Sophia’s Back

Sophia's Back cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“Sophia’s Back” (ink & pencil, 8″x8″, by David Hayward)

Don’t say, “Oh, poor Sophia!” She doesn’t need anyone’s pity. She’s one strong female.

These are battle scars from a personal war she’s won. She’s a strong survivor. She’s liberated and liberal. She boasts about her wounds. She uses her tender but tough heart, her smart and sharp mind, and her prophetically pointed words to liberate others.

Abusers beware!

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    When you lead a gracious life in the midst of self-justifiers and self-validaters, your back will get some of those scars.

    Look at Jesus.

    He sends us out as sheep amongst wolves.

  • Gary

    David…perhaps the best Sophia (Including your commentary) you have ever done. This one really resonates with me.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    wow. thanks gary.

  • Sheila

    Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for giving me someone to identify with….my ex still does his best to hurt and control me (our house is up for sale and we still have to see each other sometimes). I no longer put up with any mistreatment. It’s nice you have “our back”!

  • Kristi

    Great one! I know I am very proud of my scars! The ones people can see and ones not seen.

  • Crystal (the original)

    The only sad thing about these emotional scars is that so often they are known only to the bearer of them. Physical scars from battles won or lost invoke pity and attention, and so of themselves help the healing process if one is fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving people. Victims of emotional scars have to become very very brave and loving towards themselves or those scars that are invisible will simply never heal completely. This is particularly sad when children suffer wounds that are not seen by others yet affect them in ways that they often do not know how to address. They act out and cause trouble because they are crying from bleeding emotional wounds. Nobody comes forward with a bandaid or stitches to fix them.

    Your drawing of the two backs of Sophia illustrates this very well. On the other hand I’m sure that your fictional Sophia suffered both kinds of wounds. She is one tough cookie!

  • Brigitte

    I think it resonates with Gary because he has been hurt, and now he needs ” licence” to be “prophetic”, have the freedom to insult and hurt where he sees fit. I don’t mean to be mean but some of us have been at the receiving end of that. Just sayin.

    ” Prophetic” seems to get used a lot, these days, as a word to increase “radicalizing.”, as the newspapers have been putting it. So it seems to me.

    Not to say that there isn’t some truth to the cartoon. We should use our bad experiences to help make a difference. But maybe we want to use ” prophetic” lightly. It just sounds too aggrandizing and self- justifying. These days prophets come and go and they all seem to be having different points of view. It’s a confusion rather than a clarifying and many even aim for that. Out of this confusion something new is supposed to arise, but meanwhile a lot of good stuff has been torn down. We are getting these days many reports of increasing radicalization in mosques, on the left and right wing, in this country, Canada. I worry about it. We need to worry about the language we use.

  • Gary

    Clearly Brigitte, your personal attack was meant to “insult and hurt”.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    omg

  • BW

    Brigitte, I think you are mentally unstable. Your most recent posts are making that more and more clear. I think professional help is in order. And I am not saying this to insult and hurt you; I really do believe your thinking is “off” and you could use some help.

  • Kris

    If you read the books of the prophets in the Old Testament, they were simply predicting the inevitable. They saw the chaos around them and could see that the Israelites had doomed themselves.

    Prophecy is not about seeing centuries into the future or who you will marry. It is about warning people that they are destroying themselves and giving them the hope that they can change things for the better.

  • Mar

    One of the most powerful paragraphs you’ve written David … Maybe it’s just me. Because it’s exactly me.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    :)

  • Carol

    Brigitte, everything that is good also has its “dark” or disordered side. That is why it is so hard to change.

    Behavior that is virtuous under one set of circumstances can be very destructive under other circumstances. The hero on the battlefield is often the abuser in the home.

    The difference between political activists and sacred activists is that political activists are usually revolutionaries and authenic sacred activists are evolutionaries.

    Pain/fear-driven actions are reactionary. Anyone who has attempted to rescue a wounded animal knows the risk; but empathy/love is sometimes stronger than risk-averse survival instinct.

    That is why law-centered religions are an impediment rather than an inducement to faith and spiritual maturity.

  • Caryn LeMur

    The other night, my wife and I were speaking at the small kitchen table.

    She asked, “Why are you helping him?”

    I replied, “When someone is a military doctor, and one of your enemies is brought to you – and he is wounded… I understand that you have only two choices: to request another doctor treat him, or to ignore your own scars and help to heal him. I’ve chosen the latter.”

    Bon then said, “And what of the last letter you sent him?”

    I replied, “It took me four days of rewriting it, until I was sure that it contained what would heal him… and could sense that everything in that letter was for his wounds, and not for my scars. My original five page letter was finally reduced to two pages.”

    We went silent for a time… and then changed the subject.

    Scars are real – emotional or otherwise. How one recategorizes the scars truly matters, for “I bear in my body the marks…” is true; but “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” is more true.

    Therefore, I offer that every scar I was given was useful for grieving, then for forgiving, and then for finally letting go of the weight, and pressing forward for the joy of seeing someone else more transformed into the image of Christ. They are not just scars, they are now the ‘marks of the Lord Jesus’.

    Since ‘prophetic’ people were discussed, may I offer that “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”, and yet “prophecy is for encouragment, edification, and comfort”. Those that claim to have the ‘gift’ of prophecy appear to be a goodly number; but those that ‘sit in the seat’ of prophet or higher must operate by His themes. The former are like soldiers with battlefield dressings; but the latter are like battlefield medics, nurses, and doctors.

    In my opinion, those pastors that were wounded, were being graduated into pre-med schooling to become pastor-evangelists. Those that are wounded farther, are then residents that will serve as pastor-evangelist-prophet. How then is an apostle made?

    “That I might know Him” is essential… “and that I may know the power of His resurrection…” is wonderful. But the deepest schooling is in the third phrase of the verse….

    In the divine economy, He does not waste a scar. Yet, I fully understand if anyone resigns from this schooling… for a month, for a year, or even for a lifetime.

    I think I am rambling a bit too much… may the Spirit give comfort to all that are wounded.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Brigitte

    BW, if my thinking is so “off” why don’t you contradict it simply with something sensible? Thankfully we still have something like free speech. Some of the others, thanks for trying to expand in meaningful way.

  • BW

    I did offer something sensible…go see a therapist.

  • Carol

    Luther’s most brilliant insight was a recognition that in this life, forgiveness is the meaning of the Cross. Jesus’ prayer, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, not a legalist substitutionary theory of the Atonement, is the biblical Revelation.

    It is the same Revelation that the OT narrative of Abraham , who was not yet evolved enough to grasp the FULL Revelation, “I desire mercy not sacrifice,” got when God stayed his hand from human sacrifice: the cycle of pain and cruelty stops here!

    Stephen, the first martyr, also prayed for forgiveness rather than revenge for his executioners.

    I have noticed that in the telling of their stories some people are able to embrace and then let the pain go, while others continue to process and cling to it. It is easier to forgive when the offender recognizes and apologizes; but even without that “satisfaction” forgiveness is a necessary first step in healing.

    Caryn really gets it!

    Today’s Meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr:

    I don’t understand the physics of this, but it is said that the reason a bird sitting on a hot wire does not get electrocuted is quite simply because it does not touch the ground to give the electricity a pathway. That is what the “Welcoming Prayer” is doing, and that is what I am asking you to do. Stay like a bird, sitting on the hot wire, holding the creative tension, but do not ground it in a bad way by thinking of it, by critiquing it, by analyzing it. Actually welcome it in a positive way. Hold on to it. As a Christian, I think that is what Jesus was doing on the cross. He was holding all the pain of the world, at least symbolically or archetypically; and though the world had come to hate Jesus, he refused to hate back.
    Jesus revealed to us how to bear the pain of the world instead of handing on the pain to those around us. When you stop resisting suffering, when you can really do something so foolish as to welcome the pain, it leads you into a broad and spacious place where you live out of the abundance of Divine Love. I can’t promise you it will leave that quickly or that easily. To forgive is not the same as to forget.
    Forgiveness has the power to lead you to your True Self in God. Because the hurts of life are so great, you cannot let go of the pain on your own. At that point, you need to draw from a Larger Source. What you are doing with forgiveness is changing your egoic investment in your own painful story? which too often has become your ticket to sympathy, and sometimes your very identity. Forgiveness is one of the most radically free things a human being can do. When we forgive, we have to let go of our own feelings, our own ego, our own offended identity, and find our identity at a completely different level ?the divine level. I even wonder if it is possible to know God at all ?outside of the mystery of forgiveness (Luke 1:77).
    Adapted from The Art of Letting Go (CD)

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    BW: “Go see a therapist” is simply a low blow which is not something “sensible.” It demonstrates a kind of poverty of thought. It’s like the other famous dictum: “If you point is poor, yell louder.”

  • BW

    Brigitte, funny how you can say whatever hurtful words you want to people, but they are ‘low blows’ when said to you. I really wasn’t trying to be hurtful, however; I really do think you could benefit from professional help. Why do you consider that so wrong? (And I say this mostly in relation to your post on David’s cartoon regarding the mom and the gay son). Your words are often hypocritical here and yet you cannot, or refuse to, see that.

  • Caryn LeMur

    BW: I just reviewed your comments in this thread, as well as Bridgette’s January 18, 2013 comment(s) concerning the cartoon with the gay son. I non-concur quite strongly with your suggestion to Bridgette.

    By way of background: I was born male, and became female. At the time of my ‘transition’, my father had already passed away; but my mother was alive. I ‘came out’ to my mother and sisters… after ‘coming out’ to my wife of many years.

    When a person ‘comes out’ that they were the only son, and now are just ’1 of your 4 daughters’, there are unmet expectations by the mother. [There are also very deep unmet expectations by the wife... and yes, even by the distant sisters. However, in this post, I will focus on my mother.]

    My mother had to vocalize every single word that, and many more than, Bridgette wrote. I had to allow my mother that vocalization of all her unmet expectations – even if never spoken before. I had to listen. You see, love speaks; and love listens.

    Bridgette did not state that the mother’s unmet expectations had to be met… but rather, she said, ‘go easy on her’. I have come to believe that ‘love is gentle’… and I concur with Bridgette’s remark of ‘go easy on her’.

    Bridgette did not demand that the cartoon son recant his faith, attend (useless) ‘reparitive’ therapy, or renounce his position. Bridgette admitted to the loss of one of her own children – exposing her own vulnerability at the start of her post. Bridgette then simply vocalized the concept of a mother’s unmet, and possibly, quite shattered expectations.

    I understand. My mother wanted her son back. Her heart was broken. Her only ‘son’ was ‘gone’. ‘He’ was now a ‘woman’. Her ‘son’ even changed ‘his’ given name that dad and she had so carefully selected. If I did not let my mother speak her heart, there was little chance to repair it. I therefore let my mother speak – and again, my mother said many more unmet expectations than Bridgette wrote… very many more. However, in time, my mother felt her concerns had been ‘heard’, and welcomed me to her home. She passed away 2 years later.

    Concerning therapy: if a mother finds herself controlling her children, then indeed, she may wish to meet alone with a professional licensed family counselor. They will laugh together; they will cry together; and the mother will be heard, her feelings validated, and she will learn to have compassion on her own self.

    However, I also offer that therapy is often good for both the mother and ‘coming out’ child to attend together with a professional that will help each person to vocalize their concerns… and yes, many concerns will be just like the ones that Bridgette documented in her post.

    Again, in my own case, my own mother only needed to be ‘heard’… by me, her ‘new’ daughter. [In the case of my wife and I, we went to a professional counselor for 2.5 years... and heard each other talk about many unmet expectations...]

    Finally, I understand that you may have your own ‘coming out’ story, and may rightfully wish to share how your mother “benefited from professional help”. I understand that you may have also lost a child, and then wondered if your only remaining child was gay or transsexual… and had no unmet expectations to vocalize. I look forward to hearing your own vulnerable history.

    [By the way, Bridgette needed no defense by me - she is a tough woman. And, in the few months I have posted on NakedPastor, I find her opinion different than mine and offered in a more frank (German) manner than my approach. But, Germans use frankness to convey how strongly they believe in the subject-at-hand. But I have found none of her remarks to be hypocritical - but to be consistent within her belief system. Nonetheless, I am writing for the sake of others that may wish to vocalize their fears, or their unmet expectations... they do not instantly need therapy; they may only need to be 'heard'... so, let them post in peace.]

    Sincerely; Caryn

  • BW

    ‘Concerning therapy: if a mother finds herself controlling her children, then indeed, she may wish to meet alone with a professional licensed family counselor. They will laugh together; they will cry together; and the mother will be heard, her feelings validated, and she will learn to have compassion on her own self.’

    Exactly. And that is why I suggested it. She seemed very controlling and selfish TO ME in her post. (and to many others who commented). We are all entitled to our opinions.

  • Carol

    Caryn is so right.

    Desires are neither “wrong” nor “right”, they simply are. They need to be recognized rather than repressed or they will become the cause of pathological behaviors.

    All authentic Religious Traditions teach that we should strive for “detachment” from our desires; but there is a difference between being “detached” and being dispassionate. The difference is that detachment leaves us in control of our passions rather than being controlled by them, frees us to make loving moral choices without becoming cold and distant in our relationships.

    “Passion, it lies in all of us. Sleeping…waiting…and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir…open its jaws, and howl.

    It speaks to us….guides us….Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have?

    Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love…the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief.

    It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow, empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.”

    –Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

  • Brigitte

    Thanks ladies, I appreciate the justice in your words. Love you and Gary and BW. You are right about German frankness, but I thought a blog like this is precisely to be about frankness. If something has been unnecessarily hurtful, which is not my aim, then people can explain it. Coming out with expletives,etc. may indicate someone’s frustration, but does not help someone else understand something.


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