Sometimes Church Be Like...

Sometimes on Sundays I ditch church and walk in the park. I have convinced myself that God blesses it because I so appreciate His creation when I’m out in it. This great blue heron let me get about 8 feet from it and it didn’t fly away. Confirmation if I’ve ever seen it that He was good with my occasional departure from the traditional expression of church.

For the last couple of weeks I have been walking with a rock in my shoe. You may be asking why…and I do have an uninspiring but honest answer.

When I first set out on my walk, I didn’t feel the rock. When I was far enough into my target heart rate, etc. it would make its presence known (BTW I’m just kidding about the target heart rate…I’m really not that serious about my exercise program. In fact calling it an exercise program is a bit of a stretch. Basically it’s about getting to 10,000 steps on my Fitbit). Anyhow it was just enough pain to make me uncomfortable and aware but not enough to stop, take off my shoe, and shake it out. And then miraculously by the time I got home the rock had shifted enough that I didn’t feel it anymore so I would forget about it. Until next time, halfway through, and then I would silently swear to myself “IDIOT!! Gah!!” But again, I wouldn’t stop and shake it out of my shoe.

So I started to spiritualize it. I wonder if God is trying to remind me of something. Maybe it was the proverbial thorn in my side, to remind me that His grace is sufficient? Probably not, I thought. Just a stupid rock in my shoe, my laziness in the moment, and my lack of foresight before the next walk. I really am an idiot.

I have always thought that contentment was a virtue (please read my previous post about Positivity). Truly wanting what you have. And I do, and I am for the most part. But the rock in my shoe, in weird ways, did remind me that the opposite of contentment is dissatisfaction. And that’s not always a bad thing. That there’s a fine line between being content with the things we have and complacency. Are we sometimes supposed to yearn for things that we, and others, don’t have?

Sometimes when we’re not satisfied it’s a reason to investigate, an invitation to grow. And today I realized that there are many things that I’m NOT content with. That I hate, actually. To name a few (in no particular order): racism, homophobia, homelessness, cancer, broken hearts, the torture of mental illness, infertility, this presidential election, how hard it is sometimes to get to 10,000 steps, and lima beans. I can’t do anything about the lima beans (except maybe exposure therapy but I’m not really that passionate about the limas). But I can speak out against racism and homophobia (real and assumed). I can sit with those that have broken hearts or cancer. I can empathize with those that are undergoing infertility treatment because I’ve been there. I can vote, even if I don’t love the person I’m voting for. To choose not to be complacent with the state of this world and vote for someone that at least holds most of my values.

I was at a memorial service last week for a very young man who was tragically killed in a car accident, when his wife was finally pregnant after years of infertility. When they had followed God’s call to move far away from family and friends. People that spoke of him and his love for Jesus painted an amazing picture of love and community. But you know who really stole the show? His widow. The mother of his child that he didn’t get to meet. She asked everyone in the room to truly hear about him and what he chose, and to not leave unchanged. To know the story and the life of her husband and how he lived and loved, and to be forever different because of it.

So, how do I walk the line between content and enough discontent to not settle for a life unchanged by the circumstances around me? Ask God to change me to be the kind of person that leaves a mark in this world. To be a better wife, mom, grandma...a better person. To be aware of other people’s pain. To know when we’ve gone beyond contentment into complacency. To remind me of the many dire circumstances of this world by giving me a heart for things that are messed up. Even if it means walking a few miles with a rock in my shoe.


People. My heart hurts. It hurts because I see my friends beating the crap out of each other on social media. I have friends that are Christian and are celebrating the Supreme Court decision because they love people that are part of the LGBT community. I have friends that don’t support it because what they believe about being a Christian tells them that they can and should love…but not condone.

Both groups are passionate in what they believe about Jesus. That he came for love. That he died for love. That he WAS and IS love. But what is happening between these two peoples is not loving, at least from what I can see. I have seen more than one person post “Christians are spewing hate” or things of that nature about the decision. What I have seen are people that are in disagreement and being perceived as haters, on both sides. If you don’t celebrate the decision you must hate gay people. And if that’s your position, as a supporter of LGBT, you may hate Christians.

You know what I DO know? That hate is winning. Friends of mine, people who know each other and used to love each other, work together and believe in the same things, are now passionate about their anger of each other if they disagree with them.” If you don’t agree with me I’ll unfriend you faster than you can say #Ishouldhavetoldyoumylovewasconditionalonwhetherornotweagree”. I see how easily love can turn to hate. I LOVE YOU!! (as long as we’re on the same page)

I think I can say with certainty that Jesus doesn’t hate gay people. Nor is he embarrassed that Christians are speaking up about what they believe to be true about himself and the Bible. And until we can come to a place of grace and understanding about each other's differences, and be able to still love each other, we’re doomed. Social media has given us a place to “vent “with our ugly words of judgment and condemnation on both sides…and it’s definitely not helpful in teaching us to love one another. This issue may very well be the veritable straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back for some people, because of the perceived anonymity of social media we are “brave” enough to say what we think to the masses. My conclusion: We will either learn to listen to and tolerate each other's differing opinions, passions, and convictions, with grace, or no longer be friends.

My heart hurts.

Real. Simple.

This was supposed to be my post from Wednesday. We had an amazing staff meeting that was like a mini worship service, small and intimate. Thien and Keri on acoustic guitars and Andrew on the cajon. We sang hymns and it was simple and beautiful. It brought me to tears, and I felt a stirring to write about it that day.

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