To Pray

To walk your path feels so easy,

images-3sometimes.

Until a choice has to be made.

Or an opportunity is put before me,

Or a challenge trips me up.

I feel sure and confident,

even smug.

And then the light goes out,

and I don’t know my next step.

I hear silence when

I want to hear direction.

So I try to be still

and wait for you to come.

Off

I just don’t feel like being friendly.

The weekend has been long and taxing and I’ve had to be “on” way too much and I’m done being social. All of the voices echo in my head and I can’t keep focused or still; it hurts my brain and makes me want to disappear for a while.

Maybe that’s rude or weird or hard to understand, but sometimes being around people is exhausting…

You know?

My opinion doesn’t really matter, but…

I’ve been following and quietly supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement for months now… since things first erupted in Ferguson, but have said little. What could a suburban, white girl possibly contribute to the conversation? How can I speak without coming off as patronizing or insincere?

Add to this the fact that I live in the South; in an extremely conservative, upper-middle class suburb in the South. As the events of the last 7 months have unfolded I’ve heard lots of comments like, “That’s why you do what the police tell you to do” and “Well if he hadn’t been doing something wrong in the first place, he never would have been stopped.” I’ve seen Facebook posts touting the heroism of officers and our responsibility to support them, and I personally know officers that I believe are good people.

All of this being said, seeing Walter Scott gunned down while running from an officer, handcuffed while he lay dying and allowed to lie there with no medical attention as he unceremoniously and without notice expired, was unbearable.

I know that this isn’t the first black man to have been the victim of this kind of merciless crime. The list is becoming too long to recall by memory, just speaking about those killed over the past 7 months. Eric Garner, pleading for air as he is choked in New York; Tamir Rice, only 12 years old and gunned down in a park; Jonathan Ferrell, shot while attempting to seek help after a car accident. There are so many more.

I can’t imagine this being my reality. My white privilege allows me to be pulled over, get pissed off about it, and smart ass the cop who’s writing me the ticket without any fear that he’s going to do anything more than talk bad about me when he gets back in his car.

As a grown woman and a Christian leader in my community, the fact that I would act disrespectfully toward an officer isn’t right. Honestly, it’s embarrassing to admit. But it’s my natural reaction based on my own experiences. Not experiences of violence or oppression like those faced by so many others, but experiences that reinforce my own privilege.

I won’t go into a diatribe against all of the dishonest, corrupt and downright criminal police officers that I’ve encountered in my life. Suffice it to say that I’ve had the occasion to be pulled over for what should have been some rather serious offenses. I’ve been been incoherently drunk, I once initiated a “race” with a patrol car on a busy freeway while high, I even climbed to the top of my car and fell into my own sunroof during a late night traffic stop… needless to say, highly intoxicated. The fact that NONE of these incidences resulted in an arrest, or even a ticket, showed me that I had power.

And I despised these officers as perverts, as hypocrites, and as men interested in only the power that the badge could give them.

I’m not sure where this leads. I don’t have a strong conclusion to wrap this up with and I don’t know what kind of place, if any, I have in this fight.

But I believe in justice for all people. I believe in the inherent dignity given to all of us by our Creator, which makes us equal. I believe in Jesus, who will come to save every nation, language, tribe, ethnicity and people on this Earth.

I acknowledge my white privilege. I didn’t ask for it, I hate that it’s a part of me and that I treat it with disdain rather than leveraging it for a greater purpose. I do support the Black Lives Matter movement, because I think they absolutely matter, and I think that what’s going on out there in the law enforcement community is wrong.

This is just me getting some thoughts out. I’ve been thinking about a lot of this for a long time, and I know opinions are a dime a dozen right now, but thank you for reading.

Special days

Happy Easter to you!

I’ve spent mine with family, celebrated my mother in law’s birthday, watched the kids do three separate Easter egg hunts and played guitar in two church services. It’s been good.

I’d have to say my favorite part though was looking out from the stage this morning to see my 13 year old daughter in church, singing along in worship.

She declared herself agnostic last year and hasn’t come to church in a long time, but our deal was that she would come on holidays and other special occasions. This has been hard for me as I’ve started seminary, and essentially committed to a life of serving Christ as a vocation, which needs a family’s support.

While I’m not going to jump the gun and declare victory over her return to Christianity, this was an encouraging sign and made this day even more special.

Praying that everyone had a great day celebrating the resurrection 🙂

religious

It IS about me. A little

The new quarter started this week so I’ve got two new classes to be consumed by. Whereas my last classes were missional in focus, these are straight up theology and I’m a bit more nervous about them!

But it’s been a great first week and already in my Interpretive Practices class I’ve had an eye opener. It’s actually ridiculously simple, and it seems silly to say, but I need the humility practice 😉

I need to be reading the Bible as Scripture.

I know, that’s a no-brainer. But I realized that often wheFullSizeRendern I read the Bible, I read it as stories, lessons, history, wisdom or poetry. I see it as good advice and a long gone message from a God who once walked among his people. I think about how lucky the Disciples were to have Jesus among them, and how amazing it must have been to be among those who formed the first Church. I try to to discover context and meaning and figure out what applies to my life and what was relevant only in ancient culture.

What if I’m not meant to read with all of these goals in mind? I’m not saying I shouldn’t try to understand the Bible, I absolutely want to know what God is saying. But instead of trying to wring an interpretation out of what I’m reading, what if I read with the intent of letting the Scripture change me? Perhaps I could try to put away my preconceived notions about what I think God is trying to say, and read as though he is speaking to me.

I tried that this morning and was doing some reading in Jeremiah, when I came across this verse:

For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past.  Jeremiah 42:20-21

Oh….

So if I apply that to me, and I’m honest with myself, then that’s pretty uncomfortable. Have I ever gone to God in prayer, complained about how miserable I am, asked for help and then gone right ahead down the same path anyway? Yes. Have I done it more than once? Twice? More than that? Yeah, I have.

Well, that was awkward. But I still see the value in the practice; the concept of seeking conversion by the Scripture rather than mastery of the Scripture.