Sunday, November 28, 2010
Marilynne Robinson, "The dark side of justice," 2004
"Can we imagine that He is happy?"
The story of Christ in the wilderness -- "How do we know this story? Did Jesus tell it himself? Regardless, it is strange, an embrace of natural laws, limitations."
A riff on the old English of "gospel," God spell, an accounting of Christ's speech patterns, the way he introduces statements with Amen, translated as verily. Literature, she notes, proceeds by pushing toward definition. (Really?) "The Messiah is a definition of how God will act in history." But Jesus, she proposes, presents a counterintuitive definition, since he is not an action hero.
"The revolution that goes on continuously," she says -- Christ in the world, I believe she means -- "is a refining of definitions."
"The whole Bible is trying to say, 'I take this very seriously.'" She speaks of God as an abused wife. She asks, "What would we do without feeling like we're on the dark side of justice?" Because justice has a problem: "As soon as the language of justice emerges, it becomes incredibly metaphorical."
Anything that threatens us, she says, we've created. Beneath which I write: "not so."