness. I kneel these days before the God of nothing. (more…)

Paper Doll Spirituality

IMG_2210Recently Gwyn’s kindergarten celebrated the 100th day of school with an assignment to bring a hundred things to class. We suggested Gwyn put one hundred beads on a string. No interest. We suggested she count out a hundred elbow noodles. No go. On a whim I said, “I bet if you gathered up all the paper dolls you’ve made, you’d have a hundred.”

Gwyn has been making paper dolls obsessively for over a year. She has Emily or I draw an outline of a body, then she colors the skin, face, and hair and creates a wardrobe—with flaps. For Christmas her great aunt gave her paper doll stencils which occasionally now take the pressure off us. When Gwyn read about how Betsy and Tacy cut their paper dolls from magazines, she added that variation. Her favorite paper dolls she makes in sets—the Christmas set with Mr. and Mrs. Santa and some elves; the Frozen set with Anna and Elsa’s complete wardrobes; the “Mama, Imma, and Gwyn go to Hawaii” set, with hula skirts and lava-proof suits. I particularly love the set of God paper dolls. They have enormous heads, small bodies, and they’re related: grandfather and grandmother God, the parent Gods, the kid Gods with curly hair, the toddler Gods. “All the world’s a family,” Gwyn likes to say. I’m glad that’s how she thinks of God. (more…)