Anthropoetics: Embodiment, Equality, Environment

If we’re God’s poetry (Ephesians 2:10). . .

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? How does that inform the way we live and inspire the ways we treat each other?

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words” ~William H. Gass (A Temple of Texts, p. 37).

Hopefully, readers of this mixture of musings about our reflective relationship with God will find some golden insights.


“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;

and man became a living soul.”

Genesis 2:7, KJV

God formed

Ha- adam from adamah

Humans from humus

Earthlings from earth

Ishah from ish

To reflect God.

We form

Theo – logy and

Anthropo – logy

And probably all logies

From poetry

To reflect God.

~Carl McRoy, “Paronomasia”

Wait a minute, while my breath catches me

Isn’t it amazing how holding our breath results in having to catch our breath? If we could truly hold it, then why would we need to catch it? Is this a built-in lesson from God? Our reliance on receiving a fresh supply of some-thing we can’t see to remind us of dependence on Some-One we can’t see? Does the act of trying to grasp God leave us gasping for God? Do we typically fear exhaling because there won’t be sufficient air to inhale? Do we ever have times when we’re afraid of exhaling a certain understanding of God for fear that we won’t be refreshed with another inhalation of Divine breath to keep us going? Then again, do we need to slow those breaths down and hold them longer than usual to prevent taking them and God for granted?

Soul-food Savior

If God’s breath animated a body to become a living soul, then what is the soul without the body? Or without the breath? How can we sing neo-soul with breathless bodies or bodiless breath? How glorious would Glory be if Common and John Legend weren’t traumatized yet inspired by the bodily resistance at Selma? How can we eat soul food without a body, or at least taste buds and a belly, and fingers to lick, and a tongue to lick them, and lips to smack, and an esophagus for eructation? How could we know soul food is mmm – mmm good enough to slap yo mama? What’s the need for an embodied Christ to be born of Mama Mary to save disembodied souls? Why would Jesus spend so much time healing people’s bodies if the soul was entrapped in the body longing to escape? Wouldn’t that be securing our shackles instead of setting the captives free? Why would the Word become flesh if all we need is words, in the right verbal formula, to taste soul salvation? Why did Jesus host a fish-fry as bodily proof he had power over death? Did that meal make Peter wanna slap his mama (in-law)?


“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

Acts 17:26, KJV

“Yuh coulda come from Lebanon or yuh come from Iran

Coulda come from China or yuh come from Japan

One blood one blood one blood.”

Junior Reid, “One Blood”

“Brothers, if God

Had taken dat bone out of man’s head

He would have meant for woman to rule, hah!

If he had taken a bone out of his foot

He would have meant for us to dominate and rule

He could have made her out of back bone

And then she would have been behind us

But no, God Almighty, he took de bone out of his side

So dat places de woman beside us;

Hah! God knowed his own mind.

Behold de rib!”

Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men, “Sermon by Travelling Preacher”

We all have one genesis

One genes is us


~Carl McRoy, “Genes”

The leveling power of love

There might not have been anything more enraging to Jesus’ critics than when he touched the untouchable and advocated for the abominable. Luke 4:14-30 tells the story of Jesus’ inaugural sermon. His hometown crowd was excited as Jesus read the messianic passage from Isaiah about setting captives free and announcing the Year of Jubilee. Their cheers soon turned to jeers. What transformed this pious congregation into a spontaneously combustible mob, seeking to throw Jesus over a cliff? He dared to declare God’s blessings would be generously shared with those outside their exclusive circle; those considered unclean, ungodly, unworthy others. By lifting society’s lowest, Jesus was filling the valleys and humbling the proud mountains as John the Baptist had preached about. Sometimes moving the world doesn’t take bulldozers.


“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden;

and there he put the man whom he had formed.

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant. . .

and good for food. . . And a river went out of Eden to water the garden”

Genesis 2:8-10, KJV

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me

Ah, things ain’t what they used to be

Where did all the blue skies go?

Poison is the wind that blows

Marvin Gaye, “Mercy, Mercy Me [The Ecology]”

More problem, more panic

Suddenly now more planet

More places man can inhabit

Colonize and breed up like rabbit

Contaminate and spread dirty habit

Damian Marley, “Time Travel”

“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty. . . because. . . thou shouldest give reward

unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small

and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

Revelation 11:17-18, KJV

God exhaled life into Adam

God exhaled life into scripture

Jesus exhaled the Spirit onto the Twelve

What have we given heaven to inhale?

Are CFCs the modern incense to accompany our prayers?

What’s Revelation’s reward for saints who manifest our destiny

through pollution of the air,

acidification of the oceans,

and desertification of the earth?

Mercy, mercy, me, indeed.

Carl McRoy, “When Air Exchange is Robbery”

Life and death is in the power of imagination

Like trees, we were formed by the rivers of waters. We profess faith in one who supplies living water and transforms us into fountains of life-giving water. We seek rebirth through immersion in, or the pouring on, or sprinkling on of water. We preach, pray, and sing about new names, new songs, new heavens, and new earth. We dream of eating from the new earth’s mystical tree of life with its multivariate fruit, healing leaves, and giant trunk straddling the river of life. Will we be captivated by the tree’s beauty or capitalize on its bountiful components? Will we allow the river to nourish the tree or dam it (and ourselves) to harness the hydropower needed for industrializing the derivatives of the dissected tree of life? Without new minds, new hearts, new values, won’t it all just be new opportunities for old exploits?

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