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April 18, 2006

Water, water everywhere

McBride, The Color of Water (1996) -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

“What color is God’s spirit?”
“It doesn’t have a color,” she said. “God is the color of water. Water doesn’t have a color” (51).

I found it interesting she used that analogy, since water is a symbol of life and life-giving.

I also really liked the way the author used the word “Mommy” in each case, even when he obviously gets older and would typically grow out of it. I think it shows A) his love for his mother and B) his dependency upon her as a child that he never really (up to this point) seems to lose.

What a powerful story. Incredible what she went through, achieved, especially given the loveless and abusive circumstances in her own childhood.

I once went to a service as a non-denominational church in the area where one of Jimmy Swaggart’s sons, Donnie, was delivering a sermon. I’m a Methodist and while were not incredibly formal, we’re not the jump in the aisles sort of people either. We’re probably right in the middle somewhere.

Anyway Swaggart’s sermon was interesting for me and a bit shocking as he ran up and down the aisles and whipped everyone into a religious fervor. His sermon involved the idea of original sin, which has come in handy when reading Flannery O’Connor.

But he also said something that stuck with me: the proof of Christ’s existence is in changed lives. Lives like Rachel in The Color of Water. It is sometimes awe-inspiring what belief in God can do to people. It can cause incredible tragedy if one takes on religious zealotry in the wrong sense, but it can also be absolutely beautiful given the right circumstances. God or belief in him can be life-giving, like water.

So the comparison is absolutely appropriate and reaffirming, to me.

Posted by MattHampton at April 18, 2006 09:25 AM


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