The Gratitude Time, Part 1

Hands Holding a Lit CandleI’m getting over a committed and bombastic head cold so please forgive the raw tinge to the audio.  I learned my manners as a kid, but it was always hard to say thank you.  As an adult, I celebrate the free grace and love of God, emphasizing the freeness of it, with other adults.  As well we should.  But even when we do admit how hard gratitude can be, we don’t always unpack why.  I think we all have our moments where we feel we need to earn love and that we don’t deserve it for free.  But why? Continue reading The Gratitude Time, Part 1

The Honesty Time, Part 8

background_images-professionalI would love to do good things, make a meaningful contribution and have a fruitful life.  At this point, though, I’m not much more than a seminary drop out – it became painfully obvious very quickly that I did not really belong there but it’s just as unclear where I would belong.  I would love to do things I’m good at but that doesn’t seem like anything.  I was never good enough, early enough, at anything to “specialize” in a sport or activity and you basically, as Lorie Koffman-Rees explains in her sermon at the Columbus Vineyard, have to be a professional at anything these days just to participate anymore.   Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 8

The Honesty Time, Part 7

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Some may say, “Well, wasn’t it just a handful of people at one church that hurt you?  It wasn’t the whole church, right?”  Or “Don’t let one bad apple ruin the batch.”  I didn’t include these in my series on cliches last year (starting here) but perhaps I should have.  Here’s the thing:  being hurt by five or six people in one church is a big deal.  Five or six people is a lot, especially for an introvert.  It matters.  It is a big deal when even one fellow church member judges, abandons and/or slanders you and it should be treated as such – especially when that person is in leadership.
Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 7

The Honesty Time, Part 6

wheelbarrowI fear that this healing will be kind of a long time.  Like, forever.  I have been relationally, vocationally, spiritually, emotionally and mentally stuck for about that long.  I look around me and see nothing I’m good at, nothing I feel I can do (and so, consequently, nothing I want to do – who wants to fail all the time?) and nowhere to fit in.  I have asked for help from others, followed the rules and advice.  I have been asking God in all the ways I know how for direction, for a (revelation of?) calling, for help, guidance, healing.  Now, there have been things I couldn’t believe would ever happen and they did.  There have been things that took a very long time to happen but finally did.  This feels different.  Everything seems so empty now and it feels like I really wasn’t made for anything or anywhere at all. Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 6

The Honesty Time, Part 4

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A chance meeting with a friend yesterday, which would not have happened had I been sticking to my preferred schedule, was, unbeknownst to him, an answered prayer (more on that later).  For now, I’d like to take a moment here (we’re a little less than halfway through this “series” from what I can tell right now) to thank those of you who have expressed both sadness and empathy for me.  On one level it makes me upset that the Church (and even Scripture) has so many victims; still, it’s invaluable to hear “you’re not alone,” at least for me personally.  It may feel like “not enough” if all you can say is “I’m sorry and me too,” but say it anyway.  I think solidarity – which is the fancy word for not being alone and knowing it – is how the world changes and how voices that need to be heard are. Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 4

The Honesty Time, Part 3

imagesActually, the real reason I went to seminary was to please God.  And the real reason I left (besides becoming wholly convinced I was not gifted for that work) was because I did not feel seen or heard or like my story was safe in the community.  It’s not all horrible and I did make some great connections, but after a particularly difficult incident in a (required) small group, the only questions/follow up I got were “are you running away?” and “is there anything you can think of that you would have differently?” – and this from a member of said group, in which I was – because we were encouraged to be – very vulnerable.  When I needed to make up an Incomplete because of that situation, my assignment was to write about how great the exact thing I had a deeply negative experience with was (“by the way, we need a new write up on this topic for our website!”).  My experience, my story, was not treated with any regard and my “gift” was exploited.  When I left, I got zero questions/follow up (that I did not initiate myself).  And this was at an institution that trains future leaders of the Church.

Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 3

The Honesty Time, Part 2

steepleI was kept awake last night with fear of doing this – fear of losing friends because I’ll say the wrong thing, fear of disappointing or failing God, fear of judgment (or even punishment) from others and God.  I almost called it off.  But, while I don’t want to lose friends or hurt people, fear is what I’ve done most things out of my whole life and it’s not served me well at all.  So…onward.   Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 2

The Honesty Time, Part 1

champagne_glasses2A new year is a great time to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do…like be real and authentic (buzzword, cringe, I know) on your blog.  What I’m about to do is going to sound a lot like bashing the Church.  It’s trendy to bash the Church – as trendy as it is to bash Millenials, or as trendy as Millenials bashing the Church.  But I’m not doing this for fun, nor is “bashing” my point.  I’d love it if the Church changed but that’s not my point, either.  I’ve been spending time on this blog looking at various Scriptures, but to be honest, I’ve been underwhelmed with the Bible for, well, most of my life and have been forcing myself to focus on it, write about it, etc. because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of God, of disappointing God, of failing God, of not being enough for God. Continue reading The Honesty Time, Part 1