Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BakerWoman God

My friend Tom's post about being a puzzle in God's hands reminded me of a poem. Another friend, Ruth, posted this poem "BakerWoman God" on another site long ago and far away. Initially, I was a bit uncomfortable with the poem's feminine imagery for God.
I said it was long ago. :-)
BakerWoman God
Bakerwoman God,
I am your living Bread.
Strong, brown, Bakerwoman God.
I am your low, soft, and being-shaped loaf.

I am your rising bread,
well-kneaded by some divine and knotty pair of knuckles,
by your warm earth-hands.
I am bread well-kneaded.

Put me in fire, Bakerwoman God,
put me in your own bright fire.
I am warm, warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold, soft and hard, brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.

Break me, Bakerwoman God!
I am broken under your caring Word.
Bakerwoman God,
Remake me.
Alla Bozarth-Campbell

I am still most comfortable with calling God "Father" because that is what Jesus did. However, I am also enriched by understanding that God's divine image is reflected in both male and female. As I searched the internet for this poem, I came across a site which called it "blasphemous godess worship." How sad. If you need a scripture reference where God was portrayed as female, I offer some wisdom from Dr. Ben Witherington.
One of the things scholars have noted about...parables is that Jesus seemed to like to tell them in pairs. In this case we have the parable of the lost sheep, paired with the parable of the lost coin, and in fact the real meaning of these two parables is basically the same—God seeks and saves the lost. But why tell that story in these two different ways? One reason, clearly enough is that Jesus was a radical. He is the first Jewish teacher we know of that had both men and women as disciples, and indeed not just casual disciples, traveling disciples (see Lk. 8.1-3).

Strikingly, in the first of these two parables God is portrayed as like the male shepherd, leaving behind the 99 sheep to go and find the one lost one, whereas in the second parable he is said to be like the woman who is frantically sweeping the dirt floor of her house looking for a lost coin. We have here God portrayed as both a man and a woman seeking the lost.

This must have surprised quite a few people... It doesn’t surprise me though—not only was Jesus an equal opportunity redeemer of all sorts of people, both male and female, God, who in the divine nature is Spirit, neither male nor female, has no problems with being said to be like either a man or a woman who seeks to find what is lost. It’s some of us that get hung up on such a notion.
(That was an exerpt from a sermon, posted here, just in case you'd like to read the whole thing).
As I reread the "puzzle" post this morning I found myself remembering this poem about being kneaded and shaped--just how I feel right now. I hope you enjoyed it.


Sally said...


Psalmist said...

That is truth and beauty and witness and love, all wrapped in some of the most wonderful words I've ever read.

Thank you, dear sister. I'm sitting here crying. I don't know what your and my loaf's going to end up looking like or getting used to nourish next, S.O., but God is COOKING! (Or should I say, BAKING?)

Love you!

Psalmist said...

Hope you don't mind, but I blogged about you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your poem...the divine baker is a very interesting image.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

I wish I knew who wrote it. I couldn't find that. Perhaps someone knows?

Psalmist said...

Oh, dear...I thought you wrote it! Still wonderful.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Nope. Ruth from ECA posted it thre a long time ago. I mention that early on in the post. :-)

Psalmist said...

Found it:

Alla Bozarth-Campbell, U.S.A In ‘No Longer Strangers’, WCC Geneva, 1986 p. 54

Ruth said...

There's something very comforting about knowing I'm a lump of bread dough being kneaded in the hands of a loving God. Thanks for reminding me of the poem again. It is one of my favorite views of God.

JWD said...

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it! I'll use it in the bulletin as our "Words for Meditation" on an upcoming Communion day.

Crimson Rambler said...

and the essence of the kneading is stretching, too.
Dear Owl, big front page story in the local paper yesterday was about the rescue of a beautiful snowy owl that was found north of here, about 2/3 covered in oil. Very odd, no explanation of "why" or "how" -- the rescue folks are very experienced in dealing with oil-soaked waterfowl but five pounds of Big Snowy was a different problem from e.g. a small mallard. She was not keen on water. It took 3 staffers to hold her, one to wash, one to keep the water temp right. She got so stressed they had to stop to let her recuperate...but the good news is SHE DID, resumed eating, and finally flew on her own, so she was released in an area "rich in voles"...and we hope for the best!!!

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

JWD, I thought about this as related to communion as well. :-)
And CR, awesome about the snowy owl! They are SO beautiful!

Sista Cala said...

Nothing like a closer examination of scriptures and their context. I have always known the 2 parables were about the same thing, but it had not occurred to me why He told 2 different ones within the same conversation.

NE/ME said...

Thank you for the wonderful poem.

much2ponder said...

That poem did something in my spirit! I know the Lord is at work in my life . It seems the difficulties in life is where I find truth. I only ask the Lord to have his way. Thank you for this thoughtful post

Diane M. Roth said...

thank you for this poem. I read it a long time ago.

Unknown said...

Just a note regarding the author of the poem. It's Dr Alla Bozarth-Campbell or now, Dr Alla Renee Bozarth. She was married to my wife's brother until his death in 1985. She was one of the "Philadelphia 11", the first women to be ordained into priesthood in the Episcopal Church. She continues to write and is running Wisdom House in Sandy, OR.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Thank you for the inro, Paul and Betsy! :-)