Friday, September 10, 2010


The very utterance of the word elicits a desire to cover up vital organs, brace for impact, and protect oneself from certain impending affliction. The series of letters slices through the eardrum wearing a loathsome sneer, “I know your heart, I know your hurt, and I know exactly where to strike.” It wears a face; every person knows the face of vulnerability.
Yet, there remains a desire to redeem this fierce vermin of a term. Perhaps it is a theological disposition? After all, what has vulnerability done to desire such a bad rap; what culpability has he?

Consideration: (Second person intentional)
Has vulnerability left you holding a bucket full of holes?
Has vulnerability made promises it didn’t fulfill?
Has vulnerability whispered sweet, false nothings in your ear?
Has vulnerability harvested you then left you for dead?

Given the data, perhaps there is something in the nature of vulnerability that warrants skepticism. Perhaps it maintains a disposition that is slightly less than loveable and slightly more than horrible…one’s phenomenological response would suggest so. Erickson contends, “Credibility, once compromised, is not easily regained or preserved in other matters,” a position that is nigh impossible to refute.

The “But,” and there’s always a but:
Vulnerability is something like air. The commonality of its essence is pervasive, within both sacred and profane worldviews. In The Four Loves, Jack Lewis poignantly explained that there were two paths a being may take, the path of love (vulnerability) or the path that seeks to protect from loving anything in an effort to protect the heart; in the case of the latter the tale ends sadly, ironically. Some years later Emmylou Harris penned a song in which she states, “God knows how I love you, like a user needs a drug,” this sentiment follows the path of the typical user…down the rabbit hole, but once again provides a paradoxical insight into the psyche.
Yet, there is a theme strung through the profane. Although it hurts and the going is very difficult, there is a need, a want, a desire for this thing; this one dangerous, elusive thing. And the only extant bridge is named Vulnerability. (I do not know the Elvish word for “vulnerability” nor was the English to Elvish online dictionary of any assistance, yet if I did know it, this is where I would use it.)

The human condition exists, in its unaided state, as one of brokenness with an innate desire for complete fulfillment (Here the position is theologically inform). Through this longing for restoration and ultimate communion one finds symptomatic tangential desires, such as said desire for vulnerability, permeating everyday life. Fear not, this urge, though frightening, is proper. It is an exhibition of how life was truly designed to be, yet due to the broken status of the world, vulnerability has yielded searing fruit resulting in a misconception of the entire entity. Vulnerability, at its root design level, seeks to be and provide fruitful relationships; storge, phileo, eros and agape.

While the desire to protect oneself requires one, selfishly, to withdraw into their cave of protection, this place of “respite” will ultimately wield the most damage; sin is a brilliant paradox. Redemption of vulnerability exists as one verb of God’s overarching redemptive outworking.




djmase said...

Image Credit: Jeffrey Snyder.

Anonymous said...

and the essence of the 'going and doing' in the name of God and his Kingdom is dependant on our personal vulnerability...laying down our life, our agenda, our passions and taking up His and in doing so leaving ourselves vulnerable to be hurt deeply by others, but leaving ourselves vulnerable to be pierced and tranformed by his amazing power and grace.

especially interesting since the last thing you wrote here said "I've been told my posts are too long" and then you bust out the shortest post in history for your blog.

i'll take your advice and go and do something today instead of sitting around moaning and bitching about my current condition.

djmase said...

That is one key part of what I was getting at but did not write in hope that the reader would pick it up. There is one other piece that I've observed, God's seeming vulnerability with me. His desire for relationship when I have been the one that has been the sneering face to Him. Oh, what love is this?!?!?

Getting all I want to get into a scribble will result in a long scribble...I will probably toy around with length and amount of content.

It stokes me out to know that this one made any sense at all given the brevity.

"GO. DO." is hard, I am rotten at it.

Joren Adlai said...

Beautiful. I've thought a lot about this recently - needing to balance the need for guardedness with an openness. In a "perfect world," vulnerability would not be a word. Unfortunately, hurt people will hurt other people - often without realizing it or meaning to. So, there is still a need to guard against vulnerability. Without being able to explain why, there is also something beautiful about leaving mystery.

I find that I'm most vulnerable when I think too highly of other people. Creating someone that doesn't exist and setting myself up for disappointment. I'm not sure what that means yet, but its a good start at self reflection on this topic.

djmase said...

There is certainly a rope to be walked. At the extreme, one can fall in love with a person who does not exist, a construct of what she is 'in my mind,' the fall from there is a long way down.
YET, when we consider the narrative of Scripture we see what? Redemption!
A beautiful story of a loving God redeeming a rash, boorish bride. Which leaves us with the consideration of Imago Dei and its role in our lives as Christian men; our calling to be as Christ to his bride is one I'd gladly pass up if given the chance, yet relish at the same moment. Are we the folk who, "Wrap it [love] carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness," or are we the folk who love recklessly? Now...I am not advocating foolishness, and this text may appear polemic, but that is merely for effect. We are to 'walk prudently,' _and_ we are to mirror Christ...I assume the first part will be difficult, yet the second part is a exponentially more impossible.

"Vulnerability" was more of a musing, a thought, a challenge to myself. A, "are you doing this as well as you could be?" To which I answer a resounding, "No. But I wish to, I wish to be available and vulnerable. Please God, prepare me to be what Christ was. Please God make the right person cherish my vulnerable heart, I am tired of the swine."

Joren Adlai said...

Understood. This will be quite a challenge for me to take on as well.