Monday, April 27, 2009

Impotence and the Church

"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all." -- Peter McWilliams


Just finished "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," by Kim Edwards. It's all about secrets and protecting ourselves and our loved ones from pain and trying to make amends with the past. It's a good read and really gets to the heart of shame and what a lack of grace in one's life can bring. The resolution rings true but isn't truly satisfying. I kept hoping that the right thing would get done by someone. Instead the characters just continued living in shame, confusing, rebellion and defiance.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what "doing the right thing" is. I'm frustrated with several situations but the solutions seem impotent, the characters uninvolved, satisfied and legalistic. Several times over the past years I've disappointed people and they've let me know it. Frankly, they frequently don't show much tact in doing so and it all comes down to my not fitting their expectations. I'm doing what I'm called to do and I'm imperfect and frequently bungle. I've found, however, that most folks would rather things get done right, (which is usually subjective) and if that's not an option, they just don't get done at all. Bungling is the true sin, not the lack of obedience. And that frustrates me. The church, and from where I sit, most of the conservative right sit on their butts and crucify anyone not measuring up, safely ensconced in their pews or in front of their screen of choice.

And true, Viking Man and I chew off too much, too often. We don't have the hatches always battened down, we aren't financed sufficiently, we frequently take flying leaps and hope, rather than know, in a safety net. It's been a wild ride, and FULL of adventure, danger and honestly, loss. But I'd rather hit the finish line having finished rather than barely started, still fussing with all the whatifs, making sure we've cya'd down to the last nitty-gritty detail so that all of the spark has been snuffed out. No wonder the church is dying on the vine. I feel this desperate plead inside my soul wanting to shout to the church, like the little girl at the end of "Iron Will," GET UP. Just GET UP and STAND. You might not win, but at least you've started, at least you gave it a shot. GET UP! Obey, bungle. But put your faith in to action, put it to the test, be refined, take risks, make mistakes, get messy.

Instead I see questions asked rhetorically, without real sacrifice thrown into the response. . Impotence and ease, comfort and satisfaction. Lack of hunger and lack of thirst for the things, the important, the holy, the real things, that demand more. That will be bungled because we are still residents in a world that is full of sin. That are worth a shot regardless.