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Assuming the Worst (and yet…)

October 19, 2016

The nation votes soon. I hope to vote very soon. Possibly tomorrow. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what will happen in North Carolina or the nation at large. I also don’t know why anyone would consider voting for the person running against the person I’m voting for. I mean, I know a couple of things, but I truly do not understand why anyone in their right mind would consider voting for the opponent.

What scares me, more than anything, is that depending on where you stand, this statement is true for persons from either major party. We each want to say that the other is incredibly unreasonable and that we are right, even though the person we support is flawed, and that their opponent is utterly untrustworthy and cannot be considered fit to lead.

Is this where we have come to? Is this democracy at its finest?

Who do we trust so deeply to believe that our opponent is beyond hope?

But we do it. We shout and cry and plead and applaud our own candidate while defaming and condemning the opponent.

I’ve come to the point where I both believe that this election is vitally important and yet I also believe that my final hope cannot be founded in the government.

The world will stand and continue to turn no matter who is elected.

I will continue to disagree with our president whoever becomes our next president.

My ultimate ruler is not my president, my ultimate ruler is Christ.

I believe that Christ grieves over the hate filled speech that has overrun our democratic dialogue. Not because Christ is a part of a political party, but because Christ grieves with those who grieve, and Christ weeps when we fight against and hate each other.

And I don’t know what is in the hearts of those around me who happen to disagree with me. I don’t know what roads they have travelled to get to where they are. We’ve stopped listening to each other. We’ve begun to assume that if you support the other camp that you have become the very worst that the particular camp represents.

We assume the worst and take credit for the best.

No wonder we disagree.

Now, yes, I support one particular person who is running for president. I voted for them in the primary and I will vote for them again. But I don’t believe they are the solution to every problem that plagues our country. They won’t be able to do it if they remain in office for eight years! And it is not that the congress is divided or that red tape gets in the way. It’s because much of what is broken with our system needs attention from those of us nearest to the issues. we are on the ground, and we have the responsibility to respond to the needs of the community around us, not wait for DC to get it’s act together.

I think the church has some stepping up to do. We need to begin with conversation, especially with those who think differently than we do. And the listening is vital.

Love Is

September 21, 2016

love is

love is letting your daughter play in the waves.

love is holding your granddaughter while your daughter watches for her favorite animal in the whole world.

love is holding a strawberry half while the other is smeared on your legs.

love is letting your daughter stay with you while her husband is away so that the one year old doesn’t wear us all out.

love is…

love is being heartbroken over the news.

love is standing with those who are hurting.

love is choosing your words wisely.

love is letting your actions speak louder than your words.

love is finding actions that can speak.

love is working to bring peace.

love is…

love is reaching out, not shutting off

love is taking risks.

love is stretching past boundaries and breaking down walls.

love is being uncomfortable

love is.

if God is love, then Love is: past, present, and future.

Love is. Love has been. Love will be.

love is stronger than I can be under my own strength.

love is hard.

love is strong.

love is tender.

love is difficult.

love is powerful.

love is.

love is all that some people have left.

love is the only thing that some people are missing.

love is bigger than any of us can imagine.

love is more intimate than anything else in the universe.

love is what we need to heal.

love is what shows us what is broken.

love is what we hunger for.

Love is.

Sailboat Church

September 13, 2016

Properly using and utilizing metaphors is incredibly important when changes are happening. Changes are happening in my denomination and though we really don’t know what is going to happen, as we move forward, precise language is vital.

I recently was present for a conversation about the future of the church and thought that perhaps there might be a different way to look at things than the speaker was presenting. so I wrote this reflection offering an alternative.

The blog where it is posted contributes to the conversation about the moves of the church, where I hope to contribute fruitful dialogue. Go check them out!

Still Moving

August 23, 2016

one of the most important prayer actions that I have ever taken up is the act of being still. I enter into my time of centering prayer, and I become motionless. my mind quiets. thoughts become gentler. my body is given over to God. I open up to whatever God has for me at that moment. Sometimes it is nothingness. and I am still.

Oddly, in my time of motionlessness, sometimes I feel my hands or body shift. they grow larger or smaller in my sense of them. my sensation moves, even when I know that my body is not moving.

While centering, I’m really not supposed to pay much attention to it since even that is something that I turn over to God in my prayer, but it is odd. I probably need to read The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila again, to see if this is what she was trying to describe. I wonder where else my mind can move while my body remains still.

it’s odd, isn’t it, that our contemplative action is usually centered on the idea of stillness being peace. is there peace in movement? we beseech those who are dead to lie in peace, because they have ceased moving. is there a reason that they would not have peace?

we tend to hear peace and stillness in the same intent. but I wonder if they are always suited for each other.

in some times, peace requires movement, action, changes. it is the very act of no one moving that means that peace is nonexistent. moving becomes crucial to survival.

we cannot tell those who are in syria that if they just stay where they are that they will be at peace. there is no peace where they are and they must move.

and we need to move and change in order to help them. we have to shift what we have in order that they can find some peace.

when God moves, I want to move with God.

when I am centering, my body doesn’t move. but my heart continues to pump blood through my veins, my lungs cycle air over and over again, and I am not really still. but I am at peace.

The In Between

August 19, 2016

I’m having a hard time seeing the image of God in folks these days. Rather. I’m neglecting to look for it. I’m not really seeing many people, actually. I’m seeing tweets and Facebook updates and news headlines and an amalgamation of what serves as entertainment. These snippets of people, either the best of them or the absolute worst of them (and really, it depends who you talk to as to which is which), are not their full embodiment. There is more to the story. There is more to the narrative. There is more to us than our lies or our successes. There is everything in between.

I’m having a hard time finding the in between.

The in between isn’t very exciting. It’s the part that gets left out of the novel. The only time you see a bathroom in a movie is when the heroine is checking her pregnancy test result. There’s no suspense in vacuuming a house. Cleaning up after dinner is boring.

Even the fun stuff is mundane. I love my daughter’s giggles, but I don’t need to tell you each time she does it. I don’t want to tell you about every time my husband and I have a conversation after which one of us needs to apologize for a hasty word. (usually I need to apologize.)

But it is the in between parts that make us human. I’m not seeing many people in their humanity these days. I also do not feel seen in my own humanity. I don’t participate in a community in which I can be wholly myself, and so I feel pieced together. not whole. Scattered among my various support networks, are pieces of me, parts where I celebrate and exult. but not all of me. Not all at once.

And sure, some of this is because I am finding a new reality in staying at home and taking on the mantle of full-time motherhood. Some of it is because I have been working over the last eight years for the church and towards the church and now I’ve reached a place of not yet. Some of it is utter disgust at the current political climate and the ease at which I can say that those who support the candidate I don’t like are wrong on all points. More than a little bit of it is exactly that.

But I’m worried that I am not seeing the whole person behind someone’s statement. A person, with all their history and narrative and emotions and struggles and difficulties cannot be distilled down into a headline or a tweet.

I need reminders to look for the humanity of those around me. I need reminders to look for the image of God. I know it’s there. Sometimes I refuse to see it because it makes my life easier. But easy is not always holy.