Friday, June 13, 2014

TIPPING THE SCALE


We're supposed to say we're sinners
But we don't like that word
It casts a shadow over us
It beats us down
It exposes us

We're supposed revel in God's Grace
But we can't believe it's real
It covers us with love
It lifts us up
It heals us

We're supposed to reach out in love to all
But we have to qualify that
It works for many
It fails for some
It excludes us

Sometimes the sin is just too damn much for us, no matter what we say we believe
And we search The Word to justify ourselves
Instead of seeking The Word to correct ourselves
And we think we speak the truth
When The Truth is cast aside

We believe love should cost us nothing
But love costs us everything
And we should spend it all
With a smile on our face
And tears in our eyes

Sunday, May 4, 2014

WALKING THE ROAD

My shadow last fell at the doorway of a church around a year ago. Today, that changed. There was no popular worship music belted out by a live band. There were no people decked out in hipster clothing. There wasn't any slick marketing scheme designed to draw me in, or back again.

I did hear some words used that I haven't heard spoken in a loving and inclusive way at church in a long time. There was music and praying, speaking and listening, and there was sharing. There was also a message, interestingly enough, focused on walking on the road to Emmaus.

Somewhere along the way, real has become less about cool tunes, raised hands, stiched jeans, hippie dresses, and untucked button front shirts. Somewhere along the way, real has become more about genuinely speaking about Jesus Christ, and His message of love for absolutely everyone.

Welcoming isn't about power and privilege and fitting the mold. Welcoming isn't about exclusion and 'Merica and earning instead of sharing our blessings. Welcoming isn't about being pro-life, but only for whomever is deemed worthy while stripping those deemed unworthy of any voice or control.

I'm unsure of what's next for me and church. But, today I went to church. It requires steps if one is going to walk the road. Today I introduced myself to a church. They also gave me a bag of homemade noodles. So, I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ECCLESIOPHOBIA

God is not scary to me. I'm not afraid of who He is, or what He does, or how He feels about me. I mean, I know we're supposed to fear Him and all, but that's not the same thing, I think. Let me put it this way: If I pissed God off, and He's after me because of it, then I've long been screwed, and there's no way I'm getting out of it.

It's not like that. I love God. I feel as safe with Him as I do my family and friends - and they're all very good to me. He loves me like they do. Actually, I believe He loves me even more than they do, I think. Let me put it this way: Even though I know I've pissed God off, He's after me because He loves me like a wild man, I'm saved because of Him, and I'm so thankful I'm not getting out of it.

I'll tell you what spooks me though: Church. And, hey, I get it. Church is people, and people can be, well, people. I know I am. But, as I wander along this path I'm on, meandering through the wilderness, searching for a new church home, I'm finding myself consistently comfortable with God, but increasingly uncomfortable with church. Quite frankly, I don't know if I even want a new church home.

We're all broken. And, I think most of us are fairly comfortable actually admitting that we're all broken. We all make mistakes, we all rub each other the wrong way at times, and, I honestly believe most of us try hard to forgive, and try hard at doing better. But, what makes me so unwilling to give church another shot is the consistent hate and hypocrisy at so many places. I mean, stop saying we're all broken, and then walk around acting like what you really mean is that everyone but you is broken. Stop hating, and then trying to pretend it's loving. When you treat others as less, you're hating on them. Then, when you try to justify treating others as less, you're still hating on them. Own it.

Hate isn't sanctioned. It never has been, it isn't now, and it never will be. We can pretend like it is, we can attempt to point to laws or God to say it is, we can use smoke and mirrors to give the appearance that it's something else in order to justify that it is, and we can continually attempt to make ourselves feel better by hoping that it is. Try as we might, though, hate isn't sanctioned. And, as long as I see any group promoting hate as though it is sanctioned, and the voices of love are ignored and dismissed, I can't allow myself to be a part of it. I'm sure there's a church home for me just waiting to be found. He'll help me find it, because He's after me, and thankfully that will never change.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM HIM?



I suppose we're all looking for a way out, a way in, a sign, a something.

I suppose we all need to pay closer attention.

I suppose.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WASHED BY THE WATER

Sometimes water doesn't clean and renew. Sometimes water dirties and destructs. Sometimes it brings chaos and loss, agony and suffering, hopelessness and despair.

And the pain of the unknown.

And the desire for relief.

And the gathering of hearts that can unite.

And the dawn of a new day.

And the certainty of knowing that all will be well again.

We are not blessed with simplicity throughout our lives, but we are blessed with restoration. I can see beyond the barriers, I can trust in what lies ahead, and I can be reminded that we can - that we will, in fact - be washed by the water.


Monday, September 2, 2013

LET'S NOT AND JUST SAY WE DID


Following years of painstaking research, I've come to the conclusion that there's one group of people who are least likely to truly and fully accept the message of Christ's love for all of us:

Christians.

O.K. Fine. It's not actually following years of painstaking research. Rather, it comes from mere observation and experience. Now, being an evangelical Christian myself, it's pretty tough to come to this realization. His love for us is so overwhelming, so complete, so all-encompassing, so unfailing, that He actually died for us. It's an amazing message, and I've discovered it's one that is actually received fairly well by those who don't claim to be Christians.

They don't struggle with Christ. They struggle with Christians.

It would be so much easier for people to believe in and live out the love of Jesus Christ if His followers were more consistently living out His message. Christianity is famous for delivering a message that it's not a religion, but rather a relationship. And yet, the message sent out is one of exclusivity - a privileged club that only some get to belong to, and that many can get kicked out of.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Love. Just love. Make it the favorite, make it the focus, and the relationship with The Big Guy will actually flourish.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

HOME

My mom makes rhubarb custard pie. I mean, she makes a lot of things, but the pie is what sticks out in my mind. There's a uniqueness to the flavor, the sweetness and tartness combining in a way that only happens when she makes it. Or, at least I think so.

I do think about food a lot, and when I go home, it stays on my mind. Gotta get my Arni's, Dog n Suds, and Frozen Custard. Traveling around town when I'm back at home, my belly makes a point of getting fulfilled, and somehow it all makes its way toward my heart. Still, as much as I love food, that isn't why home is home to me.

It's at home where I truly feel loved. I'm accepted and respected for who I am. I'm trusted and supported. I'm not looked down upon, or judged, or ridiculed. That, to me, is what makes home so very special. Love is what it is, nothing more, and nothing less.

While I recognize this as my temporary home, and being uncomfortable is a part of not being truly home, I also know there's no reason in subjecting myself to unnecessary discomfort. As I look for a new church home, I realize it's no more about seeking nonexistant perfection than it is accepting that people have to be pointlessly judgmental.

My oldest daughter recently finished making her first rhubarb custard pie in solo fashion. My mom taught her how to do it. As she progressed through the process, I knew it was going to be wonderful in its own way. I knew it was going to taste like home. Sure enough, it did, and I know why.