Monday, July 02, 2007

Care To Dance?

I've had a great stack of library books to read lately. Thought provoking, challenging reads. The latest has been by Sara Miles called Take This Bread. These past few months I feel like my view of God has grown in such a way that it's like a feather pillow has burst its seams and there's no way to gather the pieces up again. The thought alternately thrills me and freaks me out. Reading this book saw even more feathers float through the air. I can either run around and try to gather them up or I can dance with joy in my new surroundings.

The older I get the less desire I have to quibble over matters of faith. If you only knew the energy I've expended in defending right thinking. I don't want to dismiss where I've been on this journey, because it's brought me to today, and I have no desire to use my energy that way anymore. Some days I feel like I'm copping out to say that. Other days I know just how capable I am of being petty about things that, in the end, don't matter.

I write that as if I know, with certainty, what matters and what doesn't. I sometimes fret that not having it in me to squabble and defend means I'm letting Jesus down. Not in an "Oh, sorry, I've dropped You on Your head" way but in the "Am I denying you if I don't want to scrap about You anymore?" sort.

Being active in blog land these past two and half years has stretched me and continues to do so. I don't know if my lack of interest in debating matters of faith is because I don't think I can do it well enough to convince anyone of anything or if it's because I struggle so much to live it out and am unable to convince anyone by my actions. Oh, that smacks of so much navel gazing I'm getting dizzy. [You didn't know gravity could make a belly button that low to the ground now, did you?]

Being active online has helped me embrace Christians I would have written off as unbelievers at one time. People like Sara Miles. Years ago I had a neighbour share with me about her faith. She told me she believed in being inclusive. She said that to me as I sat there with head covering and dress on, not knowing her words would reverberate in my head ever after. Sometimes I worry I'm becoming so inclusive that I shudder.

In the second last chapter of her book, Take This Bread Sara Miles writes about her friends who saw her as someone so different from other Christians they knew they thought she couldn't be a real Christian. Here is what she wrote:
"I knew what they thought: Christians were corny, sentimental, vulgar, embarrassing, intolerant, superstitious, dogmatic, self-righteous, do-goody, obtuse, smug, unsophisticated, and dumb. They thought I wasn't like that, so I couldn't be a 'real' Christian.

But I was like that. I wasn't more enlightened or less enamoured of my own piety or purer. Christianity, if it was all I'd come to believe, demanded that I understand exactly how like everyone else I was. And it was this realization that would not go away, even as I battled with the costs of faith."
The irony is that, as I typed that out, I recognized how enlightened I often think I am because of where I am on the journey. How capable I am of inwardly sneering at the next person because they're exclusive and I'm not. (How exclusive is that?! Lord have mercy.)

I need reminding that I'm like everyone else. Not better than. Nor less than. Just the same. If I could truly grasp what was important and what wasn't I'd most likely be content to embrace our shared likeness.

Whether I'm running around trying to gather up the pieces of who God used to be to me or learning to dance with joy in my new surroundings I need reminding that either way, this journey is never a solo act.


daisymarie said...

So not a solo act. I needed that thought today. I read a lot and thought a lot and tried to process it all...I gave myself a headache...and almost a bad case of heartache as well...

Anonymous said...

I love the feather pillow image, Hope. Wonderful! Apparently, I need a lot of reminding, too.

Poor Mad Peter said...


Tess said...

Have only just read this and I, too, love the feather pillow image. I think that will stay with me for a long time.

beth said...

I read that book (and blogged about it!) and was really moved as well, much for the same reasons as you were...

Great post.