"She fell from their graces into her truth."


"She fell from their graces into her truth."


Cement board, metal, house paint, India Ink.

In this recent painting, “She fell from their graces into her truth." I explore the choice of falling from social graces into grace. An invitation to look at the social graces that systemically control churches, corporations, politics, and even our view of God/Deity. It is impossible to contain the Divine to simple graces. Martin Buber in “I Thou” writes “What is wanted is to oversimplification, a reduction of a multitude of possibilities to only two or three. But if the recommended path were utterly devoid of mystery, it would cease to fascinate men.”  We have a tendency to reduce God into a formula that is nothing but jargon or systems produced by men. 

In churches and corporate America there is no end to the expected graces. Graces that demand all knowing vs. mystery. Graces that some how assume that the bigger the church or the more “concert-like” the worship service the more successful or graceful. Graces that seek meeting expectations of service and being seen as a servant. Graces that insist on revenue increases vs. tending to clients needs. Graces that do not allow for really seeing one another and God.

And yet, grace abounds. It abounds in the amputation of a breast or leg, in the learning to work with phantom pain, learning to walk again and falling after amputation, in the unexpected moments of sitting at the table with friends drinking and eating, in the difficult conversations, in the gratitude, in the dispair, and in the agony.  We love social graces and jargon. "It satisfies our craving for safety." Jargon makes us feel like we belong. Jargon divides men into “Us and Them” vs. "I and Thou".

God first disrupted the universe in a way that can never be put back together again. Falling from graces comes with terrible disruption as well. It means taking risks, standing up for the poor, helping a new amputee organize her home, picking her up when she falls and you weren’t there to catch her, not being still, radical disorientation, and transformation.

Karoline Lewis writes "that graces are meant to be challenged, even shattered. That graces, especially if they are put in place to exclude, predict, judge, reject, justify hate, perpetuate ignorance, or to perpetuate systems by which we can continue to ignore our brokenness are no relections of grace at all." 


(Karoline Lewis, Dear Working Preacher, Falling from Graces, Sunday, June21, 2015)

(Martin Buber, I Thou, Translation Copyright 1970.)


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