When Emily Dickinson Puts You In Your Place

On Monday I had the pleasure of attending a talk hosted by the Forest Hills branch of the San Antonio Library with guest Dr. Glenn Hughes — newly appointed 1st Chair in Catholic Philosophy at St. Mary’s — on the topic of “Emily Dickinson and Spirituality”.

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I really enjoyed the discussion at this event. I vaguely remembered her poems from high school and some college but I had been recently re-reading some of her work in honor of National Poetry Month. What struck me about Dickinson was her capacity to be authentic. She was true to herself, even when that self was so very conflicted. She is so transparent in her writing because it was hers and hers alone. I’m not sure what she would think about the fact that the whole world is reading some of her most private thoughts that she never intended to see published. Nonetheless,  I’m glad we have them for our sake.

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I feel like I can relate to some of her motivations in writing and even some of her lifestyle choices. Dickinson is traditionally typed as an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As a fellow INFJ,  I can see the appeal of living what appears to be the life of a recluse even though the 1800 plus poems that she crafted in her space hardly speaks of the pigeon holed “spinster” that we have made her out to be. She was doing her life’s work in that room. She was someone that lived in her head and that is evident in much of her writing that wrestles with the idea of eternity.

What I love about her work is the humanity of it all. She is so effortlessly genuine, albeit messy at times. She seeks to appease no one. She is on a mission for understanding and she needs to write it out in order to come to find her resolve. It is no wonder that scholars have compared her writings to Job of the bible as he wrestled with God.

Dickinson was no stranger to what St. John of the cross refers to as the “dark night of the soul”.

I’m banished – now – you know it
How foreign that can be –
You’ll know – Sir – when the Savior’s face
Turns so – away from you –

Even in her doubt, she did not hide her contempt for those who utterly disregarded the divine.

How much the present moment means
To those who’ve nothing more —
The Fop — the Carp — the Atheist —
[…]
While their commuted Feet
The Torrents of Eternity
Do all but inundate —

Throughout the ebb and flow of this inner turmoil of questioning and seeking, she can’t seem to abandon her notion of the divine, as mysterious as it is to her.

I know that He exists.
Somewhere – in silence –
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes.

One of the themes that was discussed was Dickinson’s bravery in how she expressed herself. Even today in 2016 we see people at the opposite ends of two extremes when it comes to faith. You can either ignore the nagging questions, add more activity and “take it by faith” or you can throw your faith away, become jaded and rely solely on science, logic, and reason. But why not both? The bravery that we see in Dickinson is that she doesn’t give up the struggle for an easy “I’ll hang my hat on that” ending. She doesn’t care about being contradictory in her writing. She cares about finding the truth.

I dwell in Possibility

As a Christian, I try to err on the side of hope. I do have moments when I can feel jaded and skeptical, and that’s ok. Emily puts us in our place. Her writing seems to cry out, “never stop searching and don’t be afraid”. Let’s get messy! Let’s not be afraid to have a “taboo” conversation that may or *gasp* may not have a resolution! Don’t be afraid of your questions or doubts. Let them provoke you! I wish I knew what Emily’s last conclusions were when she died. All anyone can know for sure is that she never stopped having the conversation. She never stopped seeking. I think that is the greatest lesson she can teach us — greater than any eloquence or masterpiece her arrangement of words to the page may prove to be.

Life, theology, and faith are not always precise, color coded and by the book.

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
 .
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, don’t know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
 .
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
.
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
.
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

Sometimes you can’t be a Paul. Sometimes you need to be a  Job.

♥ MM


The One Where I Found Tall Man, or The Misadventures of a Tipless Finger

Almost 4 months ago I had a freak incident where my right middle finger was slammed in the bathroom door and the fingertip was severed clean off at the cuticle. It was a pretty traumatizing experience for me. Today my fingertip is mostly healed, so I would like to reflect on what the past few months have been like.

The ER is never fun whether it’s a fever that won’t go away or, you know a SEVERED FINGERTIP.

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I spared FB with my ER pics.

Not so here.

This is your last chance to look away.

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When it first happened I didn’t even realize my finger tip was gone. I was in shock at the pain and looked down and noticed it was gone. Still in the door. I retrieved it and somehow managed to text this to my husband who was at work to take me to the hospital (no the pic isn’t upside down the bottom part was my cuticle).

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After they soaked my hand in “monkey’s blood”.
Yes, I did take the tip with me to the ER.
In a Bowl.
On Ice.
Turns out fixing a finger tip is a little more complex then sewing a button back onto a shirt.
For shame.

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Post Vicodin (obviously).

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Christmas was the worst. Do you know how hard it is to wrap and unwrap presents with a hurty digit? On a more serious note, my grandfather passed away 8 days after my incident, on Christmas Eve, no less. It is so bizarre having to cope with physical pain and emotional pain at the same time.

Even though I am left handed,  I started to realize how much I truly have acclimated to using my right hand for most things aside from writing. At one point I actually started making a list of all the things that were near impossible since the incident but stopped around 11 because it was too depressing after a while. Here’s a sample.

  1. Opening a medicine bottle
  2. Opening an envelope
  3. Changing a diaper (the whole bathroom situation, really)
  4. Using a credit card reader
  5. Turning over the ignition switch
  6. Typing (10-keys were especially annoying)
  7. Showering (especially bathing my kid)
  8. Strapping in a car-seat
  9. Clapping
  10. Handshakes and Hi-fives
  11. Snapping your fingers

Funny thing, those last three.

In January I got the urge to snap my fingers when “Baby It’s You” suddenly got stuck in my head. It was incredibly annoying. Who doesn’t snap to that song? Seriously?

Then the whole church situation had me like…

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for a good while.

You never truly realize how much touching is involved in a church service until it becomes (literally) painfully awkward to do so. Handshakes, high fives, shoulder pats, corporately shaking you’re neighbor awake (I kid you not) before during and post service really get you thinking “Should we be touching this much in church?” and also “Am I buying enough hand-sanitizer?”

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I never really thought twice about clapping my hands in church until it hurt. I found myself compensating by trying to be extra smiley during worship because we all now that clapping hands and jumping around means you’re realllly worshiping (sarcasm, ha!)

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I couldn’t end this update without including some of the interesting dialogue from my husband who was completely supportive, loving and understanding through this whole healing process. My husband is also hilarious and is great at making connections with illustrations. So I wanted to share three comparisons that were mostly meant to make me feel better, but made me laugh instead.

When the incident first happened and we were driving home from the hospital, Angel says, “Hey Toni Iommi lost his fingers and it didn’t stop him from playing guitar! You can just put a thimble over your finger.”

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One day I was asking Angel for the car keys and he tossed them to me from across the room and I caught them with my left hand. Even though I am left handed, I typically only use my left hand for writing, so it doesn’t come naturally for me to throw or catch with that hand. Surprised at my reflexes Angel said, “Hey, maybe now that you can’t use your right hand you will be like daredevil and your left hand will compensate for you.”

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And more recently after I was mostly healed, my husband was like “Oh man I totally forgot about Frodo!!” Ironically I had my own little Gollum slam the door on my finger.

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The human body is an amazing thing. The doctor told me that it was unlikely my nail would ever grow back because my nail-bed was completely severed. During the healing process my nail-bed somehow shifted down my finger and today the entire nail has grown back. I still have nerve damage and dull pain from time to time but I have regained most use. We had a brief dumpster-side ceremony to say goodbye to my dearly departed digit. Seems silly, but in a way, a literal part of me died that day and it just didn’t seem right to not say goodbye.

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Welcome back, Tall Man.

♥ MM


5 Things I Learned During My Spring Break In Nebraska

This Spring Break I took a week long road trip with my mom and my son from here in San Antonio, TX all the way to the teeny tiny town of West Point, Nebraska to visit with some of our extended family. Even though this was a leisure trip there were some teachable moments. Other than the limits of a 4 year old riding in a car, I did learn a thing or two about a thing or two.

1. Boys Don’t Have Long Hair

Gender stereotypes are not only biased towards girls. Apparently once you pass Austin, TX all boys are expected to have nicely groomed crew cuts that are June Cleaver approved.

 

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Matthias James, my long-haired love

I kid you not, every state north of TX someone assumed that Matthias was a girl just because of his hair, which is barely shoulder length (I’m guessing his full eyelashes didn’t help his case much either).

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On our first day in West Point I was hauling a truck carrying, dirt covered, skin kneed boy home from the park (how stereotypically male, right?) and someone asked if “she” was exhausted from dance class. Sometimes you just have to laugh.

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2. Ice Machines

You will regret not going trigger happy on hotel ice machines. As a kid, my dad would compete out of state in power-lifting meets pretty frequently and my sister and I liked to tag along. Our on the road traditions were Gatorade and all the hotel ice we could muster. On this trip I passed the ice machines on the way to our hotel room (at both hotels we stayed at) with that look of longing in my eyes, but I didn’t take advantage of their frozen magic. I won’t be making that mistake again.

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3. All The Freebies

You will go klepto on all things complimentary. If you think you won’t, you are only fooling yourself. In fact, you will end up using double extra hotel shampoo, conditioner, and soap to try and make yourself believe that you won’t go Gollum on the cute little toiletries. I have been home for over a week and I am still using the adorable paper coffee cups that were in our room. Awww.

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4. Hugs & Kisses & Pie {Oh My!}

On a more serious note, this trip did teach me some real life lessons. My grandfather passed away this past Christmas Eve unexpectedly in a work related accident. I was not able to come up for the funeral and hadn’t really gotten closure (not that you really can when you lose someone you love). But one of the things that my Grandma kept saying when we were spending time together remembering my Grandpa was how she would give anything for just one more hug, one more kiss.

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When my Grandpa would leave for work, hugs and kisses were their morning departure ritual. On the morning of the accident she said that he was going to leave for work and then came back in the house because he forgot something. There was a moment where he looked back before he left where my Grandmother recalls and just wishes she could go back and get that one last kiss.

On my visit I found out that my Grandma is a bit of a stockpiler as far as couponing and groceries go. It’s a small town so you have to get the deals when they are hot. In her pantry sat a can of apricot pie filling. She said that she bought it with Grandpa in mind since apricot was right up there with rhubarb as his favorites.

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She never did get to make him that pie.
We ate the pie in his memory.

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The lesson here is that you need to hug and kiss the one you love at every opportunity and when in doubt, eat dessert first and often (and you can’t go wrong with pie).

5. The “Good Old Days” Are Overrated

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Everyone likes to reminisce and think back to the “good old days” at least every once in a while. Especially in a relationship when things start to get stagnant sometimes we get tempted to compare ourselves to other couples and resign to the “grass is greener” mentality.

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The grass is greenest where it is watered. -Robert Fulghum

It’s undeniable that my grandma married an exceptional man. Even so, no one is perfect, no relationship is either. In our visit she was talking about how it was actually their more recent years before his passing that were their best years.

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People always want to glorify what once was and revel in memories past, but all my Grandma wanted was more of the present.

Live Free.
Live for today and don’t look back.
Love and hold nothing back.

♥ MM


Daughters of Eve, You Get To Be Free!

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I usually share this graphic at Christmastime (which you can buy here) however, I found it appropriate today as we reflect on the present reality of our Risen Lord. Here we see Eve being comforted by Mary (preggo with Jesus). This is such a powerful image. I especially love the fact that Mary is crushing the serpent with her feet.

Here stands Eve.

Naked.

Feeling the sting of shame,
the costly burden of the fall.
Where sin is the chain and patriarchy is the ball.

Enter Mary.

Consolation.

Whose womb did contain,
the answer to sin, the cure for pain.
Baby boy, born to die.
Setting us free was His Holy design.

Today there are plenty of “daughters of Eve” downtrodden even in the wake of the resurrection. Jesus lived a life of radical humility. He challenged the status quo and went against the cultural grain. His life was spent on the least of these, the ones that the world loves to hate. Lifting the lowly from the mire and the muck is what He is famous for. His death broke the curse of sin and death which includes the curse of patriarchy over women.

It is so fitting that the first commissioning of the Risen Lord was to the women at the tomb to “Go and Tell”. How sad is it that our modern church culture would stifle those who he called. Even in 2016 there is work to be done that Jesus already paved a way for and obstacles to overcome that were already won by the victory of the Cross.

This Resurrection Sunday, let’s agree with Jesus that we ALL get to live free.

♥ MM

 


The One About Coming Out as Egalitarian

When I think about “coming out” as an Egalitarian I think about Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

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“It came without ribbons.

It came without tags.

It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

There were no bells. There were no whistles. I did not shout to the rooftops the praises of my righteously indignant people.  Much to my chagrin a booming light did not descend from heaven in Morgan Freeman-esque fashion to affirm my newfound revelation. Just a sober “Yes.” A deep breath of apprehensive relief, nervous hope — knowing I could never go back to being complacent about full gender equality. I would never be the same.

A year ago my world completely turned upside down and none was the wiser. I saw everyone around me going about their lives as if nothing happened. If you have ever read a spectacular work of fiction that has changed the core of your being then you get where I am coming from.

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Even though everything inside of me was newly liberated and screaming a love song, I felt at a loss toward the world around me. Even though embracing egalitarianism was not as great a leap for me growing up in the Assemblies of God as it was for some of my ex-complementarian friends, I had a moment of clarity, like seeing with brand new eyes.

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Unbeknownst to me at the time, my egalitarian journey actually started a long time ago. For me it was on a summer morning in 2002. I was having a candid conversation with a friend at the Summer discipleship program at my church. Even at 13 I knew something was not quite right with how us teenage girls were indoctrinated to view “our place” as women.

How is it that during the fancy-free Summer that two bubbly girls can talk optimistically about our futures in ministry just short of approaching the elephant in the room? I never realized the thinking aloud musings of a 13 year old girl would come to a halt at the mention of the taboo title of “pastor”.

Like the scratching of a needle on vinyl, the raising of my friend’s eyebrow followed up by “Don’t you mean pastor’s wife?” was the moment the scales fell from my eyes and I was heartbroken, seeing for the first time that gender would even be an issue among Christians (of all people).

That was the first time I really gave a second thought to gender being of any importance in the church. Sure, there were small sign posts along the way that brought to my attention that this issue was not the side issue that many make it out to be, but it wasn’t until I was engaged to my husband, Angel that I really started seeking out the scriptures on this matter.

Growing up AG I never questioned a woman’s authority in the church because I was surrounded by women in leadership positions. I did, however, begin to realize that I had subconsciously went along with some complementarian ideas on gender roles inside the home that I now see were the launching pads of abusive situations that I had found myself in years earlier. Furthermore, the self-concept that I had through the lens of these complementarian ideas led me to believe very false things about myself as a woman. I used to think I was broken because I didn’t fit that dainty, docile mold.

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I can’t imagine the brokenness my life would be in if I didn’t challenge these false beliefs on gender. Falling into egalitarianism was like drifting into a whirlwind romance that caught me completely by surprise. Probably because being centered as an egalitarian Christian is to fall into the arms of Jesus, agreeing with Him that you are who He says you are.

I only wish I was brave enough to make my case public when I was in the glow of my “aha” moment with Jesus. My personal theme for 2016 is to Live Free. My hope is that anyone reading this that feels the weight of bondage from the chains of complementarianism and gender stereotypes would break free and cling to who Jesus says you are.

♥ MM

Some great places to start are:

Christians for Biblical Equality

The Junia Project

I found this this link especially helpful.

Marg’s Blog

www.jorymicah.com

 

 


I Was a Cookie Cutter Conservative or, The Trouble with Looking Outside of Your Christian Bubble

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On this Super Tuesday tensions were high as 13 more states rushed to the polls to make their vote heard for the 2016 race to the white house. Today I have been reflecting on my past political self living inside of the Christian bubble in hopes that my Christian brothers and sisters do not make some of the same mistakes or judgements I have made — all in the name of Jesus, of course.

Hello.
My name is Amanda and I am a recovering conservative.

Let me explain what I mean. If you now or have ever considered yourself a part of the Evangelical Christian community or tradition there are probably very specific images that come to mind when you hear the words “conservative”, “right-wing”, “republican”. And they probably make you feel warm and happy inside.

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Now close your eyes and think about the words “progressive”, “left-wing”, “democrat”. As someone deeply immersed into evangelicalism in the bible belt, a very different picture probably comes to mind, complete with flames and pitchforks.

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It’s true.

I suppose that you could say that it goes both ways on either side, but I just want to tell my story. Growing up in the church even at a very young age, when it comes to politics there are really only two issues that will be consistent pulpit fodder: abortion and the “sanctity” of marriage. At each stage of my evangelical experience the “Pro-Life” cause resonated deeply with me and reverberated from the core of my being. I was devoted. From holding Rock for Life signs on the side of the highway at 9 years old to being deeply invested in my local Bound 4 Life chapter at 19, all the way through college I was known as that “Pro-Life” girl.

Almost to a fault. As early as middle school I had friendships sour over political discourse. I was so black and white on issues that I wouldn’t ever entertain a grey area because everything I ever heard from the pulpit was life or death. No need to investigate further. You may as well be on trial for any stance that wasn’t red. Even when I went off to bible college we were told to “vote our conscience” and to “choose life” since it was a conflict of interest to come right out with an endorsement of a party. Teetering on the edge of blue was taboo and I soon found myself go so far as to even question the salvation of friends who were more moderate. *Spoiler Alert* There was definitely no eternal hope for my friends who were self-proclaimed bleeding heart liberals. When an organization you respect is cheered for mottos like “You can’t be a Democrat AND a Christian”, it’s easy to become a pious ass.

It’s easy to run wild with these two issues when you don’t look outside your comfortable Christian bubble. Before I go on, I do want to be clear on something. Although I no longer consider myself Conservative, I hold fast to the idea of personhood and for me, that will never change. This is where the distinction needs to be made between Pro-Choice and Pro-Abortion because you can be Anti-Abortion and still be Pro-Choice. This is where my liberal friends may disagree with me, and I am ok with that. I believe that abortion is murder and will always be murder, regardless of the circumstance. 

In defense of the conservative “Pro-Life” movement, I will say this… In my 15 years being involved with multiple anti-abortion organizations and events that I have been a part of, including “sieging” outside of abortion clinics and participating in solidarity events, don’t believe the hype. The media wants to portray these individuals as hateful zealots towards these women. I know it exists out there, but every single person that I know personally who invests their life into this cause would lay their lives down for these women. “It’s not a protest, it’s a prayer meeting.” is the motto of the organization Bound 4 Life, and I think that the distinction between prayer and legislation is where the political right gets it so very wrong. The legislation on abortion is irrelevant when conservatives do nothing to change the outcome of these women, and in fact hinder them from getting the support that they need.

From a Christian perspective, it is lunacy to think that legislation will change the actions of the people. Think about it. The same people that say that making guns illegal won’t stop people from using them are campaigning to make abortion illegal in efforts to stop abortions from taking place. Crazy talk! And no matter where you stand on same sex marriage how can the laws we try to put in place change the hearts of people (if that really is what Christians are attempting to do)? Even God gives us the choice to choose Him. Christians should know more than anyone that a set of laws does not produce change any more now than it did for the children of Israel in the wilderness. Once I started peering outside of my tidy Christian bubble, I started realizing that the way that I perceived “choice” was not only biased, but  significantly flawed.

It was easy for me to be a cookie cutter conservative in my privileged bubble where I didn’t really have to think about issues other then those pertaining to religious focus groups. But then life had to ruin everything. When I became a single parent, suddenly I breached Christian protocol. I had to look outside of my safety net. I became a single parent while I was pregnant, folks. Now, abortion is not ever an option for me, however I began to empathize with the hopelessness that women who found themselves in my shoes must feel. I learned that not all single parents are bottom dwellers of society, leeching off of taxpayers. I was one of them, and I was a full time mom, full time college student, and had a full time job, and it still wasn’t enough. The shame I felt was a result of the same stigma I used to place on people that received government assistance.

Then I had to go fall in love. The trouble with that is that I fell hard for a charming (is there any other kind?) Mexican who happened to also be a resident alien, so I could no longer ignore my indifference on the despicable, hateful stance on immigration that the right has to offer (not to mention the xenophobia we relish on our fellow humans in the middle east). Falling in love with a man that treated me as an equal and not as a subservient counterpart made me realize how abusive Complementarianism (a pretty word for Patriarchy ) is in the Church and how God’s design was always for equality. Now I was in really deep! How could I ever reconcile this with the inexcusable apathy for equal pay in the workplace that is ignored over and over again by the right?

Just before my son’s Third birthday, he was diagnosed with Autism and I instantly became an ally for the Autistic community. I was soon dismayed to find that the legislation on the right caters to a cure culture that seeks to find a way to “solve the puzzle” instead of trying to accommodate the autistics that are already here and are wondering when they will be valued instead of seen as challenge for science to find the answer to.

What. A. Pickle.

I didn’t rush to declare a new political affiliation after these events ran their course. All I knew was that I could not go along with the agenda of the conservative right with a clear conscience any longer. If that makes me a trouble maker in the evangelical community, so be it.

This is not a plea to my conservative friends to change their political allegiance, however I would ask that you try understand that everything is not always as black and white as it seems. I have burned many bridges in the past by being so ruthlessly rigid. It would do us all a bit of good to stop looking so far inward that we forget why we are here in the first place. Whether we like it or not, we need each other. We are better together, warts and all.

♥ MM

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Vulnerable Christ: Dismantling the False Belief that You’re Not Worth It

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Turning the corner to go into 2016, the expectant hope that usually accompanies the ending of the holiday season and the start of the new year was halted by a loss in my family.  My grandfather passed away unexpectedly in a work related accident on Christmas Eve and sucker punched us all.  I’m new to grief. I’m not good at it. It seems like I haven’t had to face the death of a loved one as much as most people I know. I have “grieved with those who grieve” but it’s not quite the same when you’re the one trying to figure out how to be– knowing that this person is gone. Fyodor Dostoyevsky captured it best when he penned,

“The darker the night,
The brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief,
The closer is God!”

Grief makes you vulnerable.
Vulnerability makes you either want to connect or escape (if not both).

Philmont’s “Closer” has always had a special place in my heart because it got me through the death of a different kind when I first heard it in 2011. I had always associated this song with loss, but upon reflecting on death and hearing it again, I have been struck by the connection between vulnerability and worth.

This verse always stops me cold and washes over me like a flood.

Who am I?
That You would die to prove.
That the worthless are all worth it.
The curse has been removed.

It seems contrary to the oh-so-holy “less than” verbiage that permeates our churches, conversations, and thoughts. Like grief, worth is scary too. It takes strength to acknowledge that you are valuable. “Righteous” self loathing is much easier. It’s so noble to be “unworthy”, isn’t it? We wear it proudly, boldly–like a badge of honor. A facade of false humility is easy enough to put on and an even better distraction to keep us from accepting that this “unworthy” mask serves only to conceal the lie that we are worthless.

Worthless.

That’s actually what we mean most of the time when we say that we are unworthy. I will speak for myself, but I am sure I am not the only one. Some may say these are semantics, but are they? To be unworthy comes down to what someone deserves based on their own goodness or merit. According to Webster, worth on the other hand is all about value regardless of one’s merit. So to be “worthless” would mean being of no use, importance, or effect. Do you see the difference? Can you be one without the other? What does it look like to be unworthy without being worthless?

A well known illustration comes to mind when thinking about worth. It goes something like this… A pastor takes a $20.00 dollar bill and shows it to the congregation asking who wants the bill. Everyone wants it, of course! The pastor proceeds to crumple up, spit on, step on the $20.00 bill while asking if anyone is still interested. The response remains the same.

Why??

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The bill has not lost it’s value despite the reckless mishandling that it had to endure. I think that we see ourselves like that dirty $20.00 bill. Caked with filth and muck we can’t see that we are valuable to ourselves, let alone our Creator.

A year ago, I would have been offended and inflated with Pharisaical indignation at the idea that God could see our worth before being covered by the blood of Jesus at salvation. I knew Christ came for sinners, but I never really thought about why. If we are as worthless as we think we are why would God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth see fit to send Jesus to bridge the gap between a spotless lamb and and insignificant worms like us?

Because only we can make ourselves insignificant — but not to God.

The flaw in this logic is that we don’t realize that it was always in God’s design to make us valuable. From the dawn of Creation, we were precious to Him –even in separation.

Genesis 1:27 NLT
So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Jeremiah 1:5 AMP
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own]; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Recently in a prayer meeting, the Lord began to gently show me what a giant risk he took in making a way for us to know him. Both Jesus and God the Father became vulnerable time and time again to “prove that the worthless are all worth it”. From the garden to the grave, God’s compassion for his creation is fierce.

But we despised him.

Genesis 6:6 NLT
So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

Even after rejecting Him over and over, while carrying the wound of a broken heart, He chooses love that is raw and unassuming. Wanting so deeply to be loved in return, He sends Jesus, the face of selfless love, and vulnerability.

Philippians 2:7 NCV
But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing.
He was born as a man
and became like a servant.

What offends us religious types most of all, is the fact that He has no prerequisites for sinners in order for the offer of salvation to be placed on the table. It’s unheard of. So unlike us. We never give unless we can take. But this radical, vulnerable, lovesick Christ lays it all down just for the chance to walk in life and in love with us.

Romans 5: 6-7 AMP
While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die. But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So can we please take a minute and decide once and for all to end our self-deprecating spirals, complete with to-do lists of what we need to do to feel we are still in God’s good graces? Jesus is enough and He is waiting for you to sit at the table with him and just be. Smash these false beliefs about striving and self-loathing all in the name of Jesus. Enough! Let’s stop getting caught up on how far off we are, but on how incredibly close He is.

We may be unworthy, but we’re worth it.

♥  MM


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