A Disruption

This is what I’ve decided:

I am done believing the lie that all anger is sinful.  I am done being told that I am disagreeing with the Bible when I disagree with a preacher.  I am done sitting still in a pew while a person on a stage tells me to cheer for him, to make him feel great for “just preaching the Word.”

I will no longer encourage the worship of leaders and pastors.  I won’t cower in the back row while someone tells me, under a guise of loving redirection, that God has not called me to do certain things because I am a woman.  I won’t accept the notion of “equal, but different.”  That idea didn’t get us far the last time we tried to make it true.  So yes – I will continue to sit in my seat on the bus.

I will lean into this anger, because I love the Church and I love Jesus more.  And I can’t sit still and quiet when the ones I love are manipulated, deceived, or oppressed.  I will call for context, details, and interpretations from across the aisles.  I will praise God when truth is spoken, and no one else.  I will hold leaders accountable.  I will challenge those who have power, even if I am afraid.  I am so tired of being afraid.

I will unclench my fists, because while quick heat lights fires, only steady oxygen keeps them lit.  I will refuse to give in to bitterness.  I will refuse to let anger become me.  I will refuse to close my eyes and ears.  I will loosen my grip, too.

I will create a disruption.  I will overturn tables in the Temple.  I will read the Word aloud.  I will sit at the feet of Jesus and learn, a passionate rabbi-in-training, then I will go out and preach.  I will give people water, I will see them as people, not projects; I will relinquish my souls-saved tally, I will invite those who have been turned away, I will beg forgiveness for the sins of my people.  The Gospel does not offend because of who it leaves out.  It offends because of who it lets in.

I won’t close the gate.  I will push aside the guards and I will pry open the wrought iron bars, even if no one comes to help me.  Even if everyone does.

This is what I’ve decided.

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Ignore this.

I think I might’ve just written the most ignorant letter ever to God.  I want to eat every single word I see on the page before me, because each one is testament to my inconceivable stupidity.  Please tell me that I am not the only one to ever do this.

I will pretend you just consoled me.

I pray in two ways: the first is the most common way – I just talk.  I talk to Him as I’m falling asleep, or as I’m walking to a particularly gruesome exam, or when I drive by myself in the car.  I talk to Him in my head and out loud, in complete sentences and in incomprehensible noises and sometimes I talk to Him by glaring at the sky (that is by far one of the more ignorant things I do).  I talk to Him alone and with groups of people.  I talk to Him like He is my Father and sometimes like He is my unruly pet.  I shouldn’t talk to Him like He’s my pet.  But since we’re divulging my ignorance here, I figured I would just throw that one in, too.

The second way I pray is by writing.  This is most common for me.  I used to write to Him daily, sometimes twice daily, and just tell Him about my day, or give thanks for the things in my life, or ask for help and guidance for things I didn’t understand.  Those pages look like transcripts of a spoken prayer – something that I wouldn’t mind saying in front of others.  Something that was Christian and right and normal.  Don’t get me wrong; those prayers were real.  They were genuine, and sometimes they were gut-wrenching and sometimes they were the only things that held me to the ground.  But I still held back.  I didn’t pray about most of what really mattered.  I don’t know what I was thinking – that I could hide a portion of my soul from the One who made it?

I know it is silly.

As I’ve gotten older, my written prayers have changed.  They’ve become less simple.  Sometimes they aren’t even addressed to God, but both He and I know that I’m trying to speak to Him.  I’ve been looking through my most recent journals – my prayers have gotten jerkier.  Every so often, I’ll come across five pages of hopelessly-flung insults and childish passive-aggressiveness.  And it’s awful because I know, as I write things like that, how stupid it all sounds, how I am answering my own fiery questions and scoffing at my own anger.  It is sinful.  There isn’t a way to make it any more than that.

I don’t like that I can be joyful one day and angry the next.  I flip the page and there I am, sure of the Gospel and sure of the path the Lord is taking me down, prayers that are actually humble (if I can say so without not being humble).  Both prayers – the jerky ones and the grateful ones – are like reading the words of two different people.  I don’t understand why God puts up with me.

But I’m not hiding anymore.  I give Him the dusty, bent up parts of me that no one else will take, even if I tried to offer them.  Because we’ve got a God who takes the mess.  It doesn’t make it okay to pray with anger or ignorance or sadness.  But He’ll take it, because He is big enough for that.  I have a habit of limiting God.  I am like a vacuum, sucking up all the things I think I’m tough enough to handle, the questions I think I’m smart enough to figure out.  I don’t think God wants that.  I’m hesitant to justify my sinfulness – I don’t want to come across like I’m doing so – but maybe God wants the ugliness even if it is sinful.  Maybe He would rather me shout at Him than tear myself apart.  He can handle the shouts of a fragmented, tiny, insignificant girl.  But I cannot handle the claws on my own hands.  What is deadly to me is nothing to Him.

So here we are: my open notebook taunting me with the things I’ve written.  But the trouble is, I feel that.  I told Him the truth when I wrote what I did – that it was the way I felt and that I don’t know what to do about it.  But it doesn’t make it right.  It just makes it even more important that I do something about it.

I don’t know why I was compelled to tell you all of this.  It holds me accountable, I suppose, when I blog about things I probably should just keep to myself.  But I promised myself not to fake it, here or anywhere else.  So I won’t.  It’s the one things you can be sure of with me.  Writing this makes me feel like I really do have to do something about it.  I think everyone needs a way to be held accountable – and it is beginning to seem like mine is through the public forum the internet.  I thought I hated the internet as a primary communication tool – but maybe it’s not all bad.  It’s the thing I seem to need lately.

New prayer.

Father.  Forgive my ignorance.  I hate it.  It’s ridiculous.  Give me eyes that see only You, past all my blurry desires and supposed answers, past all my shouts of anger and pleas for simplicity.  I know You only give good things.  I know nothing slips past Your view.  I know You teach me the way I need to be taught, even if it hurts, and even if I hate it and think that I know better.  I know nothing.  Push me down.  Grant me the peace that comes with humility.  All of us – grant us all that peace.  Amen.