Noise, Colour, Tang (by Aidan Volkofsky)

I was reflecting this morning on how—as Brueggemann points out—our language of ‘interpreting, explaining & understanding’ events in history betrays the assumption that ‘inexplicable and incoherent’ equals ‘ridiculous or ‘non-existent,’ which brought to mind a picture of a trained prose writer who has had no training or experience with poetry, attempting to read and commentate upon poetry. The cheek of it is immediately obvious but what would be more galling would be the publication of a book in which they dismissed the writings of a particular poet as quaint nonsense. But what if this particular poet was ‘the voice’ of a marginalised sector in society who were being brutalised by the dominant power and the prose writer was employed by that power? The custodians of reason have a lot to answer for when they uncritically ally themselves with the dominant power in a society.21

This is particularly tragic when for centuries they have fuddled masses of people into an oblivion of cold-hearted faith that’s nothing more than an attempt at control. All appetite for life is then lost and the so-called ‘body of the faithful’ is lost, proclaiming itself as ‘the saved’, when in fact it has merely ‘saved’ itself from life and even perhaps from hearing the disturbing voice of the brutalised. Someone has said, “Thou must be true thyself, if thou the truth would teach, Thy soul must overflow if thou another’s soul would reach.”

This type of reasonable insanity is the result of a long term effort to not ‘let be’ the light inside you that’s held in a prison of pride, fear and misguided devotion to a god of the status quo and of meek and mild self-abasement, so loved by imams, bishops, gurus and lamas the world over. When the violation can no longer be endured, their followers discover that what they had once revered as piety, turns out to be nothing more than a mean-spirited sulk against the noise, colour and tang of life.

21Brueggemann W. Abiding Astonishment p. 56 1991 John Knox