No Filter Friday {Random Thoughts about Football, Church, and Authenticity}

To begin with, a little sports update: 

It’s no secret I’m a Seahawks fan. #gohawks! There’s a very interesting off-the-field development surrounding Marshawn Lynch and his ongoing refusal to talk with the media. I find it befuddling that we flaunt our societal value of authenticity yet criticize Lynch for his silence.  Why does anyone care what the dude has to say? He’s not a politician or a professor–he’s an {introverted} football player. I wonder how many of us would want to give an exit interview after a long day at the office…every day.

And to the surly butcher at the market who practically wielded a knife at me yesterday–I’m truly sorry your Chargers aren’t in the Super Bowl and I know you had more short ribs in the back for someone who isn’t a Seahawks fan. #calmdown

How do you respond to failure? If like me it undoes and flattens you, you must go watch this video of Clayton Kershaw accepting his MVP and Cy Young awards and wait for the very last line. There is much to learn in this speech about vulnerability, honor, humility, team, and the measure of true greatness. Show it to your kids. Tear a page out of his manual for your own life.

Church-y stuff: 

This week I have been in many conversations with my church peeps and a common thread is running through the words–God is at work. The work is deep, sometimes painful, and terribly discomforting. These conversations have helped me to see how quick we are to bandage up wounds that need a deeper healer. God’s work of binding up the brokenhearted is something much more profound than a conciliatory bandaid and a quick kiss on the forehead. He is not about a simple fix but lasting transformation. Stay with Him, friends. I know the work hurts. On the other side of the pain there is healing…there is a Healer.

I read this interview of Erin Lane and was stirred by this quote of hers:

I worry, though, about whether we’re doing enough to interact with people who don’t inhabit our particular lifestyle enclaves. I don’t see many examples of rich involvement in public spaces that are open to strangers and friends alike. That’s one of the unique features of the church, at least right now, that it offers a common space between your private friends and the larger community. I think we’re losing some of those rich public spaces where anyone can show up, regardless of fitness or food preferences or economic status and ability to work.

I see this at work in my own life and it’s giving me considerable pause. What can be done to create more common space and how can we invite people into it in such a way that it offers true welcome and acceptance? I wonder what would happen if we would all just calm down about our differences and be secure enough in our convictions to allow for divergency of preference. Friendship is sterilized when we objectify and classify one another according to camps, shared interests, and common allegiance to the same opinion.

I know it’s the spirit of the age to scrutinize and critique, but suspicion and cynicism do not exactly communicate, “Come on in! We welcome you!” Possibly before we are able to create common space we will have to do the hard work of ridding ourselves of the judgments that shoo away hospitality. It will maybe feel a little risky, unsafe…vulnerable–but we can do this.

That leads me back to my first thought about authenticity. We love authentic people, so long as they look just like us. That kind of authenticity requires no patience, no kindness; no love. If we are compelled at all by the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you” then it might help us if we rephrased this command, “Go find an enemy and make them a friend.” Because after all, that IS how he loved us.

It’s Time for Change {Sexuality and the Church}

If you know me at all, then you know that nothing gets me good and fired up like the topic of sexuality. I think that God gives all of us a wall to watch, a place where we see things others don’t see–we see the beauty that needs to be guarded on the inside and the threats that are approaching from the outside. For me, my wall is sexuality. What it was created to be is so beautiful, but our reality is so broken. So I sit on this wall and some days I lament, other days I fume, but every day I war.

I find myself getting angry over this topic a lot. Just this morning I read how California’s Supreme Court ruled to allow convicted child molesters to frequent parks. What kind of stupidity is this?

See, I’m surrounded by causalities of this war fueled by the sex abuse mindset that our culture has embraced as normal. And because we aren’t doing the hard work of fighting it, there are more and more victims every day. Just so you know, most children view pornography for the first time when they are eight years old. When I was eight, I wasn’t allowed to watch the Love Boat because my dad said, “The men don’t see women the right way on that show.” Well, if that was true, imagine what kind of vision problem pornography is fueling.

I know, this is making you uncomfortable. If you’re even still reading, you’re probably wondering why I keep bringing it up. I’m doing it because we need to wake up from this idea that the brokenness in our understanding of sexuality is someone else’s problem. It is OUR problem and our children need to know this is important to us…they need to know THEY are important to us.

Today, Anne wrote:

Make a ruckus. Make your leaders talk about this.

We are in a fight. We frequently point blame to the media and to pornography and to sex as the enemy. These things, especially sex, are NOT the enemy. Sex is a beautiful thing that we’ve been given to express love to our spouse. The media and pornography are simply tools the enemy uses to break us down, to addict us, to cause us to carry shame instead of strength and hopelessness instead of hope.

Our enemy is Satan. Plain and simple.

(I really encourage you to go read her whole post. Please.)

Make a ruckus. Yes. That is what we need–ruckus makers. Our silence on this matter is deadly. We have to start talking about it. Loudly. Too many have been wounded; we need more warriors. Now.

The next generation needs us to reclaim and revitalize the broken down walls of our sexuality and restore them to the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Kingdom. The work can’t wait. It needs to begin today. It’s rally time.

This conversation isn’t just about sex. Yes, that’s what our culture has made it. But we need to claim it back. The conversation needs to be deeper and wider. It needs to be about robust definitions of men and women that lead to wholeness and holiness. It needs to be about addressing intimacy and belonging needs. It needs to be about addressing loneliness in a way that makes the sex abuse mindset irrelevant and ugly. It needs to be about us understanding Jesus correctly and then mirroring his advocacy with tenacity, strength, and grace in one another’s lives.

Maybe you’re afraid. I am too. But I’m more afraid that we will do nothing than that we will do the wrong thing. Let’s not cover our eyes and pretend the whole thing away. I agree with Anne. Talk to your leaders. Ask them why they are silent. Get educated. (This is why I’m teaching the parenting class on sexual wholeness. Anne has a great list of resources…check them out and gather your tribe.) Talk to your children. Seriously, get the conversation rolling. Pray–fervently.

Will you please do the hard work of climbing up that ladder of discomfort and fear to join me on the wall?  It’s not a rhetorical question. I’m really asking: Will you join me in this? Those on the inside need us. Those on the outside need to know the closer they get, the uglier it’s going to get because we have something beautiful for which we are fighting. For the King and His kingdom!

I will leave you with a Marva Dawn quote: “What liars we are if we see something that should be changed, but don’t really want God to work in us to change it.” 

What to Do When We Can’t Agree {Spurgeon Quotable}

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From Spurgeon The rarest harmonies of music are nothing unless they are sincerely consecrated to God by hearts sanctified by the Spirit. The cleric says, “Let us sing to the praise of and glory of God,” but the choir often … Continue reading

The Problem with the Duck Dynasty Debacle and Why I Cringe

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Do you remember when the seasonal rallying cry of evangelicals was “Put Christ back in Christmas”? If my Facebook feed is any indicator, it looks like this year everyone is preparing to celebrate Philmas. “Bring Back Phil Robertson”—really? Yes, there’s … Continue reading

Tomorrow’s Hallelujah {For When You Feel Weak}

It always begins the same—a thousands specks of light converge above the right eye and break into pierces and prickles of pain coursing through my entire body. Some episodes I can muscle through, others lay me flat, as was the case this last time. From my upstairs bed I can hear the world moving on without me. The boy is bypassing breakfast in favor of Halloween candy from the entryway jar. His dad admonishes him not to slam the door, “Don’t forget, your mom isn’t feeling well.”

How I hate being the wife/mom/friend who doesn’t feel well. For several years now I’ve reluctantly accepted life with this stubborn autoimmune disorder. Because of it I have missed out on things I love. I have also seen the patience and kindness of steadfast love in the gracious care of family and friends. I lay blanketed in the woven mingle of guilt and appreciation…

Read the rest at Pick Your Portion.