But Jesus called for the parents, the children, and his disciples to come and listen to him. Then he told them, “Never hinder a child from coming to me. Let them all come, for God’s kingdom realm belongs to them as much as it does to anyone else. They demonstrate to you what faith is all about. –Luke 18:16 (The Passion Translation)
My mom asked me last week if I thought therapy was helping me. She never said that she’d read my blog on Lenten Lament; but I think it was her way of commenting…
Love you, Mama!
And I’ll answer here what I told her: Yes. Therapy has helped. Tremendously. However, the blindside-triggering still happens. So, part of my soul care is to avoid certain known triggers.
Like evangelical churches.
Honestly, I always knew there were other Christian churches–Catholic churches, Liturgical churches, Charismatic churches, Fundamentalist churches–I just thought they all read the Bible in the same way. I didn’t know there were other credible ways to read the Bible, and that other churches used other hermeneutics to interpret Scripture.
My husband has told me in our great faith-shifting that he thinks I’ve always been a Christian universalist–my faith is in the teachings of Jesus and I use the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures; but I value all people and all faiths. He believes this because while I only had the evangelical way of interpreting the Bible, my heart of mercy always believed that God was bigger than many of those evangelical doctrines. I’ve always believed the Good News of Jesus–that ALL would be drawn to Christ. One of our favorite bumper stickers we’ve seen is: At our church ALL are welcome. And by ‘ALL,’ we mean ‘SOME.’ At least it’s honest. But, the ‘all’ in the Bible means just that: ALL. There’s no caveat. There’s no ‘except.’
However, we ALL have our ‘excepts.’ (see what I did there? Read on for more…) Some of us don’t want the ‘all’ to mean people who identify as Republican … or Democrat … or LGBT+ … or differently-abled … or different race … or different beliefs.
Common denominator: Different.
If we’re honest, we want the ‘ALL’ of the Gospel message to mean people-who-don’t-make-me-uncomfortable … people-like-me. I’m there with you honest-folk. I’d rather believe that I’ve got all the ‘right’ theology, and ‘they’ do not.
And that’s where we all go wrong–‘us’ vs. ‘them.’
I co-lead a Bible study, and this past Wednesday before I taught the lesson, I held space for a few moments of silence for the 17 people who died in the Florida school shooting. I explained to the women in my study that we have people on all sides of the gun debate in our group. And that none of us have the answers. But before we cavalierly spout off our opinion because we’re angry, or someone else’s opinion made us angry, let’s listen. Psychologists call anger a ‘secondary emotion,’ meaning that often anger protects our more vulnerable emotions. Like humiliation, hurt, rejection … fear.
I hear fear in the voices of the students, parents, teachers, gun advocates, anti-gun advocates. We need to learn to honor that fear. Perhaps even use that fear as our common ground.
Remember that we’re all in this together. Don’t we all want what’s best, not just for ourselves, but for others as well? None of us know what ‘best’ looks like on our own. We need to listen, and decide a wise course of action. Arming teachers, using military vets as security guards, banning all guns (which I haven’t heard anyone say seriously), blaming parenting skills, or (and I believe this is the worst of them all) angrily telling the students affected by the shootings to, ‘Shut up and sit down” or dismissing their outrage as immature angst are all ‘secondary answers’ to a complicated problem. I’ve heard people say that banning AR15 weapons won’t stop the problem. They’re probably right. However, we have to start somewhere. And then add to the solution.
Instead of demanding that we have an airtight solution before we take any action, can we just agree to start with an imperfect policy, and then grow into better policies? Please, our children are scared.
I welcome comments! Please keep them respectful and constructive.