I logged on this morning to write, not exactly sure what I had to say but determined to write something. Then I got busy changing some things in my side bar. Check out my new Tag Cloud and my Flickr photos!
But I wonder what I am avoiding? Why am I keeping myself busy with the layout instead of the content? What is stuck inside me that needs to be released?
So many of you have encouraged me to not be silent anymore. Thank you. I know that my words are valuable; that my voice needs to rise to a crescendo and speak out across the mountains. Yet I keep making veiled references and vague nods to other’s words.
Even today, I am not sure I can speak out. I want to. Then I look at the clock and see it is time for everyone to wake up, have breakfast, get moving with the day and I realize I have squandered the opportunity again.
I cannot do this, day after day. The cliff is before me and I just need to jump. I won’t be surprised to find wings and instead of plummeting to my death, I will soar above the clouds, basking in the warmth of the sun.
So here we go . . .
I am tired of going to the same place Sunday morning after Sunday morning and no one acts as if they know me or as if they care. Two years of my life, my time and my energy have been spent. Five months ago words were said to me that left me feeling wounded, incredibly wounded, at a vulnerable time in my life. I have talked about it before, I think I have mentioned it here, how I felt like an abused woman, lying in the mud in front of her house. My mind is screaming, “You can’t be hit anymore! Get up and walk away, just GO and don’t look back! If you go back in, you had better just shut up, quit making trouble. That is the only way you can survive it.” I went back in and embraced the silence.
There is no way that the person that spoke to me (and I won’t call it a conversation. I couldn’t say anything. My emotions sent me straight into flight mode … my heart was pounded, my stomach churning, sweat pouring down and all I could think was, “Get out, get out, get out!”)… there is no way that person could deny how upset I was. Though he is a leader, he has never attempted to find out what was motivating my emotional response; he has never checked on me to see if I was ok; Nothing, nada, nothing.
I have been consumed with it. The wounds have never healed. Each time I go back, the wounds are ripped open again. I can honestly admit that there are times that I pick at the scabs myself … I subject myself to reading his blog; nurturing my hurtful attitude. Then there are the times that things are just said from the pulpit … not directed toward me, unintentionally bumping that opens up the weeping sores again.
I have to leave. This past Sunday was the final day. I stood in line with almost 500 other people and became so tired of hearing, “Hey, how are you?” and then the person would walk away before I could even answer. My friend called it drive-by greetings. There is no community there!
I looked over and saw my oldest daughter’s boyfriend sitting alone. He needs men in his life! He is already struggling to overcome addictions and now has his own wounds from pithy comments made from the pulpit about not needing the 12 steps of NA, AA. He came back because he liked the music. But no one speaks to him, no one offers to sit down at the table with him and share a meal.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!? Can’t you see beyond your little group of people? You talk to the same people every week, never letting anyone else into the inner circle. You drone on and on about community, sharing life, reaching out … but you walk right by those who are sitting alone. You talk about how people just need Jesus but you won’t act like Jesus to them! Do people need Jesus … yes! But people need tangible things also … a job, a car, mentors, financial counseling, a phone call. Just this week I heard someone teach that Jesus didn’t turn the water into wine. Ok, did I hear an audible gasp? Jesus told the servants what to do and they did it and the water was turned to wine. We are to be actively doing what Jesus says to do and in the process miracles happen.
Just last week, the leaders exercised church discipline. It is a subject far too complex to tackle in this already too long post. The circumstances were about a woman who was committing adultery and refused to walk away from that choice. All I could think was, “If we as a body didn’t do all that we could before the affair (because we all know that affairs usually don’t just happen … they happen in the midst of other difficulties), aren’t we just as guilty?” My thoughts are motivated by our own struggles with our marriage this past year … struggles that have been shared with people, with elders in this church. No help has been given. We have been left to figure it out on our own. In fact, the best help we have received has come from :::: gasp ::: secular sources.
I might be able to accept church discipline as valid if they stop focusing on just sexual sins and bring up those that are idolaters, drunkards, swindlers, slanderers … oh, and anyone who is greedy. We would all have to repent or be kicked out if we talk about greed. The church as an institution would have to be brought under discipline. Greed is intentionally grabbing more than what you need. I know that I am guilty of greed; I struggle with it daily, walking it out with the Lord so that He can teach me how to give generously and to trust Him to meet my needs.
The people that I was my most vulnerable with, that I shared the most difficult part of my life with, that I wailed out to God with … there has been no contact with these people at all. I make myself available by email, a phone call, approaching them at church and still, it never goes beyond, “Hey, how are you.” No one takes the time to really listen … to hear the victories, to find out the continued needs. No one offers to help in a real way. I am sick of being patted on the shoulder and told, “We will be praying for you.” I want to scream, “NO!!!! Please don’t pray for me! I need more than just prayers … DO SOMETHING!”
About six months ago, I had a dream. I knew then what it meant but never had a chance to share that, because I was pretty much shut down before I could talk about it. I dreamed that I saw the people involved in the prayer ministry, praying over my mother. I calmly watched from a balcony of sorts and then walked into the bathroom where I proceeded to clean feces off the walls, the counters, the sink. There was feces everywhere, just oozing out. I wasn’t disgusted; I just did what needed to be done. I cleaned. Every so often, I would go back out and watch the prayer team continue to pray over my mother but I kept returning to the bathroom to clean.
I prayed about what that dream meant and really felt and still feel that it is about the church being inactive in doing what needs to be done. The church is saying a lot of words, praying over people, praying for itself … while there is a lot of crap out there in the world that needs to be cleaned up. Should we pray? YES! But there has to be more than that. When we pray for a person, why aren’t we following through and taking care of that person’s needs as well? When we pray about an issue, why aren’t we actively making changes in our life to make a difference?
I have described my time there as self feeding. We have become spiritually fat. Finally I am ready to act on my question, “This is it? This is what serving God is all about? Walking into a building each week and watching some one else’s babies so that they can go be spoon fed? There has to more to it than this!” I am ready to act and I am walking away … not from God. Oh no, not from God. I am walking away from this institution that calls itself church.
Then frustratingly, when we attended on Sunday night, a ministry that I have grown to love for the way they serve, meet needs, minister to the poor and oppressed, the teaching was about men being fathers. The entire teaching was about disciplining your children, interpreted as punishment, interpreted as spanking. I have bruises on my arm from squeezing myself so hard. I have never heard spanking advocated from a place of leadership so firmly.
:::: sigh :::::
But that’s another whole topic, isn’t it?
Immersed in the Mystery,