Greetings, gentle readers. I hope this Lenten season finds you well.
I’m sure from the title, you have surmised what this post will address. After all, about 90% of my posts since November have had to do with my struggles with an old pain. And there seems to be no end to those insufferable (I mean, er…inspirational) Internet memes in my Facebook feed that constantly admonish me to just “forget it and let it all go.”
Well, you’d be wrong.
I was doing research for another topic the other day and stumbled across Philippians 3, where the Apostle Paul speaks about “forgetting what is behind.” And after reading what he wrote, I wondered for a second if he had utterly lost his mind and I had signed up for the wrong religion: Continue reading
Image from Woman of Color
I want to start by saying something that I would like every one to notice carefully. It is this. If this chapter means nothing to you, if it seems to be trying to answer questions you never asked, drop it at once. [...] There are certain things in Christianity that can be understood from the outside, before you have become a Christian. But there are a great many things that cannot be understood until after you have gone a certain distance along the Christian road. [...] They are directions for dealing with particular crossroads and obstacles on the journey and they do not make sense until a man has reached those places. [...] There will come a day, perhaps years later, when you suddenly see what it meant. –C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Today, I want to talk about a box and a boat and a journey toward the greatest romance of our lives. I want to talk about beaches and oceans and a place known as the deep waters. Continue reading
Image from radiolive.co.nz
Once upon a time…for a long time…I hated the Psalms. Their only purpose seemed to reinforce the idea that suffering was quick and trivial; with a little effort, one could scrounge up some joy by simply believing that God would eventually sweep in and solve all your problems. For someone who, at the time, was considering suicide, the Psalms only served to worsen my guilt over my inability to “get over” my pain.
And then I realized I was reading them the wrong way. Continue reading
The graph of biblical contradictions
Growing up under fundamentalism, I spent a lot of time defending the Bible. After all, I loved the Bible–Old and New Testament. Still do. It has been my life manual, my source of wisdom, and (most recently) a divine source of comfort. Nothing else quite sets my heart at peace like reading and meditating upon the scriptures.
Unfortunately, I was taught to read the scriptures only one way–according to the narrow doctrine of my church. In that view, the Bible had only one message, and that message was crystal clear to everyone who wasn’t blinded, in some way, by the world and its sinful liberalism. According to my church, the Bible contained absolutely nothing contradictory; it all lined up perfectly from beginning to end and could be explained in absolute terms.
So imagine my shock when people outside my faith tradition began pointing out ideas and messages in the Bible that actually were contradictory. Imagine further my surprise when I began discovering some of these conflicts on my own. For instance: Continue reading
Image from manassaschurch.org
I’m learning a new lesson in God’s love and grace. It sucks.
For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing what some would refer to as “a dark night of the soul.” My mind and emotions are in deep turmoil. I often struggle to function at normal tasks. I’m constantly cycling between periods of anger, grief, and utter blankness. I can’t pray, can’t see more than an inch in front of me. It’s like I’m standing in a raging cyclone of snow, rain and hail. And in this time of desperate, extreme need, God is almost completely silent.
Except for these two words: “Just heal.”
“What does that mean, God? How do I do that?”
If you’re thinking that sounds like hell, you’re right. It’s hell of the worst kind. But… Continue reading