Psalm #8 (We are Babel)

On Mondays I’ve taken to writing psalms.  This week, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the language we use to describe god-likeness. (Yes, the lower case “g” was intentional.) I’ve been considering how all people have some metric, some quantifiable measure of holiness, and how sometimes (perhaps often times) those Metrics become a convenient substitute for God. (Yes, the upper case “M” and “G” were intentional.) In thinking on these things, this piece spilled out.



Psalm #8 (We are Babel)

We built altars;

we built altars

first to prohibition, then to liberty,
next to the mystery of sex, then to sex itself,
to salvation, to sovereignty, to the individual,
the assembly, Jesus, Mary, Allah.
We piled dogmas up, one upon the next,
the merciless tower reaching nearer heaven–
the heaven of our imaginations–
and in the shadow of these many ideas
we gathered, flailing limbs
as in celebration of our god-likeness.

In this way we still find ourselves,
strangers in spirit speaking competing
but common languages.

Another scattering, Lord.
When flailing false finds the god-fruit
in stones, or ideas,
in circles, or in the thighs
of various celebrants,
bring us to another scattering.
Topple towers,
fling us far and wide
to four corners,
and there

and there

teach us again Eden’s dialect,
the first speech that happened
not from mouth to ear,
but from Spirit to spirit.


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  • Gorgeous. Yes.

    • sethhaines

      Thank you, Addie. Really.

  • John Ray

    From Spirit to spirit indeed.
    But that takes time.
    Time to watch and listen, to lean in and be present.
    Maybe being present is a form of worship?

    • sethhaines

      J-Ray, I reckon I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

      Thanks to you.

  • John D Blase

    from Eden’s dialect to ‘the calculus of grief’ (phrase from Paul Harding). I like this one, Seth…for ‘various’ reasons.

    • sethhaines

      Thanks you John, and don’t imagine for a minute I’m not snickering a little over in these woods.