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

 

protest2

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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My Beef with the Matt Walsh Blog

Matt Walsh. Image from Brantly Millegan’s article on Aleteia.org.

If you’ve been on WordPress for more than five minutes, you’ve probably heard about the Matt Walsh Blog. Kind of hard not to – it’s the most popular blog on the site, totaling somewhere around 40 million hits. The blog is doing so well that, just a few months ago, its creator, Matt Walsh, was able to quit his conservative radio talk show and devote himself to blogging full-time.

If only we could all be so lucky. Am I right? 🙂

Highly conservative, Matt is an adamant promoter of stay-at-home moms, homeschooling, marriage and family, gun rights, pro-life ethics and personal responsibility. He’s also a diehard critic of liberal ideology, Barack Obama, feminism, abortion, public education and affirmative action. His detractors have called him “a young Rush Limbaugh.”

With so many people following his blog, I imagine some of my readers are following him, too – as am I. However, I happen to be one of his critics. And today I want to explain what I see as the major problem with his writings for someone who calls himself a Christian and, supposedly, writes for other Christians. Continue reading

Forgetting What is Behind

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

Not What We Expect

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Fundamentalist Jesus. Fundamentalist Jesus had parents who were above reproach. They were founding members of the local temple. His mother was married when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Everyone said fundamentalist Jesus would grow up to do a mighty work for God.

Fundamentalist Jesus grew into a young adult, working hard in his earthly father’s carpentry shop and obeying his parents. When people in the community had parties where alcohol was served, fundamentalist Jesus stayed home. “Drinking wine is a sin,” he would say. “And I don’t wish to be seen in the company of sinners. Just think of what it would do to my reputation!”

Later, fundamentalist Jesus enrolled in the Bible school at his local synagogue. He learned all about God’s will for his life and how to build an effective ministry. He became a close friend of some of the religious leaders who mentored him. “These guys follow God’s commands to the letter,” he said. “They really have their lives in order. Just look at how blessed they are!”

Fundamentalist Jesus worked his way up in the temple, overseeing different ministries and earning a comfortable salary. Whenever he went out in public, he was often accosted by people who were sick and impoverished. One day, a man with leprosy asked him for help. “Well, it’s obvious you’re not living right, or you wouldn’t be sick,” Jesus told him. “Go to the temple and ask the priests to offer a sacrifice for you. I know lambs are expensive, but sometimes you have to invest in your spirituality!” Continue reading