So I am guessing that many of you right now are watching the votes roll in across the nation.
I have to confess that I think I am still going through America overload and re-immersion adjustments. Election season this fall, especially being in AR with a hotly debated Senate and Gubernatorial races, has about worn me out with the sheer number of ads coming at me from every direction and the bitter vitriol often expressed. I am so grateful on one hand for the privilege to vote and live in a country that offers the rights, freedoms, and democratic process that it does, but on the other it becomes harder and harder to not grow tired of the American political machine and its games.
Even so, I hope you got out today and voted, as decisions are made by those who show up.
Thankfully I got my absentee ballot in a few weeks ago, and I will so be looking forward to my political ad free radio tomorrow on the way to work! 🙂
This week I have a few things to share with you:
God’s blessing is not beyond the reach of the poor, nor is it dependent on the generosity of the rich, it has not been withheld from the sick, and it is not departed from the lost or the hurting. In fact, it may be the only good and fair thing that exists in this world, an equal share granted to all; no matter our circumstance, no matter our sickness, no matter our sin, we are each the recipient of God’s full and undivided attention, his blessing, for He is with us. ~ Jamie Wright
I have seen Jamie’s blog floating around in the recommended areas of my blogloving page, disqus, my Facebook feed, and others etc. I visit for awhile now. I just haven’t made it over to look around. If you love snark and sarcasm, you are going to love Jamie and her frankness. Even with that, her words spoke truth in this post. Growing up I spoke the Christianese lingo with ease, as for so many years it was more my native language than even English itself I think. However in the past few years as I have ventured to the fringes and learned from many who did not grow up immersed in church, the Bible, and Christian doctrine — sometimes we have the habit of sounding like a misplaced, cheesy inspirational quote that is out of touch with reality and grates on actual pain and suffering. Faith and following Christ should never be an excuse for insincerity or a gross lack of authenticity, and yet for so many of us in those church walls how often do we put on that mask and say “I am so blessed…” for this reason or that — not daring to let anyone know about the fight we just had with our spouse or family on the way to church or about the doubt or the shame or the fear or the loss quietly storming beyond the surface. I know I have been that person. Jamie reminds us all to think about what we are saying and claiming versus what we are hiding and what we really should be grateful for.
“The spirit of Ham” is not the spirit of a whistleblower; it is the spirit of an abuser.
Turning biblical passages that are supposed to be about supporting the marginalized among us into passages justifying that very marginalization is yet another way abuse survivors are kept at arms’ length. Homeschooling and Christian communities can and must do better than this.~ R. L. Stollar
Homeschooling in a strict, Christian conservative world was such a huge part of my life growing up that I now avidly follow blogs like Homeschoolers Annonymous to know one that I am not alone and two to know how my generation is responding. This post taught me some cultural and contextual information about the story of Ham that I didn’t know. Even more important, I know the damage that silencing or minimizing abuse can cause toward a family, toward an individual, and toward a soul. I know it because my own family has walked our own dark night of the soul on this issue. While some may believe they are protecting the cause of Christ, in reality they are hurting it even worse by not allowing the truth to be spoken. Christ never went with the crowd, he never protected the self-righteous, he never did just what was easy or comfortable or expected of Him. He sought out the unwanted, healed the broken, forgave the adulterer, touched the leper, honored the faith of the unchosen, and brought darkness into the light.
Closing the front door is a risk. It challenges my beliefs. If I say I believe that I am enough and I am loved, will I be loved, even when I don’t show up or risk on behalf of others? Will I still be loved when I don’t give of myself in the way I used to? ~Idellette McVicker
The art of saying no. I have yet to learn how to do this well, speaking as a life long recovering people pleaser. Saying no is often the hardest thing for me, but what I need to do the most. Learning to know how to say I’ve taken on to much, I’m drowning, or I need help are so key, and yet just as hard to admit.
But what about the people we don’t hear about who stood on the sidelines as he walked past, who held themselves on the fringes while he healed people they may have known for years, who didn’t have the boldness to “ask” but wanted to? Who were cynical about what was happening in front of their very eyes but had a little spark deep inside that wondered, “Hmm, I wonder if this is real?” Who doubted, who wondered, who questioned? Who were trying to unclench their fists and receive but weren’t quite sure how?
I think they were devoted, too. Because they were at least in the room. They were there when they could have been somewhere else. They were present. They showed up. ~Kathy Escobar
Instant tears. This post brought instant tears. Tears of a soul desperate to just put into words, what this beautiful woman penned so eloquently.
This fall has given me the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends alike. Part of that has been especially reconnecting with some Grandmother figures in my life, from my mother’s side of the family. I never met my Mother’s mother. She died the day before I was born. It was a beginning and an end.
As I grew up however, my grandmother’s sisters stepped in to fill her space in my life. Spending time with them has been a joy, as I not only learn from their wisdom and life experience, but I feel like I get to connect with and learn about my grandmother all the more as I see her life through the eyes of those who loved her. These women in my life know me well. Without even having to tell them, they know and they see the life I am struggling to learn, grasp, and live. They knew me growing up, they knew my shelteredness, they know what it must be like for me now, and they sense my quiet struggle for faith beneath the surface as I am sure it is always there threatening to spill from my eyes.
Conversations give way to questions, sharing, and more questions. Coming back to America has meant opening up and learning not only how to be honest and share, but also how to listen.
So often I feel like I am always on the verge of a fight. Just let one person say something hurtful, derrogatory, insensitive, or politically incorrect on any issue that I have learned to change on and care about and suddenly I want to throw down. Let anyone bring up a subject and start to share something I disagree with, and I find myself more often than not wanting to throw out every logical, intellectual, and emotional tool I have in the box to make anyone seemingly uncaring enough realize just how much I now know about their wrongness. Christians especially, I sit on edge around, and find myself jumping to say something and then clamp it back, choking and humbled only to realize that I hear myself and see myself from years gone by. Why am I always ready to give those I like to hear from repeated grace and understanding, but anyone who sounds remotely like that person of my past I struggle to not be ashamed of I want to spend more time correcting them or somehow delegitimizing them? How quickly I forget that we all have experiences and stories, both told and untold that shape our perspectives, our thoughts, our beliefs.
If I want people to see and recognize the value of where I am at in my faith journey, broken and doubting though it may be, I have to be willing to extend the same grace to others. I want them to see me as being as real and honest as I know how to be — that I want to have a faith that is tangible, that is honest, that is authentic, and never again just produced from a routine I don’t know anything different from. That no I may not be that front row sitter and vocal church women’s and youth ministry leader that for so long I was, and yes I may have lots of doubts, may be changing my beliefs or reconsidering others, and learning from different theologians perspectives — but I still haven’t given up on God or Christianity. I may not view Christianity ever the same again, I may never articulate what some believe to be foundational doctrines to Christianity the same anymore, I may forever turn into a fringe member — but I am still here. There is something about Christ, His life, His message, and my lifetime of experiences with Him that no amount of doubt or questions on my part has enabled me to forget or ignore. Yes I am fighting. Yes I doubt. Yes on days I question if I will ever feel at peace with it all again. Yes I am learning and changing and will again. But as one of these women in my life reminded me — this means I am growing. This means for today, I am just choosing to show up.
I hope you all enjoy these posts as much as I did. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
- What are your christianize pet peeves?
- What does being blessed really mean to you?
- Do you have a hard time saying no? What are some ways you have learned to prioritize what you need to do, versus what you can say no to?
- How are you open in your life spiritually? How can we recognize others around us that might be hanging on to the last shred of hope for maintaining a relationship?