Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Like ancient Israel, we busy ourselves with the daily preening that comes with I’m-better-than-my-fellows-because-hold-the-patent-on-God’s-truthiest-Truth. And like the ancient Hebrews, we are very, very wrong. In our fractured version of the Church, our us-versus-them or me-above-you theologies, we have lost sight of the very tasks to which we have been called.
I have a hard time believing that the girl, who is trying to lance her pain out of her very skin, actually gives a rip about whether I’m complimentarian or egalitarian; so long as I walk with her on the road to her healing.
I don’t think the homeless person, who hasn’t showered in months and who hasn’t been called by his name in decades, cares if I’m Catholic or Reformed or Non-demoninational; so long as I look him in the eye, ask his name, and speak to him as though he were a human being.
I can’t imagine that the boy, whose father has run off and who now lives with his mom’s abusive boyfriend, cares in the least whether I’m fundamentalist or liberal; so long as I can protect him from the hurt.
In the darkest nights of our souls, these labels don’t matter.
Because Christ didn’t become human to give us labels. He came to remove them. Christ didn’t die on the cross to divide people. He came to unite us in him. Christ didn’t rise again to keep people out of his kingdom. He rose from death to gather all those who call him Lord into his house, that he may call us friend and beloved.
That, cherished friend, must be our ecclesiology. Faith in the Truth and Love in our praxis.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It had been a dark day. One of the darker in lengthy memory. My skin wasn’t racking just yet, calling for the pain to be lanced out of it. But I was at that precipice. The swirl of three- day long conversations churning in my mind. My heart expanding panic, and my spirit tweeking like a meth-freak, unable to sit still, wringing and clawing at the cause of all of this.
Fences are hard to build. Necessary to keep what’s important in. And what’s harmful out.
But what is there, after tears? After boundaries raised, and respected? There is quiet. Too much aloneness.
Her e-mail came through, afterward. These things have a dividing before- and after- effect on the soul. Like a tornado, when one has lived through enough of them, you can feel them coming through the rain.
She spoke only of a vivid dream. “Jesus came to me and told me to email you,” she said. “He said to tell you, from him,
All of me. Without reservation. Without even a pause for breath. The Yes! that precedes even the question.
His answer to my wounds isn’t just unconditional, all-encompassing love and acceptance, though it is enough; his answer is also a relationship. A fellow warrior to combat the loneliness; to walk beside me, hurting when I hurt, covering me when I’m too broken, and dancing when I am filled with joy.
A never alone proposition, straight from his heart and her computer.
Grace has many expressions. But it is always just the right one, for precisely the right time.
May you, dear one, be open to this surprising grace of his. And may you have someone who is willing to share it with you, even when its forms seem at first blush less than expected.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Some parenting advice, on Mother's Day:
The reason I was compelled to write this, in the waning of the day, is that in the space of thirty minutes online, I read two blog posts: one from the male, another from the female perspective, one e-zine article [female], and two very high-profile pastors' sermons [both male] for Mother’s Day. Each covered the topic of how to be a BETTER parent!
Yeah, because mothers everywhere need more of that. More advice, more admonishing, more rebuking. More lectures on what she should be doing, what she shouldn’t be doing, what she’s never even considered, but is still doing wrong, or not enough, or entirely too much. More ways to wake up every morning, knowing that by the time she rests for the night, she will have failed her child in a million different, tiny ways. More ways to look in the mirror and fight the tears because she’s not the mom she wants so very much to be. More standards to which she should hold herself; more unattainable goals to reach for. More striving to become who she is not.
And I found myself asking, rather forcefully: When do we get to give ourselves a break? When do moms get to get off the guilt-go-round and recognize that God (Giver of all good and perfect things, Author of life, and the Creator who made you uniquely you, and Who delights in that very creation) gave us our kids for a purpose?
Because, as the omniscient, omnibenevolent, all-perfect being, God knows what You being their mom means: what gifts you'll give, what investments through sacrifice, what perspectives and lessons you'll teach. Not the mom in your bible study, who always has it together, not the mom who’s raised her kids so “successfully.” Not even the bloggess whose world, even though quasi-transparent, is so much more holy and perfect than your own could ever be.
God picked you to be the mom to your kids. You have been endowed with qualities that specifically make you, and only you, right for this very purpose. I can’t tell you the why; though I suspect, deep down, you already know that yourself. There is something about you, that will draw out of your children a light, a spark, an unflagging and singular character that is them. And no one else.
Not one of us is the perfect mom. If ever she existed, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. But she, this Mom de Perfection, is a work of fiction. A lie bent on making us doubt, making us feel unworthy, making us work to change the very things about ourselves which cause us to be the best version of mom we can be.
Find that thing, that one which makes you that Mom. The woman specifically designed and chosen for your kids. And don’t let anyone, not anyone, take it away from you, or tell you that you’re doing the mom thing all wrong. Because when you inhabit the person you were made to be, and live all your life radiating out from that place, you’re glorifying the One who made you so.
This is a clip from the movie, Evening, in which Claire Danes, a young mother, striving to live the perfect-Mom life, sings a lullaby. I don't remember much else from the film [so this isn't a blanket endorsement], but I know that I re-played this scene over and over, finding comfort in her un-perfectness and how she abandoned the things-that-everyone-else-thinks-need-doing to be herself with her daughters.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
I realize that this study was written for others who need the knowledge I have received through other venues. They haven’t had their chance to apply God’s Word to these topics. It is something rarely addressed from the pulpit; hardly even broached in women’s groups. And likely, many good women don’t even confide these issues to their best friends over coffee. But, I do. Lots [you can ask her…she pens her ministry here]. And that makes me one of the blessed few, I know; one who has the deepest confidence in one so grounded in the Truth, and who has been surrounded and uplifted by so many godly women [and men] along the way, the kind that speak truth no matter the consequence. Ones who believe that God’s Word applies to every.second.of.this.life.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
A cup of java might just soothe that weariness away; let my spirit unfurl, and shake out stiff feathers. If this is the case for me, how much more so is it for others? Because, for all my self-imposed isolation, I have my core of people who won’t let me disappear entirely. They keep calling, keep inviting; keep asking, even if it’s only a two-minute conversation, how I’m doing. And they mean it. And I know I’m loved.
Which makes me wonder if love can really be as simple as saying, “let’s grab a coffee.” Would that approach to community, to joining the lives of others, would that make a difference? If instead of living horizontally-socio-economic lives, we spread our coffee times out among all the different strata of poor, rich, young, old, healthy, sick, believers, non, urban, rural. Could we change something in this weary, lonely world? If we looked one another in the eye, over a cup of joe, and said “you matter to me.” Then shut up and listened. And then let others do the same for us.
While it’s unlikely that this tiny gesture would be enough, it would be a start. A window, opening in a soul otherwise fettered against hope or love. I think we’re a society that is so lonely, we drive ourselves mad with distractions from this racking sadness pervasive in our hearts. Everyone’s talking, but no one’s listening. We all ache to be heard, to be known; but no one takes the time to truly know others.
Perhaps a good cup of coffee could soothe some of that weariness away. And open the door, just a bit, for love to break in to lonely and dying hearts.
Are you willing to try to be that change with me? Recognizing we won’t change the entire world over night; but hoping that we may change just one day for just one person.
Look around today. Whose existence is calling out to be noticed?
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
*[forgive me, Mother, but I couldn't help myself]