Us and them

I had a revelation last Sunday. I was singing in the choir for a friend’s ordination to the Anglican priesthood. There was incense. There was liturgy. There was lots and lots of heartbreakingly beautiful music. And as I was singing it, I was thinking, “Ha, at least believe what I’m singing.” You know, like that post I posted a little while ago?

And then I think God slapped me round the back of the head. “How the heck do you know,” He said, “that everyone else here doesn’t believe it too? Yes, INCLUDING all those other choir members over there who make risqué jokes and live together OUT OF WEDLOCK.”

“Um,” I said, “you know, I actually don’t.”

“And,” He said, “I suppose you never do anything wrong, like them.

“Um,” I said, “touché.”

“Remember that bit,” He said, “about ‘In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female’?”

“Yeah…”

“How about, no Anglican or Apostolic, gay-marriage-supporting or non-supporting, liberal or conservative?

“In fact, how do you know if someone is ‘In Christ’ or not? Only I know that. Therefore, this applies to EVERYONE.

“You ready for this?”

(Actually, God didn’t say that bit. I just need a dramatic pause before the punchline.)

“THERE IS NO THEM. THERE IS ONLY US.”

I was rendered literally breathless by the force of this revelation. It’s probably old hat to some of you who’ve been close to Jesus for longer than I have, or who are just smarter than me.

There is no right-wing and left-wing. There are people who, like me, care about their children’s future, and about the health of those worse off. There is no rich and poor. There are people who, like me, have food to eat every day, and people who, like me, worry about how to afford all the things their family needs. There is no gay and straight. There are people who, like me, can’t always help loving people they can’t ever be with, and people who, like me, are blessed to have someone wonderful to live and share a bed with.

I am absolutely NOT saying there is no sin. But sinners, like me, sin. And try to do better next time. Or, like me, don’t.

I feel like a different person, on the inside. Let’s see if it makes a difference on the outside.

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WHY are we WAITing…

We are suffoCATing!

It’s very hard waiting for things. Especially when you’re four and what you’re waiting for is your best friend’s fifth birthday party. She’s been counting sleeps since we got the invitation. Now we’re counting hours, and singing Hickory Dickory Dock, which I didn’t know was a counting song. We’re up to “the clock stroke [sic] three” for the second time now… she got a bit lost at eight and started over.

Where do we draw the line between waiting for things to happen and going out and making them happen? It gets especially complicated when we believe in following the will of God. Those of us who have learnt passivity as a life approach (because that way we avoid disapproval, and we can blame the outcome of any action on the active person we have become dependent on) have to be very careful of this.

God quite often asks of us the thing we find hardest, and asks us to give up the thing we value most. Look at Abraham and Isaac! To those people who habitually charge into things and leap into the unknown with verve and aplomb, God will often say – Wait. For those of us who are more likely to want to be told what to do and won’t do things until we’re certain we’re doing the right thing, God will sometimes say – What do you want to do? Go do it, and I’ll make it work. Or – What’s in front of you? Do it as if for Me.

I have seen God lead people into failure, where they have followed what they believed was His will, hit a brick wall and crash. I have seen people sit there on the pile of broken bricks and scrape themselves Job-like with potsherds for years. Does that mean the failure was God’s will? Perhaps it was. Perhaps God asks us to give up the success that we think we deserve, because it is the thing most precious to us.

Does that mean the potsherd-scraping is God’s will too? I don’t know. Job never got an answer to his questions, but he did get his life restored. Lucky Job. But he didn’t get the same kids back who had died.

What if Job had gotten off his pile of bricks and gone looking for labouring work? Would God still have restored his life?

What if you think you’re Job but actually you led yourself into failure (because you didn’t try, try again when you first failed) and now you’re just sulking?

How can you tell the difference?

I have posted in the past (here) about this feeling of stuck-ness and being skipped over. I have now gone ahead and made decisions about what I want to do with my life without any feeling of ‘calling’ about it, but with the belief that if God doesn’t want me to do this, he’ll stop me. Until then, I’m going to do what interests me and what I’m good at.

I still fight with my inner passivity, which I am coming to recognise as a subtle form of aggression and self-defence (though I may change my mind about that when I actually get round to doing those clinical psyc papers and am not just basing my understanding on a smattering of pop psychology, some undergraduate tangentially-related courses and three counselling sessions dealing with migraine phobia). I’ll keep you all posted.

Soul Mates? REALLY??

There’s no such thing. And as this article says, nothing has produced more unhappiness than searching for one.

I love watching Castle. I love the chemistry between Castle and Beckett. It’s hyper-real. And then I go and sort out the house, brush my teeth and go to bed with my husband, and really, good enough is good enough. Good enough to last forever.

You know, when God created the world, he never said things were “Perfect.” He said “Good. Very good.”

That’s good enough for me.