Monday, July 22, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 197: Proverbs 4-6; Psalm 11; Ephesians 1

Growing up...and getting wise...
Those two concepts do not necessarily follow as closely as we would like in life. One can grow up, even express maturity as an adult human, and yet still lack an expression of real wisdom. As we wade more deeply into Proverbs and the letter to the Ephesians, I find my meditations dwelling on the challenge we all face when entering into the sort of relationship with Wisdom that David is attempting to instill in the young Solomon: that this willing embrace of wisdom's path means a kind of self-awareness most of humanity would prefer to avoid. It means not only seeing the world with truer vision; but also seeing the self with clear eyes. Few of us are willing to look into that mirror at any age, for fear of what might look back at us.

David's apparent trick with Solomon is to externalize this challenge. The young man that Solomon is at that point is shown two paths that are allegorized as two different sort of characatured women. Both are beautiful, but in different ways...and to different ends. Setting aside the objectification, and the sexism of these images, the argument seems succinct: choose the relationships that will bring life, and avoid the ones that seem to feed at the surface yet become destructive or extractive in the long term.

Not a bad concept, right? The temptation is to turn the personification of folly into a salacious dalliance for the immature, while the personficiation of wisdom is seen as vitrue itself. All well and good for a teenage boy, but what of everyone else? The question hanging in the air for me as we read forward? Hovering in the air is the hope that wisdom is not just for the young, male heir-apparents of this world. If wisdom is to speak to the rest of us, then both Solomon and Paul have some work to do...

Wisdom is always speaking...but being willing to listen at any age. It isn't just young people who have to be reminded of the need to heed her invitation instead of Folly's sultry call.

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