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

Thursday, September 21, 2023

God Wrestlers

A friend of mine is taking an online course in Judaism

This person is struggling with faith

In a period of deconstruction, perhaps

Or may reconstruction

Who knows


In the middle of the class, Rabbi Terlinchamp was teaching what Yisrael really means. 

She explained that the Biblical name of the Jewish people

literally means "God wrestlers." 


And then she said, "If you aren't wrestling with God and your beliefs, then you aren't being true to the biblical texts." 


It is kind of a thing in the Bible

This idea of wrestling with God

It seems like everyone struggles

Adam and Eve, who chose poorly

Abraham, who didn’t quite trust

Moses, who ran away

Jacob, who literally wrestled

Job, who challenged

David, who messed up (time and time again)

Peter, who denied

James and John, who wanted special status


Paul, wretched man


Why is it that so often we are merely to




Don’t question!

Don’t struggle!


Just believe what you are taught

Do what you are told



I am sorry

I have questions

I struggle with a lot of what I have been taught

From childhood on


It may just be me!

Maybe I am the master of complication

And overthink everything


But still

There are those strugglers


And I think the Sacred is just too complex

Too big

Too mysterious

To be boiled down into 10 commandments

And a few formulaic confession


I think what I can affirm is simple

Maybe a little vague

God is

God is love

Jesus is Lord (whatever that means)

I am to love God, love myself, and love those around me


Outside of that?

I struggle with the meaning of the cross

Struggle with the things in the Bible that don’t fit with other things

How does hell fit in with a God of Love?

How does slaughtering your enemies (there is genocide in the Bible)

Fit is with love your neighbor

How does a wrathful, retributive God work if we are called to forgive

70 X 7


Love my enemies?

Bless them?

That works fine until I start thinking about those I don’t like

Who I think are awful human creatures?

Bless Donald? Lauren? Marjory?



Bless and do not curse?

God has me in a headlock


I think that I will never be one of those people

Who simply “rests” in God

(although at times that is nice)



I think I will always wrestle

And limp all the way to the promised land.



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