My relationship to holidays and special occasions has always been a bit fraught. A special day means special planning. Buying gifts. Making food. Doing rituals. Behind all of that lies the prospect of disappointing people I love. Between my low energy, anxiety and OCD/ADD tendencies, holidays feel more like hell than happiness.
But now, there’s a new twist.
* A parody of this article in Christianity Today, inspired by a tweet from Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks).
The rise of church doors in the early 1500s has yielded the genre of the “church reformer.” From the comfort of their studies, these heretical monks can pen lengthy criticisms of Catholicism and affix them to church doors for any passing peasant to see. This advent of literacy, printing and architecture has created a crisis of authority that we haven’t hitherto seen before.
One of the most prominent examples of this crisis involves the popular Martin Luther, who last year announced his opposition to selling indulgences for the absolution of sin. He was cheered by some and denounced by others. The Pope has called for his writings to be burned. Aside from the debate about faith vs. works, broader questions have emerged: Where do scholars like Luther derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching? How can the average peasant know whom to trust?
I 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.
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.
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