The Church Worth Coming Back To (A Message For The Left-Out)

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

ChurchDoor
This week, I found myself in uncharted waters.

For the first Sunday in 17 years, I was not on staff at a local church; waking-up without a group of students and families to care for, and without a building to drive to; no sermons to give, no songs to sing, no greetings to deliver.

With the suddenness and messiness of the transition of the past few days, I knew there would be grief and confusion to process, and the dizzying flood of conflicting emotions that comes with any major life change. (In a year that’s seen me lose my dad, leave a job, move our family, and now be leaving another job, I fully expected those feelings of loss and sadness to come, and they have).

However, the one thing I didn’t expect to feel so instantly and so sharply in response to losing this central part of my life, was relief.

There was an almost tangible exhale…

View original 739 more words

Putting the “Spin” on Spinsterhood

I initially started this blog as a space to share my thoughts, and at the time that I started writing, it was primarily about my (perceived) perpetual state of singleness. Much has changed however, and as I discover more and more information about my “spinsterhood”, I realize that my story is still very much unwritten. While I am still single, I feel much more in control of my life and happiness than I’ve ever been, and that means that I am the one in control of the story, therefore putting my own “spin” or perspective on it.

I believe that spinsterhood is a term for a period where marriage and family was the only means to pursue any sort of ambition in a society and culture that objectified and treated women as property. Women who didn’t or couldn’t comply with that cultural expectation had to do what was necessary to survive. As a post-evangelical seeker, I am simply discovering the idea that spinsterhood in this day and age, to me, is living life on my terms, trying to manage my engagement with society at large on those terms.

 

 

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)