A Post Evangelical Millenial and a Pastor walk into a Coffee Shop….

There are many things swirling around currently, and I think they all center around simple things with unknown consequences: hard conversations, confrontations, and heartfelt communication. Much of it can be expressed and addressed as far as my own actions. But it is the actions of others that I cannot control, a reality that is freeing, and, for an affirmation starved people-pleaser, somewhat terrifying.

But, as I am getting better at honestly expressing my opinions and feelings, I realize that such expressions have consequences. Thankfully, I am getting closer and closer to caring less about the opinions of others and more about living a risk averse, constricted life.

So, I’m just going to come out and say it. At this moment, knowing what I know now and seeing what I’ve seen, I find it increasingly harder to see Christ in American Christian culture. In my mind, I wish I could meet up with the personal embodiment of American evangelical Christian culture and ask the following questions:

1.) What is WITH your culture’s obsession with women getting married and having babies? Why do you act as if we’ve imbibed the FemiNazi Kool-Aid when some of us say that we’re not sure about either one or decide forego them both?

2.) When it comes to current affairs (especially those political) seen as a “spiritual issue”, and your political involvement part of the “spiritual battle” for the soul of the country? And why when such efforts are unsuccessful, are you so prone to a fatalistic response of resignation, as evidenced in comments like, “God changes hearts”. If God changes hearts, then why are you so devastated when laws aren’t changed?

3.) Why is respectful enforcement of the Golden Rule towards unbelievers (yes, that includes those of other faiths and atheists also) seen as a sign of our impending apostasy?

4.) Why are you so willing to be covered in the muck, dust, and trash of another country but so resistant to dig into the glorious ruins of your own backyard you call home?

5.) Why are my questions taken as quarrelous attacks, my wonderings as a sign of faithless wander and my desire for discussion seen as demonic division?

6.) Why do you speak in code? What is difficult about saying what you believe, feel, and think without invoking the Holy Trinity or the “God’s will” stamp of approval? How does this spread the gospel and make it more accessible?

7.) Why are you so afraid? Are you afraid of the possibility that listening to another’s story will invalidate yours? What is at stake for you if you’re wrong? Is it everything? Is it nothing? Or is it somewhere in between?

8.) How (and why) did you forget that the very world that hated Christ and killed Him was (and still is) the same world that God loved (and still loves) enough to redeem?

9.)Why does extending grace and compassion often invoke fear of anarchy and unrest? Why is having mercy on others often feared as implicitly justifying sinfulness? Does it matter if we’re not the Lawgiver and Judge?

10.) Are you avoiding my questions because you’re uncomfortable with them, or because you’re uncomfortable with the actions that must be taken in the answers?

I suspect that I would probably get the “you poor confused” person look….

What do you Really Want?

This blog has meant to be the chronicles of a Christian single woman and her quest to live in a way to completely remove the social stigma of the term spinster, but somewhere along the way (namely, in the past year)I have come to conclusion that such a goal is not only a fruitless pursuit but not a worthy pursuit of my time and energy, especially given the fact that I simply have become more and more apathetic to the idea of living my life according to others(read: society and yes, even other Christians’) expectations. It really came down to a simple question:

 
  What do you want?
 
Not what your family wants. Not what your friends want. Not even what the world/society/church thinks you want. What do YOU want?
 
And when I actually allowed myself to answer those questions, I realized that my actions in answering those questions would be different and affect the relationships around me, not to mention exposing what I really believed and valued about my life and the world.  
 
As a result, you’ll find that there are more posts expressing my dreams, using my gifts to enrich the environments around me, and no longer hiding my true nature to pacify the insecurities of others. 
 
So I know what I want now. What happens next after I go for it is an adventure I embrace…

Good Morning, Rejection, You’ve Been a Faithful Friend

Good morning rejection,

It’s good to see you again

Thank you for showing me

that you’re a steady friend

who I can always count on seeing

no matter what I do

You especially show  yourself when

it comes to the ugly truth

 

By now I’ve come to see you

lurking in pauses and silences

laced in phrases of back-handed compliments,

“You’ll be a great wife/mother one day”

“You’re such a great sister”

I used to be annoyed by your presence

it grew to silent toleration instead

now that I’m seeing you again this time

I’ve realized that you’ve been my one true friend.

Your handiwork has left a few blows, but they’re now

a scarred tattoo around my heart

It seems that no matter how much time has passed

we never spend that much time apart.

 

So I appreciate your timing and the consistency of your stay

Because you’ve finally gotten through to me

that things will always be this way.

 

 

Exploring Option 1: Joining A Convent

In my last post, I discussed the different ways I could embrace life solo. One of them included joining a convent. Consequently, I realized that such a decision would mean that I would have to make several sacrifices to get to that point. In preparation of transitioning into that life, I realize that I must be willing to let go of certain thing to get to that point.
As such, I realized that I should probably create a list of things to do before I get into the convent, such as:
-deactivate all my online dating memberships
-settle all my financial debts and detach myself from my possessions
-plan times for visits by friends and family.
-embrace solitude.

Updates to follow.

Giving Thanks: A Transition

On this day, I would like to give thanks to every one of my exes (and single men of America) for all the experiences you’ve given me. Every painful and precious  one.  Thank you for your thoughtless comments and thoughtful gestures, the ugly truths and lovely lies. Thank you for showing me what it means to when you’re all in and what it means when you’re on the way out. I appreciate your selfishness and overriding concern for self protection. You have shown me the consequences of being vulnerable and the importance of boundaries, as well as how to take others for granted.

I am grateful for every single expression of “You’re great, but…”, in word and deed. Every indifferent and passive rejection of who I am, every dashed expectation and cowardice has made me stronger.  Thanks to all of you, my heart is tough and leathery where it needs to be and tender in others. I am indebted to each of you because of what you’ve taught me:

You’ve taught me to trust my instincts.

You’ve taught me to be cold, rational, and calculating when it comes to relationships, and to keep my feelings to myself.

You’ve taught me to never settle for foolishness in the name of giving someone a fair shake.

You’ve taught me to never apologize for being myself, and that your insecurities and low self-esteem are not my problem.

You’ve taught me that engaging with you means dumbing down, placating to your insecurities and pretending to be someone I’m not.

You’ve taught me how to disappear, disappoint, and run at the slightest disagreement.

You taught me what it looks like to truly be a friend and what it means to be an opportunist.

You’ve taught me on how to effectively pretend to be something that the other person wants in order to get what you want.

So I thank you. I thank you showing your true selves and demonstrating what really matters to you.  By showing me all the things about your true intent, you have opened my eyes to the consequences of being myself and pushed me to fully embrace life solo.

It’s because of you that I am able to see my mistakes and poor choices, and that the common denominator in all of this is not you. It is me. And since it’s me, then that means that I need to accept things that cannot change. And in understanding that acceptance, I have realized that I have come to the conclusion that what I want is not realistic and something, perhaps, I am supposed to have.

So, in acknowledging this, I am looking forward to researching alternatives and chronicling the results here. I’ve already come up with a few:

a) Joining a convent

b) Pulling a “Miranda” (SATC)-pursuing full fledged careerism

c) turning into a female “Wilson” (a la Home Improvement)

Giving Up, Girlbros, and Getting to Happy

A few weeks ago I engaged some of my followers on twitter regarding the existence of a girlbro(Thanks, Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother) (which was really a subtle rephrasing of the underlying question as to whether or not women and men can be “just friends”), and the nuanced discussion made me think about what constitutes a girlbro. The majority of the people involved in this discussion did agree that a woman who has a pack of guy friends with no romantic machinations whatsoever would be one of the consistent conditions for such an existence of a GB.

It made me think about my own relationships, particularly with my friendships with the  opposite sex. In thinking about it, I realized a common pattern: The guys I found myself attracted to were not attracted to me at all. I was, in their minds, a “great sister” (which, frankly, is code for not only a lack of attraction but repulsion). Also, I find that the men that are attracted to me, I don’t find attractive at all, or that they’re my brother.

It’s a reality I’ve been thinking about more lately as I look at my relationship history and experiences. As such, I started to wonder if perhaps I’ve been going at things from the entirely wrong angle. Perhaps the problem is not just that my picker is broken. Maybe, it’s because I have been resisting my position as a girlbro, or a “great sister”, because I based much of my happiness on getting what I want (and in this case, that would mean obtaining the affection and interest of the person I am attracted to).

So, it simply makes sense to stop fighting something that works. There are benefits to being a girlbro. For one, it means you don’t have to waste any time or energy considering or wondering about what to wear. There’s no one to impress and there’s no need to try to doll yourself up to  get any new male attention, because you’re one of the guys.  And because you’re a “girlbro”, the guys feel comfortable enough with you to expose their true selves.

Consequently, being a girlbro is a prime opportunity to gain insider information on male behavior. And once you understand that behavior, you can understand how it can be manipulated or sharpened for good.

And that freedom, in giving up, getting on with life, and facing things as they are will bring me closer to peace and contentment than trying to clawing against reality and living in denial of my circumstances.

 

These Three Things

If anyone knows me very well, there are several things that can get me on a rant. Among those frustrations, they seem to always involve the Church, inter-gender relations, and politics (which, as one of my undergraduate professors called it,”who gets what”). And true to form, here are three things on my radar right now that simply have eroded my ability to sit back in silent apathy:

1.)Christians behaving like heathens towards each other during this election cycle.

You’re a Democrat.They’re an evangelical Republican. My response: You’re a CHRISTIAN first. Stop the name calling, disrespect, and questioning of a person’s faith because someone votes differently than you do. The commandment to love one another and not to backbite does not have a political affiliation exemption. No one has all the answers, and all of us, no matter what affiliation we have, have got it wrong at one point or another. Let’s disagree agreeably, and extend grace to one another.

2.) The supers-spiritual Christianese statuses towards single people, especially coming from  married people.

I understand that some of these statuses and posts are coming from a place of trying to give aid. But let’s be honest here: Saying you want to be in a relationship or want to be married doesn’t automatically put a person in a case of “idolizing” marriage, and it does not make them “thirsty” either.  People being honest about their desires also doesn’t automatically mean that they have some unrealistic view about marriage. And marrieds, while I certainly understand your admonitions to be “content” in your singleness, the truth is that CONTENTMENT, PERIOD, is the challenge for Christians, no matter our age, marital status, or position in the world. Please remember that some of us find it terribly difficult to really give your urgings to “be content” any weight when you have the luxury to enjoy and experience all the trials and triumphs of covenant marriage.

There is such a thing as balance, and somewhere along the line in American church we have lost the ability to acknowledge reality, take care of the things that we do have control over (our attitudes, emotions, and actions), and still choose to trust God with the things that we don’t have control over (other people’s behavior toward us).

3.) Double Standard/Dating Hypocrisy

To give an example of this:

Guys who choose completely incompatible women for themselves and then complain about how hard it is to find a good woman. In the words of my roommate, it’s because “they see Kool-Aid and think it’s water.”

Ladies who expect to take the qualities of a married man (or woman) they see in church and exact those same standards on all potential suitors, refusing to adhere to those same standards on their own.

Ladies and gents who actually become “back-pocket” people because they don’t have the guts to admit their interest and take a risk, and who then become angry and frustrated when the object of their affection responds to someone else who did.

 

So there you have it, three things that incite a caffeinated rant at this moment in my life. What about you? What things drive you up the wall?