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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

C.S. Lewis makes me smile

In and other uncomfortable topics, Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Thoughts on Christianity on October 7, 2013 at 12:02 am

I love The Chronicles of Narnia. I return to those stories at least once a year. They refresh me. Therefore, I have always had great respect for the author, C.S. Lewis. He was a great writer, a great thinker, and a great Christian. He did radio broadcasts in Britain during World War II to help keep the morale of the British up. His books are mainstays for theologians, apologists, and anyone looking to find out more information about Christianity. He married late in life, and his wife died after a prolonged struggle with cancer. In the days and weeks after her death, he kept journals.

Oddly, these journals are the things that have made me smile.

Lewis later published these journals under the title A Grief Observed. He grapples, transparently and despairingly and courageously, with the loss of his beloved wife and the delicate nature of his faith in God. Lewis says things that many people are too scared to admit about faith.

But go to Him [God] when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited?

Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘so there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

And, I smile not because his wife, Joy, is dead. I smile not because he is suffering in these pages. I smile because his path of grief that is so sharp and so different from anything I have ever known, reminds me that I am not alone. His grief reminds me that sweeping away my feelings and telling myself to buck up, man up, and put on my big girl panties is nothing. The missive “hold on to God’s unchanging hand” is not something that I have to do. I believe in God, but I think that anyone who tells me to hold on to His unchanging hand doesn’t quite understand. God does not change, true enough. But, what I understand about God changes. I cannot hold on to His hand…that is a part of the journey of being human and separate from God, yet with the ability to unite myself with Him.

My faith, in plain speak, is shattered and it has been for some time. I am thankful to God, I love God, I believe in God, I appeal to God, I worship God. But, I no longer understand what it means to be a Christian. But, surely I am a Christian–I believe that Jesus died on a cross to make right all my sins.

In this world of church politics and genocide and Twitter and great poverty thrown against great wealth—-no. Let me cut straight to the chase rather than do this whole poetic list. Between church politics and my stance on LGBT issues and my (bleeding heart liberal) politics in general……..I’m just not sure where I fit anymore.  Like Lewis, I’m not afraid that I will quit believing in God or Jesus. I’m afraid that I will realize, ‘This is what it meant to be Christian all along.’ And, then where will I be? A woman who believes in the Creator, in God, in Christ, in the cleansing of sin, in eternal life….but without Christianity? Without church? That’s blasphemy or something like it.

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down. (–C.S. Lewis)

And, I smile. My faith is knocked down. I am winded. I am feeling alone. But, I am still moving. I feel alone, but I know that I am not. I smile. I am in the process–and if even a man like Lewis got mired for weeks and weeks I know now not to despair at being mired for months and months. Maybe what I have been involved in and what I have given myself to for all these years has not really been Christianity, but only my understanding of Christianity that looked very much like Christianity but just wasn’t. Maybe Christianity means something that I don’t quite understand yet. Here is one of the shortest, strongest, and truest sentences in A Grief Observed:

I NEED CHRIST, NOT SOMETHING THAT RESEMBLES HIM.

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Lovely Tears

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Thoughts on Christianity on November 28, 2012 at 5:00 am

Today was that day.

That day that left me in tears. I believe that tears are cleansing. When I cry, I have to consider why I am crying and then I either have to face it or ignore it. My tears are a direct expression coming out of me of some emotion. The most important question:  how did I get to this emotional place? (Today I was too concerned with physical surroundings and atmospheric factors. In other words, today was a day full of chaos, clutter, and few accomplishments. )  The next question: how can I avoid this place (or, revisit if the emotion is positive. Today, however, it was ALLLLLL bad)? (I need to be at peace within myself).

After asking those two questions, I make my plan for tomorrow. (I need to be concerned about God and other permanent things rather than things that either time or personal effort can change. No matter what my body is doing, I need to keep my mind stayed on God, however, I need to be spirit-led, rather than body led). Tomorrow’s plan inevitably means learning from today’s tears.

I close-out with a pep-talk (on top of some great music). Today, I reminded myself that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal; that there is a time for all things; that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; that I am in this place but not of it; that for some reason beyond my comprehension, God saw fit to shed innocent blood for my life and that indicates that I have a purpose. I am praising God right now for giving me the clarity of mind to learn from today, and I am thankful for THIS lesson even as I am hopeful for a better tomorrow.

But, more than anything else, I remember that only three things can take me through to tomorrow: faith, hope, and love. But, the most important thing is love. I need to wake up tomorrow and LOVE: love God, love my parents, love my friends, love my colleagues, love studying, love my job.

Church Refugees

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Thoughts on Christianity on November 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I know you are out there. Maybe like me, you’ve been a part of church for a while. Maybe like me, you’ve been Christian for a while. Maybe like me, you believe that your relationship with Jesus Christ is the most profound and affecting and effective relationship you have.

Maybe like me, you are not actively involved in a church. I am not going to go into all the details, but I truly do feel like a refugee from the church (notice I say “church” meaning the gathering of people, rather than Church meaning the body of Christ). There was too much going wrong, too much pain for me to remain where I had come to feel at home. So, I left. No one put me out. No one asked me to leave. I left.

And, I felt lost. To be sure, I had arrived in a new place. A place of quiet. A place of predictability. A place, honestly, of sleeping in on Sunday morning.

But, surely, that couldn’t be right. I could not and should not feel at peace. I was worried about finding church again before I lost my way.

Today, this song reminded me that all things come together for His Glory–even though I may question why and how. His answer is just watch and pray. I was reminded that since I have left church, I have found Christians and Christ-lovers in all kinds of places. Since I have left church, I have new ways to talk to people about the love and grace and acceptance that all find in Christ. Today, God sent me a quiet message that I need only keep my eyes on Him and give others the compassion, kindness, and love that He has filled me with.

It’s not about finding church, it’s about being a part of the body of Christ. I have no doubt at this point that someday I will find myself in a church again. But, for today, I am listening to the voice that leads me. For today, I am His and I am enjoying this place of renewal and peace and quiet. For today, I am loving the family and friends that I am surrounded with. For today, I am at home in Him.

Maybe like me, you needed to hear that, too. We are not refugees because we have never left behind what we know to be true.

Political Manifesto…or just words

In Encouragement, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Thoughts on Christianity on October 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

(An edited and expanded version of an FB post of mine)

I have recently been very disturbed and disappointed by the social media words of fellow Christians. Particularly, some of the opinions of Christians regarding the upcoming presidential election are dismaying. Now, I don’t claim to speak for all Christians. I am, however, speaking for my own understanding of Christianity based on….welllll, based on my relationship with Jesus and the words of the Bible.

First, I believe that politics often distracts us from the real issues. I’m saying that WHATEVER issues the media is telling us are important are likely NOT the key issues. Equality is what matters. What matters is that America is a nation founded on the principle that every person should have the chance, regardless of nature or choice, to reach his/her full potential. Period. Each person is entitled to his or her beliefs regarding abortion and same sex marriage. My point is this: how does the occurrence of either one affect your personal beliefs? I have never had an abortion, and would not choose to get one if it could at all be avoided. My personal choice, however, is not changed by another woman making a different choice.

Having a law that bans abortion (or anything else) will not make life better. We don’t get brownie points in the Book of the Lamb if these laws get passed. I love these words from Galatians 3

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse,as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Second, for those of you contemplating not voting in the upcoming election: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? America is great and is becoming greater as our citizenry becomes more diverse. Your failure to vote is not some sort of personal protest; it is rather one less vote in ballot box.

Third, for those of you contemplating voting for or not voting for POTUS Obama because of his race: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Neat-o. So glad to know that things have changed so much since the Civil War. Moreover, good job on doing your research about a candidate’s stance on key issues. I’m sure because your race matches your candidate’s race that your beliefs and his match completely. Life works that way. All the time.

Fourth, for those of you waiting for your church to tell you which way to vote: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? I read these words once: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Your vote is yours; the government is His. Believe me, the Good Lord is not going to snatch back your salvation based on the candidate for whom you vote.