Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"These are the Good Old Days"

I was super excited when I saw one of my favorite quotes on the wall of one of my favorite leaders: Brene Brown.  Locals may have also seen it at the lovely Freckled Hen Farmhouse:

"These are the good old days." 

Chalk it up to being an enneagram 4, but I am one of the most sentimental, nostalgia-loving people you will ever meet. My whole business is a nod to the past.  I have been deep-diving into the past to find meaning for my entire life.  I guess that makes me hyper-aware of the pitfalls of this orientation to life as well.  From the illusion of the simplicity of Amish living to the political mantra of MAGA devotees, an unobserved affinity to the past can be downright dangerous.

We were made to live in the present.  I can make such a sweeping statement based on the obvious. We have no control over the past. And only what we do in the present can create an affect on the future. We are stuck in the here and now.

Which leads me to another favorite quote, from Wolfhart Pannenberg:

"God is the power of the future." 

This statement fills me with hope. Because many people are afraid of the future.  Some are afraid of what the world looks like if climate change is not addressed. And some are afraid they won't be able to convince the ones they love to follow Jesus and get into heaven.  Still others fear what their lives will look like if other people that don't look like them get to move close to them and make choices that affect them.

Not much good has ever been accomplished by leveraging fear.  Golden calves have been erected. Millions of humans exterminated.  It gets incredibly difficult to differentiate between hate and fear; they are very different but they look incredibly similar.  Without practical plans to face the future with faith and love, humans can do some terrible things.

It is my goal to speak and lead from the confidence of God's perspective, not from my nostalgia or my fear. I don't know who you have selected to be your leaders in how you think and make decisions for yourself, but I would like to suggest that they should be people who are interested in taking you forward, not back.  Fear is not your holiest motivation.  Over and over again God communicated to humans to not be afraid.  Because God is not afraid.  God is the power of the future.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

An Ash Wednesday Reflection

As the cross is formed in ashes over your head, we say the words 
"From dust you came, to dust you will return."  
Ash Wednesday is an invitation to remember that life is unpredictable, 
but it has a definite start and a definite end -
which lends the middle meaning it would not have otherwise.   

It's easy to get caught up in the dust part of things, 
the everyday responsibilities and goals we create for ourselves, 
and to lose awareness of the Source of our being.  

We are made of dust, but we were made by God.  
In God, "we live and move and have our being." 
So as we observe Lent, let us also observe ourselves.  
Let us take notice of how we have forgotten our connection with God, 
how we have numbed ourselves from feeling God's love, 
and how we have covered ourselves in leaves of shame for not being enough.  

May this be a time to re-connect yourself to Gods love and care for you, 
to let go of habits and tendencies that deaden your spirit 
and be set free to live a life of connection and intimacy with 
the One who knows you best. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Good News for All People

I came across this image from Emily McDowell in my Instagram feed and as usual, was struck by her ability to communicate with honesty and depth (and frequently, humor) what we feel as humans.

"We partnered with @OptionB last year to create a series of shareable images to help support those of us who are experiencing some seriously un-merry things during the holidays. This one is my personal favorite, which was written by the talented and beautiful @karichapin."
I happened to be sitting next to my husband at the time and I found myself utilized the fancy new "share" options in instagram to send it to him via messenger.  

As is typical of him, he didn't really say anything about it, but I found myself turning to him, "You know, girls send these kinds of things to one another on a regular basis to encourage one another.  It occurred to me that guys don't probably do that as much."  He laughed. 

It was during this past year that I heard a line in a podcast that profoundly affected my inner world.  It's no secret that I am a fan of the Robcast with my friend Rob Bell, and being on the podcast with him a little more than a year ago opened up windows in my soul that I am still profoundly grateful for. It is a gift to be seen and witnessed by another human being and Rob is so very good at that.  But it was his wife Kristen that cracked me open in a profound way during their anniversary podcast "The 2 - 4"  She mentioned that growing up in fundamental/evangelical circles  made her believe that "men made better decisions."   A shattering glass sound went off in my mind when I heard that line as I realized that deep in my bones, I had internalized that message as well.  For my whole life, I had invested in the idea that whatever decision I wanted to make, a man would always make it better than I could.  I was invested in my own frailty, my unreliability, my less-ness in a way that had handicapped me.  It wasn't until I heard the words come out of her mouth that I knew that had been the guideline I had been unconsciously submitting to for my whole life.  And once I realized that fence was there, I began testing it and tearing it down.  

It was a treasured moment in my year when I spoke to my church as a panel member about how we as a church could and should respond to the "Me Too" movement and I told them about this fence in my mind.  Because we are a safe space, I could say colorfully, "I believed that having a penis somehow made you a better decision-maker."  And I mentally recorded the men in my congregation laughing with me.  In that moment, I saw them as my sheep and me as their shepherd, with compassion instead of insecurity and crippling self-doubt. 

It is wildly important to find your voice, to bravely become who you are.  And women are doing this work in such valuable ways right now.  I am always ready to rejoice with the accomplishments of my sisters.  But I am also waking up to the profound opportunity that lies before us that this good news of becoming who you are is for all people.  For too long, we have allowed men to take the lead in ways that they are not prepared for, not wired for, not equipped for.  We have pushed them to be "spiritual leaders" shushing our own voices and leaving them vulnerable to failure that comes from not seeing all sides. We haven't invited them to the world of nurturing themselves and their friendships.  We've left patriarchy in place and left half the population without the support they actually need to become better humans.   

Listen, I'm as feminist as can be.  Women still deserve so much more than they are getting.  But the best of us don't want to rise at the expense of anyone else.  We want everyone to get what they need.  And sometimes, we need to share an invitation to vulnerability and strength with the men in our lives.  We need to share good news with everyone. So send a meme.  Send a card.  Send a text.  Take the lead instead of quieting yourself and be an equal partner.  They don't know what they are doing any more than you do.  Do them the kindness of recognizing that.   

And while we are at it, maybe take everyone down from lonely pedestals.  Your political representatives don't know what they are doing and aren't magically equipped for their jobs.  Your pastor isn't bulletproof.  Your doctor has bad days and is being pushed to make quick decisions.  Whoever you are shoving forward, thinking they are just more super-human than you, stop it.  We need to create a world where people can say "I don't know" more often so we can all say, "Let's work together to make it better."    

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