We often read things about the blessed peacemakers. But when it came to broken people being exploited by the Church, the compassion of Jesus often presented as outrage. Jesus could be volatile in the face of injustice. He constantly reacted out of great compassion toward those in need of messy grace and radical hope.
I’m not Jesus. And for good reason. What would your #25 be?
The story of the Prodigal Son is a clear promise that God will restore the wasted years. It’s my favorite story in the whole Book, because we are so clearly able to see God running toward us with messy grace. Check out this #ThrowbackThursday clip!
I don’t think there’s anything anyone can truly say to make any of this better. I certainly have no power to stop senseless killings or to change hardened hearts.
Here’s the truth: I am angry with you. I am discouraged, too. Like many of you, I want to bury my head in the sand or stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes and just scream. I want all of this to go away. I don’t want it to be true.
But friends, it is true. And it isn’t going away.
Growing up in the Evangelical tradition, I was scared to death of denying Jesus. Countless times, I heard sermons preached on the end of the world. I grew up in the days of the Left Behind series, which was like our own personal Christian horror story. I was talking about the series with a friend recently, who said, “I feel like that series would make the perfect Christian drinking game.”
I was six when a book was published with 88 reasons Jesus was coming back in 1988. It didn’t happen, but I still heard the End of Time sermons around it. For at least the first twenty years of my life, I fully expected the trumpet to sound at any time and Jesus to come bursting through the clouds on a white horse, somewhere above Atlanta. That was about as far east as I could fathom. I imagined the end of the world looked something like a combination of the Holocaust and The Walking Dead. I had heard “Midnight Cry” enough times to know “the dead in Christ” would rise, but what about all the others, the ones who weren’t in Christ? Would they be roaming the streets too?
I’m divorced. Well, not really. I’m now married. Happily, with five kids. But I have been divorced, or, more appropriately, have gone through a divorce. There’s a difference.
The past does not define us. Divorce, in particular, is not a label.
Many Christians disagree. Many Christians deem divorce the mark of death, the breaking of God’s covenant, the dreaded scarlet letter. It’s one of those ‘sins’ that is given greater weight than others – like, you know, killing people, being gay, having loads of premarital sex – and, likewise, damns those who go through it to raw ditch pits and hellfire.
My clients were concerned. When they couldn’t reach me, they called first my wife, and then the hotel. I was lying on my back, unconscious, covered in vomit, when the police and EMT’s found me. They thought it was a murder scene. Vomit covered the bed and the floor. It had projected up the wall behind me, and coated a massive picture that hung over the bed. Apparently the pink Benadryl pills, along with the tens of thousands of milligrams of other medication I took, created the effect of blood. I had been unconscious for a solid ten hours by then.
*Trigger Warning: This story contains graphic details of child molestation.* To be a christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God forgave the inexcusable in you. -C.S. Lewis I was twelve when my dad left my mom. To be honest, I really don’t remember what life was like before the divorce. I don’t remember the […]
I was supposed to be pregnant. After years of waiting, I’d carried a baby just nine weeks before a miscarriage upended everything I ever thought I believed about the way God works. We deserve to be parents! I would yell at the sky. My husband and I were as devoted to one another as we were to God. God had no right to take my baby from me. He owed me big time.
If this was a test, I was failing.
That year I was bitter, angry, weepy, uncertain. Every time I entered God’s presence, I did not find peace or hope or patience. Instead, I came face to face with my own biting disappointment, and the God who had let me down.
Do you remember the iconic scene from Forrest Gump, when Forrest tells the woman on the bench next to him, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” At 25, I had my entire life planned out. Whom I would marry, how many children I would have, my career, the car I would drive, the places I would travel. It was glorious. I thought I would only pick the chocolates I liked.
Cancer upended it all. In the ugly packaging of cancer came my greatest joy.