I had severe separation anxiety issues as a child. I was extremely attached to my mother, and did not appreciate her leaving my side at any moment, for any reason.
My mother was a business owner, but she started her business from our home when my sister and I were pre-schoolers. So we had our mother home with us until we started school. Yet, every once in a while, business or life would call her name, and she would have to put me in daycare or with a baby sitter. I HATED it.
Even when my mother would leave me with my grandmother, whom I absolutely loved with all of my heart, I would stand at the glass door sobbing and screaming for her to come back. It was a heart-wrenching scene indeed.
My mother was my person; you know, the one I can run to with all of my problems, the one I can trust to love me even in my worst moments, the one who will cuddle me when I am afraid, and wipe my tears away. I felt safe when she was around.
I felt unsafe when she was not. I felt loved when she was close. I felt unloved when she was not. It was really that simple.
For that reason, I have a low view of most baby sitters and daycare experiences. Not because they were mean and there was anything wrong with their programs; but because I was like a tiny dog who was attached to one person and no one else would do.
But there is one woman who sticks out in my heart’s memory – a black woman who once took care of me in my mother’s absence. I remember very few details about her, but as the extraordinary poet and activist Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How wise and true are these beautiful words? I remember this woman making me feel both safe and loved as a very small child. She was my mother when my mother had to step away for a moment, and in actuality, she was my god.
As William Makepeace Thackeray puts it, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” This is not idolatry because little children do not yet understand the concept of God. They look at their mother and father as their gods. Their parents provide all of their needs and wants – food, protection, security, and most importantly, love.
Children looking up to their gods do not pay attention to gender or skin color. They only ask themselves one question: how does this being that is much larger than I am make me feel? A mother and a father are the first representations of God to their children; what a great responsibility this is.
The way children view their mothers and fathers often affects how they will grow up to view God. Of course, much inner healing can change this view, so not to worry if your mother and/or father did a poor job representing God.
With the movie, The Shack, coming out, some Christians are already putting up a fuss and crying “idolatry.” They have all sorts of reasons, but let’s face it, many Christians struggle with the idea of God being played by a woman, and a woman of color, at that.
This is both sexism and racism, and we need to confront these sins in our hearts, head on and support this movie.
God is not a white man. In fact, God is not a man at all. Yes, Jesus was a man when He walked the earth. But all Christians agree that God is spirit and without gender. God has been played by a man in many fiction movies, including Oh God, Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, etc., and there was little Christian fuss. We need to confront our hypocrisy here.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is disrupting our closed minds with this movie and revealing a deeper truth to us – that God will not be confined to the boxes of human thinking. Scripture is clear that both male and female are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). All logic tells us that God must hold both masculine and feminine attributes, if both male and female are made to be like Him/Her.
Further, scripture is full of maternal images of God http://juniaproject.com/biblical-maternal-images-for-god/, so even the most conservative Christian should feel comfortable supporting a fictional movie like The Shack.
Publicly supporting the movie, The Shack is a real opportunity for Christians to support both women and people of color. It’s a chance to show the world that we are not sexist or racist at a time in which the world is truly questioning if we are. It’s chance to let our light of love shine bright for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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