Friday, January 6, 2012
(This is a hard one to share…)
I was just watching a video of deep-sea turtles supposedly “high-fiving” each other as they circled around in a friendly fashion. The scene was absolutely lovely and a keeper. But that description seemed to be quite a stretch, since they were simply circling each other in a friendly fashion.
Suddenly I was thinking about the things we stretch to the breaking point when we try to label or describe something. As a reader of Christian fiction, I love reading about things from the Bible that are presented as stories. Usually, there is a reasonable resemblance to what the Bible translations tell us. Sometimes, though it is necessary to grab a Bible and see if I can make sense out of what they are saying. Leaving room for cultural and non-Bible historical facts, most of the books I read only stretch my imagination. I like that.
What is really on my mind is the discussion we had recently about Dinah who is the only daughter mentioned in the genealogy regarding the sons born to Jacob. She may or may not have been his only daughter. I tend to think not. But the question at hand was about Dinah’s tragic story of being raped. (See story in Genesis 34.) The two facts that seemed to be most relevant and disturbing to some were these: Dinah went out to meet with other women in the area where they were staying and Dinah does not run off from Shechem after the rape.
Somehow this led to the speculation that Dinah put herself in a bad place and set herself up for the rape. Frankly this idea broke my heart. It is still broken. I do not understand that kind of thinking.
Do I believe that we can seek friends in the wrong place? Absolutely. Do I think that a woman should be watchful of what she does? Of course. But do I think a woman should be held to task for being raped. Absolutely NOT, Apparently many would disagree with me.
The story, as I see it and would tell it in a fictional account is that Dinah, being new in the neighborhood, went out to where the women met for gossiping, news sharing and friendship building. She needed new friends and companionship and she knew where to go to find the women. Perhaps the Well? The quilting party? Maybe even the river where the washing was being done? Or… Starbucks?
Then along came the “Rock Star” (the king’s son) who had no business interfering in a gathering of women, grabbed her out of the crowd and took her off to rape her just because he could.
Well, who could blame him: here she was all beautiful,and everything, and someone he did not know. How exciting is that, after all. And his friends encouraged him with laughs and frivolity. She was just another pretty girl who needed conquering.
But this time he really messed up. He fell in love with her and just had to have her permanently. He kept her at the palace and enlisted his father, the King, to come with him and beg her father, Jacob, to let them marry. That ended very badly.
So, in this scenario, where is the blame? On Dinah? Hardly!
Perhaps this is a good example of judging “out of sync” with reality. I am personally quite unsettled with this whole thing. I would really like to be able to hear what you are thinking just now. Have you read the story? Have you reacted to it? I hope so. Because it is a story that goes on around us all the time and it is one where we need to be more helpful than hurtful when it happens.
As Christians, we are to be balm for others. There will be people around us in trouble that is at least partly of their own making. We have the answer for them in the Love of God. We need to share that unconditionally and frankly, lovingly. I pray for us all that we will grow in compassion for people who mess up, and be less judgmental about how they may have gotten to that point.
But we must also be less quick to judge that their problems actually are of their own making. And way less forgiving of people who do horrendous damage to others in the name of their own perceived needs and pains: Like the murderer who died on Mt. Rainier recently and is being excused because he suffered the trauma of war.
Let's keep choosing Joy and keep sharing Love everyday! We have our work cut out for us.