The Exhaustion or Good Freaking God! or How I’m responding to the inter webs this week.

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There is an exhaustion creeping over us who care.  Do you feel it?  I read the news, and then I read the comments and then I see the drivers and then I see hear the casual but in the end dehumanizing dismissals of those who think politically different than us.

 

There is an exhaustion creeping over us who think that it should be expected that not once in a life should a woman have to defend her body and her heart from others who would just take it for themselves.  Make no mistake- our bodies which include our sexuality, do have everything to do with our souls – we do not divorce one from the other.  When one is taken from us, manipulated from us, violently stolen or just assumed it’s not important to us, or important to the world – this is an attack on our souls and its wrong.

 

I’m tired of having to say it and having to speak up though.

 

I am not a Christian because I think people like me are right.  I am a Christian because I read these old words about Jesus and somehow they make my heart leap—they, in a miracle of mystery and call, affirm my whole self.  And these old words were the actions and words and orientation of Jesus to this world –to this good world that he is dedicated to the point of death to restoring, redeeming, reconciling.  Even me – a sensitive girl who grew up loved, and also sometimes confused, who is kind to others but also sometimes am not and who cannot, for the life of me, live in every way I think I should.  And to this “even me” and to this “even you” has a home been given in His words.  For there we are held, known and thought of so highly that even the life and love and every creative force of this universe is committed to making us whole.

 

““Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”

Dorothy Sayers…..Thank you Jesus for her.  You better believe she fought it all and she kept stubbornly believing that Jesus even thought she too was a full human.

 

The multitudes of women who are typing “Me Too” onto their facebook feeds this morning….they are doing this out of a deeply horrifying experience of power asserting over their bodies, lying to them about their worth.  They are writing to somehow combat the truth that a raped body will require less jail time than stolen goods. Good Freaking GOD!  What have we misread about the gospel of Jesus that this has been status quo in our “Christian” society and is still ok in our time?  Let us re-read it now – let your sisters re-read it to you now!

If there is one thing we know about following Jesus – its that it’s a following into powerlessness.  Where power is extolled and lived out to the point of taking what you think you deserve – that is nowhere CLOSE to what it means to follow Jesus.   Make no mistake – what you see at “voter values” summits has almost nothing to do with the covenantal redemption story of this whole cosmos we follow Jesus down to in these Scriptures.   Some words might be the same, but if it’s not a shedding and yielding of power, it misses the point.

 

When you decide to be on the side of the women whose bodies have been assumed to be less than their own and less than God’s good creation, you will decide on a shedding of your power to have and to control.  This is the Jesus way and is truly the only way to follow him to the kingdom he is building.

 

I am tired of pulling against the current of our culture that’s mistaken “Christian” for clout, power, right and that’s mistaken success for God’s blessing.   The life of Jesus is one of letting go of our power which is no power really – it all is God’s and it is all for The Other.   This is connected to our race relations, it is connected to sexual assault and violence.  Because you better believe that those whose power and humanity has been dismissed for centuries know what it is to follow Jesus to restoration.  Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the meek and powerless—they will get it, this kingdom business.   What we read every day over the interwebs is connected to whether we diminish this world God created or whether we participate in the work to reconcile it, bring it into unity and follow to the dark streets this Light that doesn’t blink twice at emptying its self for the sake of the other.

 

The funny thing is, even when we are exhausted, when we follow that power-emptied Jesus down into his full humanity, we will be given back ourselves—we will be given back a creative, spirit-filled life that knows no bounds but continually rejoices when truth is manifested.  It’s a miracle but I’d stake my life on this truth.  The truth that Jesus, the downward path of this Son of Man who doesn’t blink at my femaleness or any other form of otherness, is for us, with us and is busy doing His work of restoration.  Look for that, in your exhaustion.  Look for that reconciliation and rejoice in that.  That is the value we can vote for.  That is His business, His economy, His world He’s not given up on yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Each of the Other

Me: What’s the hardest spiritual thing I’m ever going to have to do?

Old Woman: To see every person as a gift.

Me: What kind of gift?

Old Woman: The best kind.  Based on the way you receive them.

Me: I don’t get it.

Old Woman: I know. But you will.  If you receive others as worthy, lovable, spiritual creations–perfect just the way they are–you get to see the highest possible version of who you are.  You get to be that.  Experience that.  And you become a gift to the world.

Me: Sounds hard.

Old Woman: The longer you think that, the harder it gets.

****

The funny thing is, she was right.

–by Richard Wagamese, from a collection of his writings, “Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations (2017).

As we’ve been talking about community, living in community and the curvy path community creates for us, I am realizing more and more how intertwined our spiritual heart is with our heart towards others.  Of course it is, my brain says, for we were all made, all created, all loved and our wholeness depends on all of our wholeness.  This makes sense.  And yet living it out requires everything  that the life with God requires – TRUST that we don’t have to make it work out, but we just have to do what we are invited to; TURNING from a life focused on one to a life oriented towards the whole, God and the love of his long life which is all of us, all of this of course; RECEIVING the gift of grace that being with others gives us; HUMILITY, we do not make any of this life happen, we receive by turning and trusting and seeing so much more than we could imagine.

And all this in the grocery line, at the exhausting family bbq, at the town halls.  All of this at the PTA meetings, at church, in the Facebook feeds.  All of this happens (or doesn’t happen) in the way we orient ourselves towards our neighbours.  And knowing my own heart and my own ways of dismissing others, this is the biggest opportunity for growth, for change, for transformation into something that starts to hint at the person of Jesus.