I’ve just been rereading other people’s pieces in “Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern World.” Two pieces particularly speak to me:
Megan Bee’s poem “Dear Mary, are you there?” evokes the raw reality of grief, and the ways in which well-meaning religious words of comfort can just rub that rawer. (Reminds me a little bit, that way, of the Book of Job; also of some memories of my own, both as the person grieving and as the person clumsily offering what I thought was comfort…) I have reread that poem several times and each time I have a somewhat different idea of what the ending might mean, and a different take on the blend of bitterness, tenderness and hope in it.
Melvin Charles’ story “The Good Mexican” is, on the face of it, a simple story about the title character walking home at night from her job at the nursing home, interrupting a mugging, and seeking help at great personal cost. The story is told quietly, with a degree of understatement that makes its emotional impact stronger. The ending seemed, once I reached it, to have been inevitable, but I didn’t see it coming, and it landed hard. And the story raises a complex set of theological and political echoes.
I’m glad to have a chance to read this collection, and grateful to be part of it. (My “Open Letter to the Christian Right” is at the end of the book.)