Even the Rocks Cry Out

Even the Rocks Cry
“Heart Songs”
GOD AND CREATION. Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.: Fortress Press, 1998.
Heart songs, love songs
Heart songs pum pum, pum pum
seep deep into healing places,
pum pum, pump um
sacred spaces
like rain making tears
caress the soul
an oasis
in the sound of drums
planting kisses of aloe
calling up power
calling up patches of grass,
To walk and dance again.
pools of blue
that kiss toes in sun
rippling with laughter,
because hope is not gone.
From “What About the Children,”
Karen Baker-Fletcher, Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit
Night Magic
Gritty gray smoke billows from the soot-line streets. Skyscrapres thrust upward into
the bright blue sky as if trying to escape the traffic glutted, noisy streets below. Litter
punctuates the grimy gutters and deserted lots.
Slowly, silently, the soft black blanket of night envelops the city. The night sky is
a perfect black velvet backdrop for the multicolored jewels of lights. Now the city is
a sparkling fantasyland. I see people walking to the theaters, the ladies dressed up
with sparkling jewelry..The many colored lights on the buildings make them beautiful
instead of ugly. Slowly it gets quieter and the sky’s brighter; its dawn.
The sky is red and orange, and gray smog brings in the unpleasant smell of
polluted air and water. As the smog lifts, the familiar scene of the ugly red and grey
buildings appears, the smoke curling into the air like a bad omen for the sky. The
factories are even uglier with their smelly, poisonous gases, put into the rivers and
seas as smoke and waste. It’s a very ugly morning scene… Across the street is a
beautiful park, with the sounds of winter birds. Squirrels scurry from tree to tree
hiding nuts for the winter. This is one place where we see true beauty.
English Assignment for Miss Auriel Lynn, by Karen Baker, 1970, 11 years old.
On Earth As It is In Heaven
How can there be so much joy, pleasure and beauty in life? How
can there be so much pain, hurt, suffering, and death? Why and
how do these things come to pass? What is God’s intention for
human life and for the rest of creation? Doesn’t God will something
more for us – a love that does no harm? Doesn’t God will for us a
compassionate and caring love, rather than a false love that strips
humanity and creation of dignity? Can we experience such love in
this life? Or do we have to wait until the heareafter – life afer death?
These are questions about the kingdom of God. They have to do
with God’s intention for the realm of God. They make us consider
our own responsibility as participants in God’s activity of a love that
does no harm in the here and now. These are questions about
God’s intention for all creation—on earth as in heaven.
“That we have any nominal reign over creation at all, as the book of
Genesis indicates, is a matter of stewardship more than domination.
We are stewards of the land that belongs to God. We are stewards
of our children’s future. Generations before us have made mistakes
and have also made some corrections. We continue to make
mistakes and must also make corrections. We must continue to
hope in ourselves, God and our children. When we have given up
hope on ourselves, the children’s hope can keep us going. “
KBF, Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit, p. 70.
Children and Interlocking Systems
of Oppression
Children in poor urban areas are more likely to ingest lead and develop
lead poisoning. This comes from house hold paints, hazardous industries
like batter manufacturing plants, lead smelters, brass foundries, firing
ranges, radiator repair shops, and construction sites. Mercury and
asbestos poisoning are among some of the other environmental threats
that affect our children. Two of my own children landed in the hospital
with severe asthma attacks from smog before they were out of doctors.
Living near a Soy Bean Factory and other industries growing up, my best
childhood friend and I were on Sudafed for frequent sinus head-aches.
Like my children, I also developed asthma. The air is not better just
because some flee to suburbs. There is no hiding place from ecological
crisis. Some only have not been taught to understand that they, too,
are victims of it. A nice job, house and car does not make the air and
our waters more clean. The dream multinational corporations sell is a
delusion. To think we are not all victims is a delusion that divides us
along class lines—an intentional Machiavellian move by the economic
powers that be of Postmodern, Neocolonial Empire.
Diagnosing the Problem
When we treat the symptoms of ecological illnesses, we fail to
diagnose and treat the larger problem.
Only by diagnRendering poisonous, toxic if you will, practices extinct is
the best cure of allosing and treating the problem can we hope to
render ecological illnesses extinct.
“The Dance of Dispensability,” KBF
Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit, p. 62
“Environmental abuse, racism, sexism, [abilism, agism, heterosexism]
and classism are interlocking systems of oppression and evil. They
inaugurate a cruel dance of dispensability. The assumption seems to
be that some of us are expendable, a drain on government
resources like the pollutants imposed upon us.
“…It seems that all too often the poorer the community and the
lower the tax base, the worse the abuse. Industries that enter
neighborhoods of color to “increase jobs” brazenly increase health
hazards, threaten job loss when confronted, and their self-serving
presence further lowers the tax base funds available for correcting
the problems.
Cain, Abel and the Earth I
In Genesis 4, we read the account of two brothers, one a keeper of
flocks and the other a tender of fruits of the soil, named Abel and
Cain, respectively. According to the story, God looked with favor on
Abel and his offerings of the fatted firstborn of his flock, but not so
with Cain’s fruits of the soil.
Perhaps the sheep were viewed as more valuable in Abel’s small
community, because they provided wool for warm clothing and
blankets. Perhaps this was a change from the types of animal skins
we read about in Genesis 3. The story may reflect a shift from a
crop-oriented culture to a meat-oriented culture. This is, however,
the first that we hear of blood sacrifices in the book of Genesis. The
perception that God favored one brother over the other was a
source of jealousy, resentment, and anger.
Cain, Abel and the Earth II
Did God really favor one brother over the other? God loves Cain
enough to warn him of danger, which suggests that God is caring,
compassionate and present in the lives of both Cain and Able.
According to the story, God warns Cain “if you do not do what is
right, sin is crouching at you door; it desires to have you, but you
must master it”(Gen.4: 7). In other words, something was brewing in
Cain’s heart. God, in God’s empathetic presence, feels Cain’s heart
as it is tempted to transgress the divine initial aim for relationships of
well-being. Cain was most likely simmering with anger and
resentment, letting his anger grow instead of getting control of it.
Cain, Abel and the Earth III
Cain asked his brother to go out with him to the field, where he
attacked Abel and killed him. In short, he was overcome by violent
rage. This is the first account of murder in the Old Testament. It
occurs after the first human beings’ banishment from the
harmonious Garden of Eden in response to their eating from the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil. Cain, who grew crops,
recollects the biblical, divine admonition God gives to Adam:
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will
eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for
you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your
brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from
it were you taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Cain, Abel and the Earth IV
Cain spills his brother’s blood into the same ground that he tilled with
painful toil and sweat. We are told that God responds, “What have you
done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened
its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (Gen. 4:1011). The earth itself responds to violence, opening its “mouth” to receive
Abel’s blood. God responds to the cry of the blood-soaked earth. This is
a responsive world; a responsive cosmos where even in violence and
broken relationship there is relationship nonetheless. Blood and earth
cry out to God, responding to acts of violation against body and land.
God responds in turn, calling out to Cain, working in Cain’s
consciousness to bring him to an awareness of the lasting
consequences of his actions. Now, not only is the ground that Cain tilled
out of balance, in the throes of some ecological imbalance, but Cain
himself is forever changed, no longer at peace with himself, his brother,
God, or the land.
Cain, Abel and the Earth V
“When you work the ground,” Cain learns from God who lures or
calls to his slowly growing consciousness, “it will no longer yield crops
for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” (Gen 4:12).
Once Cain fully experienced the truth that had been calling to him
in the midst of his rage, he was no longer at peace with the land he
once tilled. He was restless, wrestling with internal turmoil, an
experiential awareness of his unbalanced self. Perhaps Cain could
never look at the land in the same way or till it with the same vigor.
Cain, Abel and the Earth VI
There was hope for Cain. He experienced God’s call to him,
evidenced in his awareness that tilling the land would never be the
same for him. This is a sign of remorse. He is even protected by God
in the story. God does not desire vengeance against Cain, but
cautions against anyone killing him by sealing him with a mark. The
mark is not a curse, but a sign of God’s protection. In short, Cain
experiences forgiveness and loss in the consequent nature of God,
in God’s healing response to broken relationship. Moreover, the fact
that Cain experiences remorse and that he has conscious
awareness of God’s continued presence in his life suggests that he is
still open to experiencing God.
Cain, Abel and the Earth VII
There is hope for all of us to repent
and receive God’s invitation to
convert, to allow God to turn us
around toward divine love itself so
that we find life in God’s initial aim
for all creation.
Cain, Abel and the Earth VIII
From the very moment that
creation experiences sin, God
experiences it in the same
moment. Other than greater
technology to execute mayhem,
the will to violence has not
changed much among
The blood of brothers continues to
soak the ground. The earth
continues to cry out. God
continues to respond to this bloodsoaked world, but how many are
listening to the earth and to God.
Dust and Spirit, KBF, Sisters of Dust,
Sisters of Spirit, p. 18
“As a Christian, I understand Jesus Christ as embodying Spirit in
Creation. As an African American who appreciates traditional African
cosmologies, I see Jesus as a great ancestor. And because I believe
that God has been present in every region of the globe throughout
time, I think it is possible that there have been embodiments of God in
other religions. Christ as fully human and fully God is a manifestation of
Spirit in Creation working in harmony with itself. For Jesus Christ, to be
fully human is to be fully dust, because according to Genesis 2 we
humans are created from dust. Dust includes within it water, sun, and
air, which enhance the vitality of its bodiliness, and its ability to increase
life abundantly. So Dustiness refers to human connectedness with the
rest of creation. Jesus as dust represents God, who is Spirit, fully
embodied in Creation. Jesus fully represents such connection, while we
strive not to forget it.

similar documents