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.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FIRE & BRIMSTONE

Exhaustion is what happens. Mentally and physically, it wears you down. You start to not only believe you're not good enough, you begin to question if anyone else is. But then, somewhere inbetween the scoldings and the exile, you begin to find hope again. Soft and encouraging words are spoken, and the reassuring comfort that comes from knowing where you stand rises to the top. And you know, once again, that everything will be all right.

I haven't given up yet on believing that we, as Christians, can actually stop judging people long enough to love them. I still trust that the message of Jesus Christ is one that conquers all inability - especially among Christians - to demonstrate grace, mercy, forgiveness. I remain certain the gift He gives us won't continue to be spit upon with self righteousness and a lack of humility. I really do know that pride may interfere with, but will fail to conquer, three facts: We all are broken, our place is not to judge, and we must love one another.

As the unfriendings happen on Facebook, and the unfollows happen on Twitter, and the rudeness festers around the interactions (and lack thereof) with various people, we can get a bit consumed with the goings on with relationships. It's a fair place to be consumed, especially since we're called to be in relationship with one another. Social media or not, "social" is the part that's important. And, if we can't actually remain social, and we can't actually communicate with one another when we're upset, then, well, I'd say we've lost our way.

I'm guessing if we spend less time judging, more time loving, and continue to interact - even when the going gets tough - we'll all be better off. I know I will. I think I better start there, because The Good Lord knows I need to.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

UNEXPECTED

I bet that picture of a long, flowing white robe enveloping a massive masculine figure with stunning features and breezy white hair on an elderly Caucasian gentleman is, well, not very accurate.

I’m guessing He’s naked, at least at times, exposed to all the elements, wishing He could piece together something to cover up with in order to hide the shame or increase the comfort.

There’s a pretty good chance He’s dirty and frail, worn from the travel through the darkest places, starving from the unwillingness of those too self-centered and quick to judge to care for one another.

It’s not too far fetched to believe that He isn’t even actually a he or a she, transcending all sexual identification or orientation, poking and prodding at us to get over our unhealthy fixation on what matters not at all, and focus more on what matters more than all.

Not for certain, but not without reason, I’m thinking He spends little to no time with shampoo, conditioner, and various hair care products, electing instead to love all and give to all without exception.

And, I’m not going too far out on a limb when I say I don’t think He is some white dude, but instead the color of beauty and awe and wonder, penetrating our eyes with vibrant hues, rich in texture and substance, and me, and you.

God is unexpected, but only because God is precisely who we should expect, but don’t.


Joan Osborne - What If God Was One Of Us by Pippo-el-peco