Sunday, June 3, 2012

What White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman believes.

First, a little news:
  • The cover for Seized is in the Cover Showcase this week at the Indie Exchange. That's pretty darned exciting for somebody who got a C in art in eighth grade....
  • I'll be participating in the Orangeberry Summer Splash tour in August, promoting Fissured: Book Two of the Pipe Woman Chronicles.  I'll post locations and dates on the Tour Dates tab shortly. 
  • Tentative publication date for Fissured has moved up!  It's now August 18th.  To that end, I've finished what I hope will be the penultimate editing pass on it, and sent it to my editor [waves to Suzu!].
Hokay then, on to the main subject of this week's post.

I'm starting to see a little push-back on the religious topics in Seized -- specifically, on White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman's speech to Naomi during the sweat lodge ceremony at the beginning of the book. This is heartening to me, in a way -- it means the book's getting noticed.  Any publicity is good publicity, right? ;)

Also, I'm not surprised.  I knew even before I started Seized that it wasn't going to be for everyone.  After all, the goddess says some pretty inflammatory things to Naomi about the Christian God, including this egregious bit:

“This day,” she continued, “is a new start for all the peoples who live on Grandmother Earth.  For too long, this world has been in the grip of an angry God whose only goal is to win as many followers as possible.  He has convinced His followers that He knows everything and controls everything.  He condemns His fellow Gods who require Their followers to sacrifice for Them – yet He sacrificed His own Son, and then twisted the story to make it appear as if it were an honor.  He calls Us demons, and worse.”  She paused, her visage twisted.  “His rule has been marked by jealousy and hatred.  By telling His followers they are His chosen people, He has led them to believe that they are better than all the rest of His Creation, and so they have raped Grandmother Earth and fouled Grandfather Sky, and treated their fellow beings with contempt.  By telling His followers that they were flawed from the start, He has instilled in them self-hatred and guilt.  And yet,” she spat, “He says He loves them.”

Many Christians draw a great deal of comfort from God's love, and from His omnipotence.  They are highly uncomfortable with the notion that God may not be infallible (even sometimes as they're questioning, for example, why a loved one had to die).  So I can see why this passage would turn those people off.

But the speaker here is White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman -- a goddess who has seen God's followers subject Her people to numerous indignities, including suppression of their worship of Her.  Why wouldn't She be angry about that?  And why would She be inclined to accept God's word as Truth?  Surely She would have a different viewpoint.

Some Christians might be upset that Naomi doesn't immediately denounce White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman and reject Her gift out of hand.  I guess she could have. But that would be a very different story than the one I'm telling.  And it wouldn't be in character for Naomi, either.  I think she's like a lot of kinda-sorta Christians -- the ones who fill the pews on Christmas and Easter and don't really think much about religion in between.  She sees what she considers some flaws in Christian theology, but she still considers herself a believer in Christ.  Before the series is over, she's going to have to confront that paradox in several different ways: she's going to have to broker an agreement between God and the pagan deities, and she's also going to have to resolve the discrepancies in her own beliefs.  I think that's a much more interesting idea to explore than "God is good and Evil's gonna get its due."

Do I personally agree with White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman?  Not entirely.  I think She's off-base, for instance, in her view of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.  But I do think humanity has done a lot of horrible things, to the earth and to each other, in the name of God.  I wouldn't mind seeing Him taken to task for letting those things happen.  And I bet there are plenty of  Christians (and Jews, Muslims, etc.) out there who would agree with me.

Have a great week, everyone.
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