Sunday, February 12, 2012

linking you

photo: lee cohen

We've had less to say in this space lately ... Haitian proverbs and old photos replace original words of depth, substance, or news.  In the ups and downs of life most of us (speaking for ourselves and our co-workers/friends working here) feel like this is a bit of a down time.  I think the churchy way we say this is: "a season of discouragement".  I always find it harder to write in these 'blah' times. It hasn't even been that things are so terrible really. That is not it. It has just been sort of a time of facing an extra/unexpected stressor, followed by recovering, followed immediately by a new stressor. Repeat. Repeat.

I think we're just slightly weary of the repeat repeat part.

All that to say, instead of writing, we are linking:

Jen Hatmaker  -  Thoughts and observations on the state of the western church ...
I'm thinking it's time to unpack what Paul meant when he said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). In a culture where Christianese has lost all meaning and we've forfeited our right to be heard after decades of turning a blind eye to a suffering world, I'm afraid the only way back is to actually live out the gospel. Right in front of people. With our real hands and real time and real money and resources and gifts in our real homes and real neighborhoods, serving real people who are sad and lonely and sick and hungry. If Jesus was right, then the literal goodness of the Good News is compelling, so maybe we better figure out how to get the "good" back into our story.

Sarah Bessey -  Lean Into It
Excerpt One:
I know nothing for sure. Is God even real? What about my Bible? church? people? life? meaning? loss? grief? disillusionment? soul-weariness? goodness? evil? tragedy? suffering? I know nothing, nothing,nothing. And it’s not because I didn’t have “answers,” oh, no, I had all of the photocopied apologetics cheat sheets lined up in a neatly labeled three-ring binder, paragraphs highlighted to respond to the questions of the ages in three lines or less. I clung tighter and tighter, the sand of answers spilling out of clenched fists like rain.

Excerpt Two:

Lean into the pain. Stay there in the questions, in the doubts, in the wonderings and loneliness, the tension of now-and-not-yet until you are satisfied that God is there, too. You will not find your answers by ignoring, by living a life of intellectual or spiritual dishonesty. Your fear will try to hold you back, your tension will increase, the pain will become intense and it will be tempting to keep clinging tight.  So be gentle with yourself. Be gentle. Lean in. Stay there. And then the release will come.