Watching Rape Happen [justin]

She asked me why I’ve been reading the rape of Tamar so much over the past two months, looking at it over and over again. I didn’t know how to answer her. I told her, after some time passed, that it really started with her own reaction and her own story and her eyes of indignation dealing with injustice towards women through out the ages, something I had not taken to heart as deeply before then. It also had to do with fallen masculinity and my own proclivities (without the grace of God), identifying with a man of sexual deviations in one form or another and with a father (once said to be a man after God’s own heart) who didn’t protect his daughter. David and Amnon are examples in this story of who never to be.

My eyes are not always clean, my heart is not always spotless, I desire things that are undignified, unloving, dishonorable, and ungodly. I am able, however, to not be enslaved to them… to be given grace and choice (not to say that I always choose rightly). Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit that catches me up to the reality of my justification in Christ. And this is a process.

So the rape of Tamar led me to scattered thoughts dealing with desolation which led to the pondering of wilderness (both literal and metaphorical) which led to this, that and the other thing all being connected and at times not being connected at all, which led to this current post.

Part 1 below is self explanatory. Part 2 is an experiment/exercise of sorts, combining photography from the web (first found on weather.com of all places), two forms of poetry, and the characters of 2 Samuel 13. Haiku is 3 lines with defined syllable counts of 5-7-5 respectively. Cinquain is 5 lines. First line has a 1 word noun, second line has 2 words that describe, third line contains 3 words of action, fourth line is a 4 word phrase, fifth line is a singular word giving another name to line 1. Writing in a certain structure is not natural to me, but does provide a good exercise. The restraint of the form makes you till over the words again and again to fit them within the context at hand. In the process you think more about the subject matter than just putting out your own phraseology in free-verse.

I hope you don’t enjoy this.

Part 1: Fragmented Thoughts, Unfinished Wanderings, Unresolved Questions

wilderness, like most things, can be either beautiful or __________, and even the __________, most times, can, like most things, be redeemed into something good.

wilderness is sometimes punishment from others or consequences self-afflicted.

seems as though God’s “favorites” went through wilderness experiences: Job was desolated; John the Baptist flourished in the environment; Jesus was both led there literally after His baptism and spiritually on the cross. Israel went through the wilderness as a rite of passage.

restraint can lead to flourishing; day 3 the waters were restrained so that dry land could be.

from Moonrise Kingdom

The most destructive meteorological event… lingered… punishing winds… extreme high waters… powerful surges demolished… coastal areas battered and changed forever… [sections] erased from the map. Harvest yields the following year far exceeded previous records… quality of crops said to be extraordinary.

Brett McCracken: Ashes are a material of decay and death, but they also allude to new life. After a forest fire, for example, the ashes provide nutrients for the rebirth of a new generation of trees.

in Hebrew, the root of wilderness (midbar) is dabar: to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing.

wilderness is the overwhelming, overgrowth of an all consuming forest; placed in it, you feel lost, though being surrounded.

wilderness is the desolate desert, the sterile country, the nothingness where even the land feels like it has abandoned you.

to be desolated means something actively treated you as nothing; abandonment means passively nothing is your only something.

Tamar, by her own words, said that to be abandoned was worse than to be raped (desolated). How is that even possible?

you’re still beautiful no matter what they/you say.

how far can we take “what man made for evil, God used for good”? (Gen 50/20)

Part 2 – Poetry

photo by Damien du Toit

Tamar
torn, desolate
pleading, weeping, disgraced
you did nothing wrong
Beautiful
“in every small gap
the sand forced, without allure
I’ll never be clean”

photo by Jordy Theiller

Amnon
stronger, weak
out-raging, exiling, objectifying
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Reprobate
“loved. hated. sicken.
reap all I can devour
now leave. get up. go.”

photo by baldeaglebluff

Absalom
patient, heir
plotting, hating, self-serving
big brother knows best
Mercenary
“it can’t be that bad
you aren’t upset, are you, dear?
don’t take it to heart”

photo by Craig Deman

David
king, invalid
watching, feeling, uninvolved
justify your own daughter
Bigot
“ripping, blood, return
here is your inheritance
my gift/curse to you”
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3 thoughts on “Watching Rape Happen [justin]

  1. I’m still reeling from this story. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your willingness, especially as a man, to actually stop and ponder this story, this woman–Tamar–for more than a read-through. It means the world to me. Oppression and desolation in its various forms are nothing to be tucked under the carpet and forgotten about. It is out there, in our midst, and it.can.be.changed.

    Favorite line, “How far can we take ‘What man meant for evil, God meant for good?’

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