Preface

Currently reading this book. Oh, what a book. I think you might see lots of quotes popping up soon.

Preface for The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

“Whatever else The Color Purple has been taken for during the swift ten years since its publication, it remains for me the theological work examining the journey from the religious back to the spiritual that I spent much of my adult life, prior to writing it, seeking to avoid. Having recognized myself as a worshipper of Nature by the age of eleven, because my spirit resolutely wandered out the window to find trees and wind during Sunday sermons, I saw no reason why, once free, I should bother with religious matters at all.

I would have thought that a book that begins with ‘Dear God’ would immediately have been identified as a book about the desire to encounter, to hear from, the Ultimate Ancestor. Perhaps it is a sign of our times that this was infrequently the case. Or perhaps it is the pagan transformation of God from patriarchal male supremacist into trees, stars, wind and everything else, that camouflaged for many readers the book’s intent: to explore the difficult path of someone who starts out in life already a spiritual captive, but who, through her own courage and the help of others, breaks free into the realization that she, like Nature itself, is a radiant expression of the heretofore perceived as quite distant Divine.

If it is true that it is whatever we run from that chases us, then The Color Purple (this color that is always a surprise but is everywhere in nature) is the book that ran me down while I sat with my back to it in a field. Without the Great Mystery’s word coming from any Sunday sermon or through any human mouth, there I heard and saw it moving in beauty across the grassy hills.

No one is exempt from the possibility of a conscious connection to All That Is. Not the poor. Not the suffering. Not the writer sitting in the open field. This is the book in which I was able to express a new spiritual awareness, a rebirth into strong feelings of Oneness I realized I had experienced and taken for granted as a child; a chance for me as well as the main character, Celie, to encounter That Which Is Beyond Understanding But Not Beyond Loving and to say: I see and hear you clearly, Great Mystery, now that I expect to see and hear you everywhere I am, which is the right place.”

Preface

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