Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My faith journey as of today, 3/20/2012

Years ago, I was so encouraged by a book that I read, and specifically challenged by a particular chapter.  The book, Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan, makes an analogy about walking with Jesus in step with the indwelling Holy Spirit and journeying into the African wilds.  Once one leaves Country A, and before one arrives in Country B and begins that journey into what the author refers to spiritually as "the Holy Wild", there is a safe zone, a no man's land, which the author calls the Borderlands.  In the real world borderlands, people take up residence and live their whole lives in that small, but safe, strip of land between countries.  Pastor Buchanan challenges believers to leave the safety of the predictable spiritual borderlands and head out into the Holy Wild with Jesus.  I love that book!

One chapter especially, The Ethics of a Dangerous Faith, has been especially meaningful to me.  It speaks of how the Pharisees have an ethic of avoidance, not touching anything that might make them unclean.  Jesus, on the other hand, has an ethic of involvement, Buchanan writes, whereby Jesus went to places that were not clean and by his involvement brings healing and wholeness to them.

In my continued zeal to live an ethic of involvement, I got burned.  Not only did I get burned, but I watched as my daughter also got burned.  Her first boyfriend was from an unclean family, shall we say.  Our borderland church didn't want him around, but he seemed to me sincere in his interest in changing his life.  My family rearranged our whole lives to include him, hoping by our involvement, prayers and encouragement to bring healing not only to him but to his family as well.  We found a new church that was more welcoming.  I would get up at 5:30 in the morning on Sundays to meet this kid's mom for coffee and conversation, and then pick up her son for church.  I even home schooled him his last year of school so that he could graduate from high school.

And for awhile, it seemed to "take", so to speak.  Then came a fateful day and a fateful decision on the mom's part, one in which it was plain that she was rejecting a life of faith.  I remained a friend to her, but the writing was on the wall.  Not too long after came the day that her son also chose her lifestyle, going back to his old ways.  I tried to overlook it at first, but eventually there was no denying.  I was no longer being any kind of witness.  I was just an enabler at that point.

So I wisely broke off the relationship, but there was one big problem.  My daughter had fallen in love with the boy.  For another two years she continued to follow after his heart, seeing him against our advice.  He cheated on her, repeatedly, and was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive.  She finally cut him loose for good almost two years ago, but he continues to stalk her.  Every few months, he messages her from a new facebook account that she hasn't blocked, or opens a new email account to contact her. Sometimes he is insulting and ugly, at other times he flatters and tries romance, and on still other occasions he appears as pitiful and tries to stir up her compassion.

Thankfully she's on to him now.  She refuses to respond, but it still takes its toll on her.  He's married and a father now, and he still cyberstalks  my daughter.  I know it's not the "Christian" thing to write, but I hate him.  I don't care what happens to him, and I wish I had never shown him any kindness at all.  I would love to have back all the money and time I poured into trying to be Jesus to that boy and his family.  They sucked us dry and left us all with shattered hearts.

I thought I had found a safe fellowship of believers in which to heal and recover.  I hoped it would be a safe haven for my QF escapee friend and my daughter as well.  It may have been that way when I first started attending, but things sure went downhill in a hurry over the last year or two.  I know the pastor started listening to Mark Driscoll (not a very Lutheran thing to do) .   He's an indirect communicator, so I missed the significance when he dropped this  news.  I didn't even know who Mark Driscoll was yet! But my pastor was trying to tell me that he was a misogynist, and that I wasn't welcome there anymore. I believe his words to me were: "You won't like this, but I am a Mark Driscoll fan."

LOL at myself.  I was just as clueless as when my Plymouth Brethren brother-in-law started name dropping Phil Lancaster.  I guess because I am a woman, who is filled with the Holy Spirit and confident in the love of God for me, that these misogynists think of me as an informed feminist.

Anyway, all this to say, my faith has been discombobulated for some time.  I was/am reassessing everything I know about God, Christianity, the Bible and well, Jesus.  I came across two links yesterday that did my heart much good, so I thought I'd share them:

Mark Buchanan's blog
An interview with Jimmy Carter

I had a wonderful time of fellowship with the Lord today, and it looks like I might even go to church this Sunday.  I am looking for a church that would welcome Jimmy Carter.  Wish me well!  SS

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