Sue Monk Kidd is such an inspiration, and a reminder of a recently flickering passion of mine– that is to say, writing. I have neglected this passion, in general, and certainly in the past few weeks, but I was listening to SMK read Firstlight, and I am compelled to write.

I have no shortage of subjects, or words, for that matter. Like SMK, I am drawn to writing out my spiritual journey, in all of its madness, for the eyes of anyone interested in following, walking in, or sneaking a peak at my existence. Sundays usually spark some inner thinking for me.

I continue to venture to a familiar church for a spiritual fix, and I see myself still struggling with the idea of church. I’m looking for something more than just a church experience. I’m still wandering, really, and while I do not enjoy being without a church, my heart, mind, spirit, and sensibilities cannot handle being a part of another farce. I’ve forgiven the people at that other place because 1) God told me to, and 2) expectations of decency have to be abandoned where character is shunned. Still, as much as I long to have that part of my past ripped from my mind, it unfortunately affects how I view the Christian community or what purports to be some faction of the Christian community.

What is most disappointing about the whole tragic experience is to see how little truth and honesty are valued among supposed Christ followers. I’ve come to understand and expect that the words that come from the mouths of most people are not to be trusted at all. This is not a pleasant way to live, to expect that pastors will be predators, friends will fail, and loves will lose their minds and morals. I have been surprised, in both good and terribly disappointing ways, but what I want is to believe again in “the Jesus in the people” that cross my spiritual path.

That idea, “the Jesus in people,” is one that my estranged LKW introduced me to. I believe with every fiber of my being that the Jesus in anyone can do incredible and surprising things. I cannot believe, however, that Jesus or the spirit of Jesus is in everyone that claims Him. Nor do I believe that the spirit of Jesus is always accessed by those of us who call Him “Lord.” I know in my own life, the spirit of Jesus is sometimes hard to find, depending on the day and the circumstance, so I don’t suppose I should be as unsettled as I am. After all, we are all fallible, we all fall short of the glory of God, we all suck sometimes. I guess I’m just looking to be around people that don’t enjoy sucking, who aren’t satisfied with always falling short, who have a clear understanding that the grace of God does not mean we (or He) turn a blind eye to our failures, but instead that we seek to love Him with our whole heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, and when we inevitably fail to do all of that, He loves us anyway.

I recently had an unpleasant experience with one of my “church” neighbors. I have to admit, I was shocked by what I termed caustic behavior,  and I was disappointed in her unneighborly way because it was not at all characteristic of my past experience with her.  I crave truth, and however disappointing an experience it was, I was grateful that the blinders have been removed from my eyes. But I have come to understand, by the grace of God, that it is not she who is being unneighborly at all. I am the one who was not loving my neighbor appropriately. It is my job, my obligation to see that, regardless of what is done to me,  I am to care for those around me with the same love I pray God showers on me. That’s what neighbors (in the Biblical sense) do. What’s more, that is what the Jesus in me expects.

This recent experience was necessary for me at just this time. Crappy behavior is everywhere, at every church, so if I’m looking for the crapless church with the crapless people (with the crapless commute?), my search will be long and arduous. What has to be different, this time and from now on, is how I react, how I understand, and how I deal with what is presented to me. So for now, I’ll keep venturing to the church, but I’ll carry with me the idea, the goal, of being a good neighbor, of loving what I think is unlovely, and of trying not to suck as much as I did yesterday.  That’s where I am…today.

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