A quick note before I get started:
I am in the slow process of bringing my personal blog back to life, which includes transferring all of my old posts to this site, as well as slowly editing the page to get the look I want. I appreciate your patience as all of these changes occur.
So, hello! It’s been a while.
Someone recently queried as to why I wasn’t writing anymore. I told them simply that I didn’t have anything to say. I supposed that’s changed now. I love writing (when there’s no deadline). Those of you who’ve followed along with me throughout the years know how much I love words. I’ve missed this.
Those of you who’ve followed along with me throughout the years have also seen me create and destroy this blog a handful of times. Over the past several months, I had lots to say and I said it loudly. It’s been a very tumultuous season for our nation and I felt compelled to speak up and out about a myriad of issues. While I stand firmly by my own beliefs, it was around the beginning of April or so that I felt compelled to quiet down a bit. I took a short break from Instagram (the only social media I will be a part of) and I got quiet. I meditated, I mulled, I considered, I talked with my sister and husband, I even prayed some.
I had a really tough day (okay like six weeks but we’ll start with this particular day) earlier this week, and I’d had a little wine and teensy emotional breakdown and decided to spill my guts all over Instagram. I wrote about the stress I was under, impending decisions that were making me anxious, my insecurities about my body, and then I took a wide turn and began spewing words of disdain towards the western evangelical church and the Bible and on and on. The next day I re-read what I’d written and took the post down immediately. You see sometimes I get it in my head that if I don’t yell, I won’t be heard. But the thing is, when you (I) start yelling, people stop listening. All anyone wants is to be understood, right?
Balance is not one of my strong suits. It’s this elusive thing I have been furiously chasing for most of my life and never quite landing there, at least not for long. I am naturally an extremist and I DO NOT LIKE THIS about myself. I swing so far to opposite ends of the pendulum that I make myself sick and dizzy. I want balance. I need balance. I (we) was (were) made for a balanced life. Balance is good and it’s healthy. Balance helps me love others better. Balance helps me to be a better friend, a better wife, a better mom, a better person. Balance helps keep me sane. And yet I have so much trouble getting myself to that place.
I have a friend who is heavily involved in her church. When I say heavily involved, I mean she and her husband are the lead pastors. She recently asked me basically why she and I had a good relationship (although she was glad for it!) when she felt she represented an institution that I have so much tension with. I answered her as thoughtfully as I could in the moment, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what she said. I talked with Shawn for a while, just sort of getting all my thoughts out into the air. That’s how I solve a lot of problems actually – I speak them out loud, sort through the pieces, and put together a solution.
Anyways, as I was talking and my mind was racing a thousand different thoughts a minutes, I realized how out of balance I’d become. If my friend had to ask me that question, I’ve clearly been yelling a lot about that subject; my feelings about the church and the Bible and so forth. I’ve clearly been yelling about a lot of things. I told Shawn that I don’t want my life to be remembered for everything I’m against, I don’t want to be remembered for what I’ve yelled about. I want to leave a legacy, for lack of a better word, of love, of kindness, of patience, of listening, of being respectful and honoring other people simply because they are people, regardless of any difference of opinion or belief or faith.
So now I have something to say. Not something to yell. I am a very passionate person and I care very deeply about what I believe to be right and true and good. I believe that all people, regardless of gender, of race, of ethnicity, of sexual orientation, of political standing, of status, are very much equal in every way, as humans, and should be respected and loved as such. I believe that God is BIG (big enough to be He or She or anything else, but that’s another thought for another time) and loves us all so much, in a way we can’t begin to imagine. I believe that when God looks at us, humankind, that what is seen is only Love. I believe that we aren’t seen by our flaws or “sins” or what anyone else might consider to be wrong. We are only seen through Love.
I love God very, very much. Because I love God so much, I want to see humankind through Love. There is, of course, a difference in seeing all people through Love, and not standing against blatant evil. Love fights against evil and it stands up for the rights of the defenseless, the oppressed and the marginalized. I’m headed towards a tangent so I’ll get to my main point now. Forgive me for taking the long way to get here.
I have been in a process of “spiritual deconstruction” for about four years now. What that means is that I took a step back from everything I was taught or learned or came up with growing up regarding God and Love and Jesus and the church and the Bible, and I pulled it apart. I broke it down, I threw it out, I started from scratch. I did this because I began to notice a lot of actions, words, and beliefs from this particular people group that I could no longer reconcile with Love. I began to notice hypocrisy (I mean, I’m not immune to it, don’t get me wrong). I began to notice bigotry, sexism, even hate at times. I removed myself from anything and everything related to western Christianity and the western church and even Scripture. The Bible has been translated so many times into so many different languages that I have trouble believing it to be “infallible” (something I was taught at a very young age).
However, it isn’t fair or even correct for me to throw all Scripture away and deem it irrelevant, which I have said before. The Bible, while not perfect, still carries a lot of wisdom, perspective, and even comfort when needed. It is not irrelevant. Not everyone involved in a church somehow is a hypocrite, or a bigot, or a misogynist. I don’t hate all pastors (I don’t hate anyone…well, I work hard not to ::coughDonaldTrumpcough::) and I don’t think all the good has gone out of the hearts of Christians. It was unfair for me to lump every person into a pile like that, and for that I apologize and I ask that you forgive me.
I’m still sorting through many of my broken pieces. While I may still disagree with a lot of things involved in “Christian Culture”, I’m going to work hard at looking through the eyes of Love and speaking kindly about the good and healthy, rather than yelling about the rotten. Another thing my friend said to me was that she’d been battered by the church a lot, so she understood where I was coming from. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that either, because despite the battering, she is a pastor! She keeps moving forward in Love. I want to live like that. Despite the hurt and confusion and anger, despite the battering, I want to move forward in Love.
I like to consider myself an open minded person, mostly because I’m a liberal. But I read a quote a few weeks ago that punched me right in the gut. It said that an open minded person isn’t just someone with a liberal perspective, but someone who is always willing to listen and understand and learn.
So, I’m done yelling. I lost my voice because of it. The Bible mentions that the Holy Spirit whispers to us gently. Well, I do believe in the Spirit, and now I want to follow suit and whisper gently. Divine Love is loud and big on it’s own; I don’t need to raise my voice for it. I just need to live it.