Friday, July 23, 2010

A Safe Haven No More

When I was young, too young to remember, our pastor left our church. The drama comes in when several years later, which I do remember, we learned that he had abruptly left his wife and son. He was in the midst of running a Christian school. Fourteen years ago our current pastor arrived. It understandably took a little while to become united with the new family and among ourselves. Once again we are losing our leadership. The difference is I understand this more than I'd like to. I'm well aware of the individual influences within the church, leading to certain decisions. Although I'm here in Nashville going to school First Assembly is my church. It is the family that got me through losing my dad. And it is dissolving right before my eyes. Beyond the injustice I feel personally I see a bigger problem more now than I ever have. We "aim" to bring people into Christianity. We offer them unconditional love and protection from judgement. This is complete B.S. We are the most hypocritical people on this Earth. We may as well have "sin detectors" at the door to keep out those who are not fit to sit on our pews or stand in our pulpit. We reject those who have found a worldly comfort in drugs, alcohol, and sex to fill the hole left from a lack of God. The sad thing? Most of them will never be acknowledged. They are dirty and will only pollute our "righteous" atmosphere. If someone, be it leadership or our fellow Christians, point out such failures we seek to squash any influence they may have. How dare they accuse us of being less than perfect Christians? Does a leadership position mean anything if it is never used for God's benefit? If it is only a tool for manipulating the church into what we desire it to be? It is useless. It doesn't benefit anyone not even the holder of the position. If you are not tested how do you know where you stand? If you are not open to new lessons how will you grow? I don't want to be stagnant. This world is changing at a pace the church cannot keep up with. Our most recognized public leaders blame a nation's sins for their natural disasters. God is only out to punish paganism. Then tell me, why does the US still exist? Why has Louisiana been touched by retribution and not Hollywood or Nashville? Where are the landslides destroying the mega-churches preaching a fake gospel? Spreading the message that God only accepts the perfect and that he always works in blazingly apparent miracles. What happens when God doesn't show you a burning bush and speak openly to you to tell you where to go? What happens when suddenly it's not that easy? We have nothing to offer those in such situations. Doubt is not allowed in our churches. No one who truly has faith would ever doubt. The suffering we experience is only an answer from God to our utter failures.

I'm unhappy. I'm tired of feeling that I must pretend to be perfect when I am not and never will be. And I'm tired of others pretending the same and rejecting any who admit the truth. That we fail. We make mistakes. We sin.

The Rest of Us

Do you feel better now
Feel lighter on your feet
Did you make life easier for yourself

What about the rest of us
Left standing in the dust
We never had a say in any of this

Left to live as you decided
There is no way to hide it
Any doubts? I hope you don't mind them

The verdict made, the deed is done
Is this how you show Christ's love

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Every Girl's Crazy 'Bout a Sharp Dressed

I will happily admit my attraction to older men. Those that are on TV that is. This is important for several reasons. First, the chances of me marrying someone 40 or older is quite slim. For one thing, my parents couldn't even be their parents and I have the "old" parents of my generation. Second, if I saw them in person, my dreams would probably be instantly shattered. With all this being said...Jeffrey Donovan, Mike Rowe, and I have to admit House (not Hugh Laurie himself, but his character) are sexy to me. Thus I would love to see Mike Rowe host SNL. He's hilarious and an ordinary guy who's "not afraid to get dirty." Luckily, there are others who also have such a dream. I don't care if you like him and his show or not. Help a girl out and "like" this page on facebook.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waiting on God

If something seems too good to be true I have found that most often it is. Take for example the lovely little life I have set up for myself for the next year or so. Money has always been tight. Money will probably always be tight. Today I looked at my bank account to see red numbers. The most frustrating part is that a refund check is somewhere between Sallie Mae and my checking account. I wish they would converge already. After class I called my mom to ask about some temporary funding. She has none to give, but my grandmothers are graciously generous. I could tell something was wrong the minute she said hello. Her leg isn't better. The spinal injection didn't work and that puts us right about where we were this time last year. About the time I was making the faithless decision to go to ASU instead of back to Belmont. About the time my mom and I were both asking why all of this had to happen. Here we are again. Only this time I'm not there. I'm in Nashville where I know I am supposed to be. Although feeling certain about that is much easier when all is right with the world. My mom seems so helpless on the phone. Okay, maybe that isn't the best term. She is just strongly opposed to asking for help. Multiple times in the conversation I reminded her she is my only parent. She is all I have. Sure, I have a brother and grandmothers and an uncle and cousins. But the brother is married with kids, the grandmothers are, as harsh as it sounds, nearing the end, and the uncle and his family have each other and lives of their own. Me? I have me. And my mom. Take away her and that leaves me. Just me. Whenever my mom is in danger or not in the best condition, so to speak, I feel incredibly alone. My wedding day flashes before my eyes. No parents of the bride. No mother to cry during the ceremony and then beg for grandkids at the reception. No dad to walk me down the aisle. Then I realize I don't even have a fiancee much less a wedding planned. It seems that everyone in my family and many of my friends are adding to their social network. I feel like mine only works in negative directions. I remember this part of the trial last year. There was an interested guy and I hung on for dear life. I really didn't even like him. But it felt more secure than just dangling over the edge alone.
I don't want to do that again. So this time I cried and asked God in the most convincing way possible to keep my mother healthy. I added an extra clause this time concerning myself. Don't let me create something from nothing. This is when I walked into my room and saw my cat curled up on my bed. This may sound ridiculous, but she is a reminder from God. For years, I begged my parents for a kitten. I already had the name picked out. Chi-Chi. (After the salsa of course.) Each time there was a sign in a pet store window offering kittens I casually led them in and longingly stared at the cage. I always came out empty handed. They had a number of valid reasons. We already had one cat and a chihuahua inside. My mother was strictly opposed to anymore fur living amongst us. My claims of feeding and caring for the kitten were rightly refuted as I had made similar claims for our other three animals with little follow through. About two months after my father died my mother and I walked into a pet store. There were kittens! They had just been brought in and were "on special." I asked to hold one. When the worker opened the cage and asked which one I pointed to a little striped gray one at the very bottom. She was in the middle of a very deep nap. As soon as she was in my arms I was hooked. My mother knew there was no going back. She caved. That day I brought Chi-Chi home.
Even though that seems like such a small scale story to life's bigger problems, Chi-Chi came when I needed her most. Playing with her (and taking care of her) took my mind off losing my dad. She is very much a therapy cat. So this afternoon when I walked in and saw her lying on the bed I knew God was and is in control. I still worry about my mother. I worry about the money. I wonder why God does not see fit to instantly cure my mom's back and fill my bank account with a million dollars. Occasionally, I wonder why God is keeping the guy meant for me out of reach still. The reasons aren't the same as they were in high school. I don't worry that I will never get married and have kids. Instead, I worry about being alone. About losing another parent alone. Then I realize God is always with me and when it is the absolute perfect moment for him to change my life he will. Until then I'll try to keep a lid on the worries and try not to overfeed my cat.