Shut Up

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What's a shut up head?

I'm Jewish and believe in Jesus, and I'll be blogging this summer about Jews, Jesus and Jews for Jesus. My friend Geoff is not Jewish and he's also blogging, so you also see his take on Jesus and Jewishness.

But first, I'd better explain the name of this blog.

When she was a little girl, a friend of mine told another girl to shut up. The other girl replied, as only children can, "No, you shut up, you shut up head!" Cute.

But there are other meanings to "shut up." In the Bible, there's a passage that reads,

"When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray towards this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel." (That's in Second Chronicles 6:26-27).

Then in the New Testament (a good Jewish book--more to come on that), Paul writes to a community in the city of Galatia (approximately in modern Turkey): "But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." (Chapter 3, verse 22)

Whatever you make of these passage, I think one thing that's being said is that Jewish or Gentile, our sin shuts us up to the reality of life God would like for us. It shuts us up to the life we want for ourselves, though we don't always recognize it for what it is.

In that way, we're all "shut up heads."

There's another kind of "shut up" in the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah says, "If I say, 'I will not remember Him [God] or speak anymore in His name,' then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it." (Chapter 20, verse 9)

I like this spin that Jeremiah puts on the phrase. If he doesn't speak out about God, life, and reality, he feels like there's a fire shut up inside him and burning out of control. He doesn't want to be silent. The fire contained inside him is like a pressure.

So maybe I'm a "shut up head" because I have something to say and a pressure inside if I don't. I really don't know if that comes from a desire I've always had to express myself, to be creative, or if it's from someplace else, but I guess it makes me a shut up head too.

And maybe not a bad name for a blog, either.