Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Detoxing of a Pharisee



I have had an interesting life journey.

I was born into the home of a Southern Baptist preacher. I was on the "Cradle Roll" in the nursery. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, it simply means I was probably spending my first Sunday in the church nursery before my umbilical cord had time to fall off.

My parents are truly amazing people. They actually live their lives like the Jesus that they believe in. They are the real deal. I can't tell you how many times we helped people who were likely ignored by others. My mother's faith that God would provide - always - is still beyond comprehension. It's faith. True, hard-core faith. I've watched her pray for a bicycle when her car broke down, only to find an actual car in the driveway. A gift. No, really.

They love everyone. They judge no one. I have watched them fully embrace every other human without trying to fix them. They never charge into the details of a person's life unless explicitly invited. They are love.

I went to a small Southern Baptist college. I married a Southern Baptist minister. Yet, I think everyone can agree I have always been "me." I have always questioned and doubted and pushed to find answers for myself. When I caught myself just listening and regurgitating, I would eventually dig my way out of it. It happened. Plenty.

When we went to visit what would become our new church home in Oklahoma, I stood in front of a sanctuary full of people and said, "I will most definitely disappoint you. I'm human. I don't play piano. I'm a little funky. I may not be able to meet some of the expectations many churches have for their pastors' wives. I may not be what you're hoping for." I will never, for the rest of my life, forget how many people came up afterward and hugged me. Many with tears. Thanking me and saying, "We want someone real. We can relate to that. We want that." That little church had its issues, like they all do (cause they're full of humans!), but I have never been more fully accepted and more fully loved exactly. the. way. I. am.

Much to their chagrin, it was their love and their acceptance that gave my husband and I space to understand exactly how we were supposed to be living out our lives. It was going to look very different from how it had always been and it had nothing to do with the institutionalized church. It was going to be messy and complicated and risky. Many of those sweet people sent us on our way with a tight hug and a look on their faces that said, "We're pretty sure you have lost your ever-lovin' mind, but we sure love you!" We understood their concern, but are still so grateful for their blind encouragement.

And here we sit. In the middle of the country. Running an RV park. Filling our lives with the world. Never happier. Still growing.

The one question I continue to hear in recent years?

"You never blog about your faith anymore. Why is that?"

I understand the question. I used to say a lot of spiritual things. I could connect a verse of scripture or a proverb to virtually every post I write (I'm goooood, y'all). I am a gifted speaker, and back in the day was also a gifted pray-er. I can lead a room full of people into lots of "Mmm Hmmm" and "Amens" and "Yes Lords." I'd love to say that it was all genuine, but some days it was absolutely for my own self satisfaction. I'm not proud of it. I knew that I was "blessing" others, so I justified it. I have a way with words. I enjoyed the feedback. It made me feel that I appeared more spiritual, even when I wasn't feeling terribly spiritual.

So, I detoxed from it and have no intention of going back. For me. For my validity.

Why don't I blog about my faith and/or beliefs anymore?

Actually ... I do. Every single day.

For the first time, I'm being truly authentic. I'm living my life based on many things I still hold true (and many I have walked away from). What do you read here? What do you see? Who am I?

I blog what I believe more than I ever have. I understand that some of you want more. That's how we do things in our society. We want to draw hard lines in the sand religiously and spiritually to form teams. You won't get that from me anymore.

In the last three years I have been called liberal, emergent, dangerous, pagan, luke-warm, lesbian, moderate, agnostic, new age ... the list goes on. It also gets very entertaining. And by "entertaining" I mean: "What the hell?" If I had a dollar for every time someone comments or links to me by first saying, "I don't agree with everything you say, but ..." I'd buy the world a cocktail.

Hmmm. That one always interests me, because it has never, ever been said to my face. But that's another post for another day!

So, I thought I'd take a minute to just set the record straight.

I am no label.

I am Christine.

My gospel is love.

The end.






(photo by Exceptional Living - I highly recommend following her on FaceBook!)

17 comments:

Dennis Nesser said...

It's funny, because as I struggle with organized religion in my own journey I always come back to one thing, and that's when Christ gave us our commandments He told us to do 2 things, love God, and love our neighbors.

The man I was 7 years ago judged everyone who walked in my presence. Honestly back then I'd of never given you a chance based on looks. And while I'd be lying to say I never judge anyone any more, I've learned that the whacky Moers lady at the trailer park sometimes has more to teach me about myself and Christ then the pastor on Sunday morning. I've learned that my reaction to someone who just walked into my life might be what I need to contemplate and ask God for help with (more why did I judge instead of love than anything).

There is no doubt what you have on this blog is a ministry. Regardless of what you call it. You ask people to open up their minds and to love. Love themselves and love others. Both children and adults. You make people uncomfortable at times, and at other times you make them feel like they are in their mothers arms with coziness. I think there was a pastor 2000 years ago that is smiling at what you do today.

No you don't use the same words that the 'mainstream' pastors do to make your point, but you do it in deed.

Keep up the good work!!!

God Bless
Dennis

ali said...

you forgot to list " watered down christian"(my favorite) HA!

Erika said...

You are such a gift. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you.

lana said...

I LOVE you and you will never know how your authentic life has changed and encouraged me.

T & T Livesay said...

Hey! You can't win C. I have a guy that tells me occasionally that he "likes the blog but sure would lime to see you give God more glory!" - I cannot pass his Christian test unless I say a lot Jesusy things on every post.

I have been on the recieving end of the mother-load of your love (as have my kids) and I think you are amazeballs!!!

Recovering Noah said...

You know I've been waiting for this blog post, right? =)

Leslie

Teri H said...

Wow! I love this! I've been struggling with "corporate church" for a little while now... and I went to HPU too (I think that's where you went?). God continues to show me how I love Him by loving others. And not judging others. I just love this post! And you and your authenticity!

CT said...

Amen Sista;)
~Chelsea

Cathy said...

Amen!

The Lundys said...

Did she say amazeballs? Like! Funny you posted today here too. After hating you for a year (for a book recommend) and processing through that, we kinda turned a corner today and realized huh, we're kinda already doing that thing we're looking for. Maybe it's not so much findable as doable. Can't quite use words yet, but it's swimming around in our heads now anyway. :)

a Tonggu Momma said...

I think you are one of the most amazing people I have ever been blessed to meet. Even though it was brief. Christianity isn't easy, but it IS simple; it's religion and (often) our own spiritual expectations of ourselves and others that create the mess.

KimB said...

Oof! I love this post. I still write, talk, speak in Bible verses from time to time. I married a pastor's son, went to Bible school. We still attend an uber-conservative Christian church, but you and I see the world quite similarly at this point. All of those things I listed have brought me to where I am, have defined me to some extent. But I stop being effective if I make those things define others around me as well. May we have the grace to love as completely as Christ would have. May that still be our greatest commandment. Thanks, as always, Christine.

Tereasa said...

Wow. We left the institution last summer. It has been quite a journey. (We even thought about buying an R.V. park, ha.)

Naturally Alive said...

Amazing. This is me. Just how I feel. Im a new reader, and cant put down the ipad! :) thanks sister!

Janet Oberholtzer said...

I'm months late on this post, but I just found it today and I love it!
I hate labels and refuse to wear them anymore, so I love your ending.

peace...

Cheryl said...

Aha...

Kassie said...

Christine, my husband and I recently stumbled onto your blog whilst searching for some help/reassurance/support about adoption & RAD. (We adopted our two boys ~3 years ago from foster care.) I have spent the last three days first randomly reading some of your posts about therapeutic parenting, and then I started reading every post from newest backward in time, but I found that somewhat discombobulating, so now I have begun reading every post starting January 2012. I've made it to here (not very far into 2012) before feeling (so) compelled to comment that I had to stop and do that, so here it is: THANK YOU FOR THIS BLOG!!! For yourself, for your journey, for putting it all out there, for all of it. I feel like you're writing some of exact struggles of my life (only more eloquently). Thank you for that, too--for helping me remember that I'm not the only person alive with these issues. I'm only sad we didn't find our way here sooner, and that we missed Sexuary 2013 already (although, I suppose it's never too late!). Again...thank you, thank you, thank you for what you're doing here. --KH