Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Search of a Soul

Recently the Lt. Governor of  South Carolina made comments about those people whose children partake of school lunch programs.  Mr Bauer said, and I quote, really! He actually said this!

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,”

Feed "them" and "they" will breed.  And we can't have that !  He insinuated that we should stop feeding the poor so they don't multiply.  Later he would say “…We've got more people voting for a living than we do working for a living,”

Wow! That is stunning.  That is taking people created in God's image, and we are all created in God's image, and truly dehumanizing them.  Refusing to see that in each person there is a "divine original" that can be everything God created him or her to be.  This is taking "the outer" and allowing that to identify the person.  It is making the adjectives definitive.  That person is "poor", or "a person of color" or "vulnerable", or "female", "old" . . . you can supply your own adjective.

It strikes me that Jesus never did that.  He never let the adjectives define the person.  He saw behind the facade of Mary Magdalene, the questionable woman, and Lazarus, the slimy tax collector, and Peter the unstable fisherman.  Instead he saw beyond the exterior, into the heart.  Into what we often call the "soul."  C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body."  I like that !  A lot!  We are not our bodies, be they fat, skinny, or in between. We are not our social standing.  Our jobs.  Our education level.  We are not our race.  We our not our situation in life, affluent, or on public assistance.  We are God's creations.  The children of God.  We are our soul.  That place where God lives and moves.

The next time we look at someone who, from the perspective of our culture, we must look at them at in a new way.  We must see that divine original deep within. That one created in God's image.  Not the person  on an entitlement program.  Not the person with an ideology we can't stand.  That a person who causes us fear, or disdain.  We must see the child of God.

Yes, there is a big lesson here for me.  I must see Lt Gov. Bauer, as a child of God.  I think I have work to do.


  1. A little scary isn't it... too much of this floating around right now. We have really lost our moral compass

  2. When I read this I was going to send you to Anne Lamott. She's the hilarious best on trying to follow Jesus in loving those we. . . don't. But I see from your previous blog you already know her.

  3. Seriously, though, the poor do have too many children.

  4. Universally?

    Besides, WHO gets to decide how many is "too many?"

  5. I simply cannot believe that anyone would suggest that we should not allow children to thrive. Sorry, can't go there. They need healthy bodies and sharp minds. That is the start to a healthy life. I keep going back to Jesus telling his followers that they must take care of the "least of these", those who are most vulnerable.