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Bias from the Bottom
Bias from the Bottom

Bias from the Bottom: Weekly Summary

Saturday, July 22, 2023

The Hebrew Scriptures reveal YHWH compassionately hearing and seeing the dire difficulties experienced by the least in society, in this case, the Hebrew slaves. When the poor today read the story of Hebrew slaves and their relationship to a liberator God, they can see that they are not alone in their cruel predicament in contemporary America.
—Dwight Hopkins 

The Bible is most extraordinary because it repeatedly and invariably legitimizes the people on the bottom, not the people on the top. Rejected sons, barren women, sinners, lepers, or outsiders are always the ones chosen by God.
—Richard Rohr 

Whatever our circumstances, God comes to us in the poor and oppressed and invites us to open up our lives. When we do share, welcome, and invite, we find ourselves in the glad company of a loving God…. When we reject the invitation, we choose the path of isolation.
—Murphy Davis 

We knew our God to be understanding of the heavy burdens we were bearing, as one who walked the removal road with us, who suffered such loss and indignations, who would hold us close and carry us to a place of healing and renewal.
—Carol J. Gallagher 

In the early Christian Scriptures, the message of Jesus seems to have been heard in great part by people on the bottom. Those who are outside or at the edges of the system understand Jesus, while those who are inside or at the center are the ones who crucify him.
—Richard Rohr 

It is the very person on the cross that suffers like us, was rendered a no-body, who illuminates our tragic human existence and speaks to countless women in Asia.
—Kwok Pui Lan 

Shared Silence 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes leads a meditation sit, beginning with words from theologian Douglas Christie. To listen along, click on the image below. 

I am suddenly aware of my weariness, my fragility, and my deep uncertainty about what is happening to me and where I am heading in my life. Have I even begun to reckon with the depth of the sadness I carry within me or its sources? I know I have not. But here in this place I begin to realize that I must open myself to these questions, that this is part of why I am here. [1] 

The shared silence. The intimacy. The sense of relief that we can let go, at least for a little while, of every inclination to explain or account for what is happening to us. We cannot explain it anyway. Sometimes we can hardly say a word. This life we are living: ineffable. Better to acknowledge this and relinquish the illusion that somehow, somewhere, there are words sufficient to encompass our experience. [2] 


[1] Douglas E. Christie, The Insurmountable Darkness of Love: Mysticism, Loss, and the Common Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2022), 59.  

[2] Christie, Insurmountable Darkness, 204. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Izzy Spitz, Everything at Once, digital oil pastel. Izzy Spitz, Wings, digital oil pastel. Izzy Spitz, Tuesday Chemistry. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

Perhaps those on the “bottom” of our societies, like the bottom shape in the image, have colors those “on top” have never dreamed of, like corals, reds and yellows.  

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