Jeepers – it’s been a whole year since I last did a Q Combo – need to get back into the habit.
But this is definitely a combo with a difference. Both artist and poet are women who are still alive, though very different generations.
There is an important concept in theology (though it may have been borrowed from another discipline, I’m not sure): the scandal of particularity (on which here are some old thoughts). This is the theological problem or paradox (depending on your point of view) that the saviour of all humanity was one human being, or to be more particular, one male, who was a Jew, who was unmarried, who lived in Roman times, who died in his 30s. Which obviously suggests an impossibly large number of things that he wasn’t: female, gentile, married, divorced, parent, retired, blind, business-traveller, chauffeur, etc etc etc. So obviously he can’t relate to anyone who’s not like him. Right? Wrong.
C. S. Lewis nailed it, as ever, when speaking about the particularity of Israel’s role in God’s plans.
To be quite frank, we do not at all like the idea of a “chosen people.” Democrats by birth and education, we should prefer to think that all nations and individuals start level in the search for God, or even that all religions are equally true. It must be admitted at once that Christianity makes no concessions to this point of view. It does not tell of a human search for God at all, but of something done by God for, to, and about Man. And the way in which it is done is selective, undemocratic, to the highest degree. After the knowledge of God had been universally lost or obscured, one man from the whole earth (Abraham) is picked out. He is separated (miserably enough, we may suppose) from his natural surroundings, sent into a strange country, and made the ancestor of a nation who are to carry the knowledge of the true God. Within this nation there is further selection: some die in the desert, some remain behind in Babylon. There is further selection still. The process grows narrower and narrower, sharpens at last into one small bright point like the head of a spear. It is a Jewish girl at her prayers. All humanity (so far as concerns its redemption) has narrowed to that.” (From Miracles, Chapter 14)
So here is my latest combination. A poem by the American poet, Luci Shaw, who is now in her 90s, while the image is one from the famous Humanae project of Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass (her portrait below is © Kattia Zannetta).