Sometimes, when I can’t pray, I write. It’s a step that sometimes helps me find the thing that is stuck in my heart, the thorn that is keeping me from Him. Sometimes it’s sin, sometimes it’s just confusion, sometimes it’s pain.
What I know today is that there is this restlessness inside my soul, that is shifting around more and more each day, making me too uncomfortable to ignore for much longer. Sometimes it feels like an ache, sometimes like rage, mostly like desperation.
Desperation for a resurrection; a rebirth. A death wish for this American Christianity so that the Church can be reborn in the image of Him and not the image of us.
I never really had a Beth Moore phase, but let me tell you, I’m having one now. Something is happening to her. Some kind of restlessness that is far more credible than mine. Hearing her talk about her identity crisis, hearing her say no more of naming this thing ‘church’ unless it bears a little resemblance to the promised power of the true Church – it makes me believe in a Spirit, because there is a unity between this woman and I, that I cannot even describe.
I can’t shake this thing. I can’t shake the feelings that came up in my year of not blogging. I can’t shake the Jesus I’ve met in the dark. I can’t shake the way I hunger for something new so deeply that I can feel that hunger writing inside my soul making me nauseous every time I see another Christian article shared by the same people about the same things and I want to scream that no one cares. People are dying left and right. Dying, not from being working moms instead of staying home, not from looking at pornography, but from a desire to be known and loved, sick with a fear that they are not wanted and they are not beautiful. While the things this American Church keeps talking about are reasonable and often true, they seem just so absolutely irrelevant to the plague that is sweeping the world.
I’m weary of reading about the heightened struggles of spiritual warfare for those in full time ministry, when one in three women are raped and when the leading cause of death in teenagers is suicide, and when – maybe this most of all – the same hand that you use to type that verse into that Instagram post will click back to your post fifteen times in the next fifteen minutes to see how many likes you have gotten, because you too – dear church – are infected with this deadly insecurity, starving for love.
And the food you’re giving yourselves is no better than the food you’re giving the people in your pews in Sunday, and the people out in the world are staying out because they can see that.
You’re fighting the wrong battles with the wrong weapons, trying to hold at bay the dangers of sexual immorality or lying or stealing as if you’ve never read Romans 1; as if you have no idea that those things were never the problem, and were always only symptoms of the true plague
I’m weary with a church obsessed with the Gospel, yet still playing politics and platform. I am exhausted of the hierarchy that doesn’t seem to exist for those in the inner circle, but is clear to everyone on the outside. I am exhausted of a church where some people belong more than others, especially when the ones that belong look so different from the ones who were welcomed by Jesus. I am tired of people pointing at ‘not being ashamed of the Gospel ‘ as their motive to share ‘truth’ when really they just don’t have the time or the capacity to engage in an intimate and honest shepherding of a heart. I am weary of a gospel that is good for past sins but cannot extend to present. That is good for internal sins but cannot extend to external.
As I type this I feel sobs rising up inside of me and I know this weariness is from holding back a rage, that doesn’t feel like anger or bitterness, it feels like a flood that wants to wash over my own soul, that wants to wash over the people I love whose hearts I know are as desperate as mine for us to not get this wrong; desperate for us – me – church – to do this differently.
And maybe I have found my way to prayer after all on this rainy Saturday.
O Lord. Humble us. Make us the needy once again. Who no longer confuse numbers with success, who do not seek to rise higher in the church, who don’t fight to be visible, who don’t fight to be right, who no longer pray thankful prayers that you have kept us from the moral failures but who beat our chests and cry out, Be merciful God to me, a sinner.
Oh, let me start. I have done this so wrong. So badly. Save me God from being conformed to the pattern of the church, but let me be renewed and transformed by you. Your culture, not mine, not ours, not theirs.
Death to life. Start with me.