Legend, and a few of my seminary professors, hold that the famous Swiss Reformed theologian, Karl Barth (1886-1968), once said something pretty close to, “We do theology with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.”
A bit of rooting around some dusty corners of the internet reveals that the specific quote is hard to trace, but that Barth shared variations of the thought in several letters and interviews.
I’ve carried those words around in my mental backpack of things I don’t leave home without for decades.
In the last few days, they’ve become even more true for me. (Which suggests that Tillich was right, but that’s a subject for a different day!)
You see, I’ve been hanging out with Bella Mama.
Bella Mama is, in one sense, a painting class. A gracious gift from the amazing Shiloh Sophia McCloud and my friends in Intentional Creativity land.
A madonna, perhaps. Mother Earth. The Divine Feminine. A symbol of different things for each of us and, yet, a powerful reminder of the absolute human need for mama-ing.
And (Let’s be real!) as I’m a bit behind on my Color of Woman journey, she’s been following me around for a few weeks now, dropping hints about how she would like to take form and why she matters so much in this moment.
First, she whispered to me that she is fierce compassion.
Then, she proclaimed that the US border immigration disaster in this moment, also known as “the newspaper”, is a serious hint about her message.
Then, truly, I was wandering through Kudzu one day, combining a bit of intentional walking with an artist date, and I saw her.
There she sat, on a lovely console table of rustic wood, a stunning pottery statue from Mexico, waiting for me to notice.
Then, she started stalking my dreams in an encouraging sort of way while I watched the videos and sang along and painted all the under layers of meaning and energy.
When we moved on to form, she had to hold my hand while my inner critic showed up with her usual temptations toward way more realism than I truly want or am likely to be able to produce.
“You have a cell phone with a fancy camera for realism,” she told me.
“This is about your heart and mine.”
Well, of course, she was right. As was Shiloh, reminding me that anything can be painted over.
And, wow, has this one been painted over!
It’s time for more purple glaze. A bit of drying time.
And a vivid reminder of the moment I quit coloring my hair.
It was just after Kenzie was born and the kids lived in Scotland. I did the math and figured out that about two and a half trips to the land of highlights and lowlights would pay for a trip to rock my baby!
Or, in the case of Bella Mama, the dreaded metalic silver paint I put in her hair late last night was taking over everything and I’ve spent most of the morning, at her insistence, nudging it back to something that blends just a bit better, visually.
No judgement. Who knows what she’ll decide tomorrow?
For today, it’s the little ones whose stories aren’t even showing up in the newspaper these days, the little ones who will be sheltering under her cloak, that she wants you to see. (Though it looks like that will be the next time you meet. Mama knows best!)