Posts Tagged ‘ Higher Ground ’

Discourse Parlor: The spiritual questing of Corinne- the dangerous thinking daughter of Higher Ground

Annie note:  I apologize to anyone who may have noticed for the amount of time it has taken to post this Discourse Parlor on faith.  Too many days have passed since my promise of it in the last Salon. This is unacceptable, even from the most permissive, indulgent perspective.  You can be sure that the angry taskmaster inside my own head has been merciless!

 All I can offer in defense is that I was sidetracked by another bit of writing.  I’ve been trying to flesh out this idea of an emergent Narrative Otherways.  It’s a mystery why that bit pushed itself to the front of the writing queue except that it began to feel necessary to be understood, as much as possible, on a concept that’s been so central to this Salon&Parlor project.  And, I suppose, because narrative is entangled with faith in my conception of things.  The upside of this cart before the horse process is that next Parlor, intended to be the last and final post from these parts, should be coming your way in a much more timely fashion.

And now to the topic at hand –

Corinne, the dangerous thinking daughter of Higher Ground.

At the end of her movie Corinne Walker exits her church, never to return.  She is casting herself out.  For those who remain sitting in the pews, Corinne is making a choice of the street, the wilderness realm of dogs, over safety and righteousness.  Literally, from the way of perceiving constructed inside that church, Corinne is turning her back on an afterlife of heaven for the eternal burn of hell.  But we know, from watching her story of questing for answers to the why of her being, Corinne is choosing to live in this life, in the here and now.

On the surface Higher Ground is a fable-like tale of down to earth people with everyday concerns.  It would seem very ordinary if Jesus and Satan didn’t keep popping into every conversation.  But deities of all sorts are active participants in Corinne’s community of believers.  At the drop of a hat a bible’s thrown open, sending conversational language into the stilted text of millennium old desert tales of good and evil: angry fathers sacrifice their sons; a woman picks fruit from a tree (of knowledge) casting mankind out of paradise.  How hard this contemporary community works to synthesize such a stretch.  It’s a testament to the adaptable human psyche, acting out our desire to convince ourselves things happen for a reason and all powered by our need to make order from the chaos.

Which is why Corinne’s eyes-wide-open questing around in this mundane wanting to be extraordinary world is the perfect foil for the explorations of a spirited woman caught in a rigid, top down system of who’s-allowed-to-speak. Women’s place is fixed in this ordering (surprise surprise) in the mute, lower regions.  And the whole towering structure is sustained by a flock refusing to apply empirical knowledge to their constructed perception of the world.  To question equals danger to these systems of belief.  To think is to threaten.

The closing of Corinne’s story with her walk out opens the question –  if this woman can no longer believe what is practiced as faith inside that church, then what else might faith be?  Corinne, in her refusal to accept voiceless-ness represents those of us out here, we thinking daughters who have chosen the street, with the dogs; we who are unable to submit to the roles assigned us; we who dare to mull reasons for being based on our experience of this life in the here and now. Continue reading