Easter Questions

My priest today said during the Easter season to keep asking questions, so here are mine:

* Why do we ask, “Why didn’t she leave him?” Why don’t we ask, “Why does he keep hitting her?”

* Can we view the world as a blob rather than a pyramidal hierarchy or dichotomy? No more top and bottom; no more this and that. Can we see it as us in one messy all?

* Why doesn’t Memphis claim the title of Cradle of Creativity? The Blues, Rock-and-Roll, Soul, Jooking, Crunk—is there another city that has birthed as many American musical styles? (This is a real question; LMK if there is)

* Can we start putting up statues to achievements? Wars are not achievements. Wars are failures. When we honor our dead with statues, we are trying to glean something good from something horrible. Why don’t we praise the just plain good?

* Where are the feminine or gender-neutral equivalents of brethren? Does anyone say “sistren”?

* Why do I notice every damn “he” we use in our Episcopal liturgy to the point I feel excluded by the sexist language and must orally interlineate changes constantly? (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of …”; “Praise him all creatures here below”). Am I the only Episcopalian who doesn’t see God as male?

* And while I’m complaining about the church service that birthed this practice of questioning (beware, always beware), why do hymn writers believe they can use words that orally do not rhyme (e.g.,”When Thomas first the tidings heard, how they’d seen the risen Lord”) Or am I supposed to sing “the risen Lerd”? Surely the lyricists remember the words will be SUNG?

* How long will it take me to accept the truth that I cannot enjoy new beginnings without first experiencing endings?

* Did Peeps become such a cultural icon because no one actually eats them?

* Will I soon travel to Ferguson, Missouri or North Charleston, SC or the next site of police killings of a Black man or woman? Am I living through the next iteration of the civil rights era I thought I’d studied only as history?

* If Hillary Clinton is elected president, will we experience a breakout of female hatred the way we’ve experienced racial hatred in reaction to President Obama?

* Is it “politics” if the lament comes to me naturally?

* What happened to the raccoon who used to climb my cottonwood tree at night, stealthy as Dracula?

* Do we truly appreciate the unalloyed moments of happiness when they present?

* Who will want my celluloid bunny collection when I die?


* How did I get so lucky as to have this life I have? How do I reconcile the joy I’ve been given with the pain so many experience?

* Did your pastor speak of Walter Scott today?

* Would your view of race differ if you realized you, in fact, have African blood?

* And yet and still, with all this enlightenment, why do I love The Mentalist?

Comments (12)

  • I nodded yes to many of your questions but I’m sorry, I don’t know what a celluloid bunny collection is so I can’t say I’ll take it. As always, a thoughtful and thought jolting post, Ellen. I have a similar experience replacing words when I read memoirs written in the present tense. I am constantly putting the text in the past tense.

    • I’ll add a bunny image to the blog post–they’re the old plastic Easter bunnies (some pigs, some chicks), many of which carried lollipops so have a hole in their heads. I have a fondness for them.
      They say the reader completes the text; you and I take it to a whole new level!

  • Peeps have baffled me for years… who is consuming this candy? And, strange in regards to the Episcopal liturgy, considering they have been open to female clergy, as well as gay, for years.

    • I know, right? Turns out, my mother, who reads my blog, eats them! That’s why we got them in our Easter basket all those years. Goodness. The things you learn by blogging.
      As to the liturgy, there is (or at least was) a Supplemental Liturgical Text with more gender-inclusive language and imagery, but I’ve never heard anyone use it. I had a plan with a priest at my old church to try to get the church to use it, but then he moved away!

  • I know that there have been informal efforts among Episcopalians to develop a non-sexist liturgy. And on some informal occasions, an ad hoc non sexist ceremony took place. But a question that lingers is “How important are liturgy and ritual to some people’s faith journey?” Would a change in the liturgy disturb people and drive them away? In my own tradition (UCC) the hymnals were revised some years ago with some jarring changes. Most people went along until it came to the Christmas carols…People simply sang the old words.

    • You’re right–a supplemental inclusive text is available. I’ve never heard anyone use it, maybe because of the fears you voice. And there’s always the risk changes will be terrible, or make matters worse. Much of the “he” language entered the Episcopal liturgy when the direct address to God (the “you”) was removed during the 1979 “improvements.” 🙂

  • I am a feminist Catholic with background in both liturgy and music and a proponent of inclusive language in referring to humanity (always) and to God, to the extent possible. I often substitute God for he in prayers in hymns – and even in Christmas carols, use the gender neutral texts, such as “let us our songs employ” in “Joy to the World” and “Good Christian friends (or all), rejoice.”

    Don’t worry about the near rhymes in hymns. Just pronounce the words as you usually would. Poets do these things! 😉 The issue with something like “O Sons and Daughters” is that the original text is in Latin. The translator was trying to keep the meaning, the rhyme scheme and the rhythmic patterns of the Latin and something has to give somewhere.

    Sorry for only taking the easy questions! Good luck with the rest…

    • Those weren’t the easy ones! Thanks so much for your input. I often hear my voice ring out with “God” when all else are saying “He,” and I am self-conscious. So I’m very glad to know I have such knowledgeable, distinguished company.

      On the hymns, my mother always stubbornly read the words to rhyme, and I guess I inherited that. Nice to know what the poor lyricist was up against. p.s. a “feminist Catholic”–you inspire me! I’m so glad I published this post and asked these questions . . .

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