Monday, April 7, 2008

"Alternative TV"

It's not a cable channel. It's the name of a poem. Even though calling God "he" makes me cringe, I still find the poem incredibly moving -- and theologically true.

Alternative TV

The old man on the screen sang
in a loud and shaky voice
and had probably never been very clean
in addition he had hardly any teeth left
a miner with black lung
of course he spoke dialect and his grammar was bad
why after all should he
show his best side to the camera

When god turns on his tv
he sees old people like that
they sing
in a loud and shaky voice
and the camera of the holy spirit
shows the dignity of these people
and makes god say
that is very beautiful

when we have abolished tv as it exists
and are allowed to look at the skin of aging women
and are unafraid of eyes
that have lost their lashes in weeping
when we respect work
and the workers have become visible
and sing
in a loud and shaky voice

Then we shall see
real people
and be happy about it
like god

****–Dorothee Soelle

Part of the texts at the end of chapter 6, "Gazing: Icons, Images, and the Depths of God" in When in Doubt, Sing.


pj said...

Thank you. I truly needed to read this tonight. Three cheers for real people!

Fran said...

Oh Jane... wow. Amazing poem, I loved it.

I started Generous Lives last night!

Will write to you later - yes, I am procrastinating. There is nothing that I am better at, especially when it comes to realizing my own dreams.

June Butler said...

Jane, it is beautiful and an excellent reminder of who amongst us shall be exalted.

I'm always tripping over the "he" for God, too, but what does one say?

lauraj said...

Hooray for Dorothee.

She speaks truth.

Doorman-Priest said...

Very thought provoking. That'll stick in my mind for a while.

Anonymous said...

Jane...I love it. Thank you.