I've been enjoying Luisa A. Igloria's latest book, The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-life Crisis. I knew that I'd love it, because I saw some of the poems on the Via Negativa site. I was happy to have a chance to have them all together in one collection.
With her Buddha poems, Igloria explores what I've been doing with my poems that imagine Jesus (and other forms of the Divine) in the modern world. So we see the Buddha waiting for a flight and considering the duty-free items, the Buddha at a Women's History Month event on a college campus, the Buddha at a trendy eatery.
The poems are delightful and startling. They make me think not only about the Divine, but about my own movements in the world. It's a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it; go here to get your own copy.
In her poems, the Buddha changes gender from poem to poem, which works. I wonder if a practicing Buddhist would feel the same way.
Last night, as I lay down to sleep, I thought about a poem about Jesus experiencing menopause. I am trying to remember if I've ever presented Jesus as doing something that is solely associated with the female gender. I don't think I have.
I thought about how many Christians view Jesus as the incarnation of God, as God come to earth to find out what it means to be fully human. To find out? Wouldn't God already know?
That's a theological question for another day. We also read theologians who tell us that Jesus comes to earth to be in solidarity with us in our full humanity. But if humanity is gendered, can a divinity that comes in only one expression of that gender spectrum/binary be truly human?
Some part of my brain shut down at the idea of Jesus experiencing menopause. But the poet part of my brain lit up. The rational part of my brain says it can't possibly work--we know that Jesus was male. The philosopher part of my brain says, "How can we really know?" The poet part of my brain likes the juxtaposition of things that don't normally go together: Jesus and menopause.
I will let these ideas percolate in my brain for a few more days, and then I will attempt this poem. I'm also wondering if I have an interesting avenue: Jesus as female, Jesus as transgender. I'm not sure I can pull this off--which is exactly why I should try.