The Scars that Throb

buds2I was getting ready for work the other morning when I was struck by a sudden pang to see my father. Because of some terrible things he did, I cut him out of my life a couple of years ago. He hasn’t called in several months, and I was worried that something might be wrong. What if he’s dying? I thought.

And then I thought, if he were dying, would it change anything for me? I still have little capacity to tolerate any sort of drama. Talking to him wouldn’t close the rift that he created in my heart, wouldn’t bring back the years I lost feeling unsafe with him. And then I felt it: that old, all-too-familiar ache of having been robbed of a nourishing father/daughter relationship. Memories and milestones I should have had, but didn’t. And I had to pause and breathe and just let the wave of grief wash over me.

Overall, I’m happier and healthier these days, but I still have these moments when the scars throb, when I have to face the fact that I was hurt in significant, life-altering ways. I recently shared some of my story with a colleague, and he said, “I hope you continue to heal and are stronger for it.” I responded: “I will certainly be wiser and more compassionate, but never stronger.” I’m learning to walk with an emotional limp.

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My Faith and My Politics

 

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Women’s March in DC, (c) April Kelsey

Some of you might have noticed that, around the time of the November election, some of my posts here and elsewhere became a bit more political. Honestly, I’ve always been a political person. My two favorite conversation topics are religion and politics, which – you can imagine – makes me a much beloved dinner guest in many homes. :p

But it’s a difficult mix. The one thing I criticize most harshly about American Evangelicalism is just how political it has become. I’m a fervent believer in the separation of Church and State, and I do not think salvation, spirituality or purity can or should be legislated. So I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I’ve grown a bit more political and the ways in which my faith informs my politics.

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Guard Your Heart

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(c) April Kelsey

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. ~ Matthew 24:3-13

Guard your heart. I’ve often heard this phrase in the context of dating: “Don’t get emotionally entangled. Your heart belongs to God and it’s possible to give it away.” But I don’t think guarding one’s heart has anything to do with dating. It’s far more important than that.

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Leaders, Where is Your Discernment?!

pearl pig2I wasn’t going to write about Donald Trump. I wasn’t going to feed the narcissistic machine. I assumed he wouldn’t get this far. I assumed the bluster would blow over after a while–that people would realize who he is and let him fade into obscurity.

When he said Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her…wherever,” I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without respect.

When he mocked a respected POW from the Vietnam War, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without honor.

When he belittled his opponent by threatening to expose his wife’s mental illness, I said surely now people will see that this is a man without mercy.

When he shamelessly ridiculed a disabled person, I said surely now people will realize this is a man without empathy.

When he called his own supporters idiots and insulted members of his own party, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without loyalty.

When the newspapers began to expose his shady business practices and multiple lawsuits, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without integrity. Continue reading

Driscoll’s “Confessions”: How to Grow a Church

confessionsSee my ongoing review in this series: Intro | Part 1

“I acknowledge that some readers may be turned off by my focus on numbers, even though we have a book of the Bible titled the same word. But every number is a person, so numbers do matter because people matter.” ~ Mark Driscoll

Driscoll wrote Confessions of a Reformission Rev. as a guide of sorts for other pastors to follow. So today, I want to talk about the church-growth philosophy and methods Driscoll puts forth in his book. Continue reading