Day 19, 20, 21, 22 and my first Allume take-away recap. How’s that for multi-tasking?
First of all I want to offer my humble apologies for it being day 30 and me barely eking out day 19.
I knew this would be a stretch for me but I hadn’t realized exactly how much. However, I have discovered some things as I’ve waded through this topic all month.
God shows up, even though I don’t always put type to page, or pen to paper, He is in this process.
I think the hardest part of this whole writing journey is the sheer amount of revelation and emotional clutter that is drifting about me and the process of grabbing thoughts and putting them in a semi-readable fashion has been daunting.
Add to that the fact that I attended two blogging conferences, one of which I am technically still at because of travel issues with Hurricane Sandy, and you have a less than complete 31 days.
I want to say it right. But I also realize that showing up is where He meets us so have grace with me as we venture into day 19-22
A few weeks ago I was at Influence Conference and I heard Jessica Turner and Nish Wieseth speak. Although Jessica’s blog Mom Creative is very neutral in terms of controversy, (it’s a scrapbooking blog so really how crazy can that get, Snapfish vs. Paper Coterie, stand back y’all) she is married to Matthew Paul Turner who is about the last person that would come to mind when thinking of someone who avoids controversy. He goes there, and there, and there. And Nish is the editor of Deeper Story, and it’s sister blogs, Deeper Family, and Deeper Church and boy, do they go there.
Blogging dangerously. Writing the posts that get a reaction. The pros and cons and everyone weighs in, sometimes amicably, sometimes not. They try to promote dialogue and diversity.
Let’s put it out there and let us discuss.
And I’m drawn to the stories that go deep. That don’t just skim the surface but ask the hard questions. The ones I struggled with at 16 in the darkest times, when God was angry and mean, His hand a judgmental tormentor in my life, never kind enough to ransom me from suffering or pain.
So, yeah, I like to talk the hard stuff too, but I know which side of the argument I fall on. In terms of feminism, women in ministry, gays in the church, the emergent church, hell and reconciliation, and so many other big issues that we part ways on. These are the issues that churches draw a line and write up their statement of faith. We do this, we don’t do that.
I carry my beliefs close to my heart and sometimes quietly, but they are there, tethered to my Christian walk and coloring the way I do life, as well as the churches I choose to attend.
So when I read from different perspectives, I value their story even if I think they’re wrong.
But I will admit something. I don’t want to be associated with them. I don’t want to look guilty by who I comment on, who I tweet, or who I befriend.
What if my advocacy and friendship with them will make me seem like I wholeheartedly agree with their perspectives? Because on a lot of issues, I have very strong beliefs. Will my friendship and grace seem like I am changing my mind or saying compromising on what I believe to be truth?
And so I pull back, allowing the division to grow.
I saw a picture recently of Jessica Turner and Ann Voskamp, flanked right up against each other side by side and smiling brightly the way sister friends do. And they are dear to each other and a part of me thought, “How does that work? It would seem that their types of Christianity might clash.
Yes, I really thought that.
Because when I think of the edgy somewhat angry sounding in your face Christianity that often stems from being raised as a fundamentalist with the soft serenity of life on the farm, I see a gap so wide that I wonder at the bridge that would carry them across.
How do you reconcile different theology, different expressions of the same faith? How do we find the middle ground of these expressions of our God, even when we feel the other might have gotten it wrong?
My reaction has been to push back and to assert my stance so that I wouldn’t be lumped in. I read blogs and see who they are linking to, who they agree with, quote and tweet, and I get an idea of who’s who. I evaluate where they are on the Christian spectrum. Because we do judge.
This week Ann Voskamp spoke at Allume and her words called me out. These God words she spoke into a hushed crowd of women, gathered to glorify, gathered around a common purpose of having a voice in this blogging world, in this broken world.
What if we cared less about what other people thought and lived grace in the division. What if we didn’t just agree to disagree and step back but rushed in and held tight and allowed God to do what He does best, make the broken whole.
Is it possible without compromising what we hold true?
What if we trusted Jesus’s example and lived the belief that God is big enough to convict, to change hearts, to clarify. If it’s important and we seek Him, will He not be faithful? Is staking our claim a reaction based in the fear that maybe God won’t answer?
Is our futile attempt at creating lines based on the misguided notion that we need to fight for the truth over the expression of love towards our brothers and sisters?
If we could have guilt by association, would not Christ’s blood be tainted? He ate with the sinners, the prostitutes, the tax collectors.
We like to think that He ate with the sinners as a ministry and we feel we can justify engaging with those we don’t agree with as a form of advocacy for our cause or position, but do we really love them? Do we love those who might make us look bad? Might make us look like we’ve got it wrong too. I haven’t.
But sitting there in the conference room, surrounded by a multitude of women with different theology, or demonstrations of faith, I felt a freedom. I’ve been afraid to jump into the ring and write my heart because I don’t want to seem like I’m on a side.I don’t want to alienate my readers who might drop me if they don’t agree.
I don’t know that everyone will extend grace to these words, both fragile and furtive. I don’t know that I can say it all well and not step on toes. But I realize that I want to.
I want to really love.
Love beyond 140 characters and headlines and controversy and issues.
I want to love the people behind the blogs even when I think they sound angry or hurt or wrong. Even when I’m wrong, I want to live in grace and pursue love that doesn’t back down from associating with what we consider the guilty. Because His blood isn’t tainted and it’s the only thing that covers us all.