Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Power and perception

Many pastors wear a white robe during worship. It is suppose to symbolize they are servants of God and it isn't about them. But I didn't learn this until, confirmation, maybe, seminary, not sure. I had to relearn it as an adult and felt like it wasn't new information, but certainly not something I remembered. When I've done informal surveys others seem to also be in the dark on what it means or suppose to mean.

What that white robe for me symbolized and still often does, is this person is standing out as a person of power. They conduct the service and orchestrate all that happens. They say the words at communion. It might symbolize servanthood to them, but its just an illusion.

Robes are not symbols of servants in our culture. It would be more symbolic to wear jeans and a work shirt. Robes are what you wear at graduation not what you would wear if you were to really out there serving people, especially white. Can you imagine wearing one of those pastor robes while working on a farm, serving soup, mopping a floor - ridiculous.

To all my pastor friends out there - thank you for your service, but ditch the robe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moms get grace too

A few Sundays ago my toddler fell asleep during worship. She was out hard and laying across me, so I stayed in that position for the rest of the service. I knew we had a busy afternoon, and I knew if I woke her the nap would be over with no return later. I needed her to sleep, so I sat. People around us stood up to sing and to pray and to pass the peace, I sat there, and she slept. It was time for communion, and the very kind people in our row went the other way out the pew so not to disturb us. The usher asked if I would like communion to be brought to me. I gave a very non-committal response something like "don't worry about it, we're fine". Communion is taken to those how can't make it to the front, so this is a normal practice but usually for the elderly with walkers not a mom of a toddler who just doesn't want to move. I wasn't sure if anyone would come to us or not. I felt kinda silly. And then down the aisle it came. There was nothing left for me to do but receive.

In that moment, I realized something: moms get grace too. As I sat there "not needing help" or wanting to bother anyone because I have it under control, someone came to me with the message of love and forgiveness and a reminder that it isn't about getting it right and being it all. Sometimes I can have a break or a moment or just mess up and the world will not end because of it. I too can have a moment of grace.

Now if someone just felt inspired to clean the kitchen.

This post partly bothers me because it is so cliche. Oh the Gospel is for me?! Duh. But on the other hand, how much do we live like it is for us? When we are running around with our giant to do lists and apologizing for not getting something done we are not living from a place of "its going to be ok" or grace, but we are preaching grace and living works. Salvation, after all, isn't just about the future but the moment, and in this moment it isn't about your to do list or your work but about the fact that you are loved. What would it look like if you lived like that and really believed it? I certainly wouldn't feel sheepish that someone walked 50 feet to give me something because my kid was asleep. Sheepish is a feeling from the place of works not grace, of believing that I can do it all.
But I can't. And its ok.
I'm not loved by anyone because of the checks or not checks on my list.

Eat your vegetables

As a kid I didn't really like vegetables. Well, I'm not really sure what I thought. There was so much pressure and drama around eating them, that I never felt like I was left to my own to figure out what I liked or didn't. Kids don't like veggies, I was told. Eat your beans! I wish I could have just tried them without being watched or judged and with no preconceived idea about my opinion before I started.

When I see verses of the bible posted in various places, I have a similar reaction. It often feels like the poster is assuming I won't take the time to read the bible myself or that I won't like it, so here is one verse, just take a bite. If I felt they were posting because they were inspired and wanted to share I would feel less like I was being told to eat my vegetables, but that is rarely what it feels like. I rarely read them, just like I didn't eat many vegetables when I was a kid.

I also never click "like" on those posts that tell me I won't "have a heart" if I don't or "if I really was a Christian" or whatever the line is to try to guilt me into sharing or liking. Give me a break. Stop trying to guilt my faith. Those posts are not useful to sharing the Gospel. They are about who's in, really in, and who isn't. The Gospel is about everyone deserving Grace.

The bible is a crazy book full of wonder and power and grace. I feel inspired reading and studying it. I also really like vegetables now that there is no pressure involved. And I will "share" my faith when it matters and not when pressured by bored people online.