Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes I miss me

Sometimes I miss the me I used to be what seems like a long time ago, half a lifetime ago.  I miss the me before I stopped enjoying the fellowship of the moment and started analyzing and looking at motives.  I miss the me who just trusted people, the me who knew all were sinners and not inherently good and still just blindly assumed that of course they would do the right thing!

Is it me I miss or my glorious, blind ignorance?  Hard to tell. 

What happened to that me?  Well, it's hard to determine cause or effect, but the me now hasn't the energy to invest in other people that the me then did.  Too many harsh looks at reality, mixed motives, lust/love/romance, and all that crap.  Too many revelations.  Too many regrets.  Too many betrayals, melodramatic as that sounds.  Too many people who want what I can't give, making me pull back until there isn't much to give, and no inclination to, and I like it that way, thank you very much.

But I still miss that old me sometimes.  She was kind of dumb and too honest, but, I hate to say it, for all that, her purity (again with the blindness) leaves me nostalgic.  All traces of that purity feel burned out of me now, but I still have my memories. 

I remember what it was like to have friendships I took simple joy in, before romantic notions got in the way and made me question my own motives in continuing said friendships when I was never going to provide what they craved.  I hate this new knowledge of good and evil.  I'd like to put that fruit back on the tree, thank you very much, and selfishly enjoy being with people I enjoy being with even if I don't want to ever marry or have sex with them, even if that's the only reason they hang around (hope springing eternal in areas with very low ceilings).  I want to go back to that world where people are friends because they enjoy being with each other, and that's that.

Maybe that world never, ever existed in reality, but it did in my head, and I liked being in my head then and there.  It was so much easier.

Are there any parts of you that you miss from long ago?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hi, I'm X, and I'm an object of God's wrath!

Lately in our church small group, we've been talking about God's righteous judgement, why we deserve His wrath, and all manner of things that are not cheerful.  However, I don't find these topics to be downers.  I find that they fill me with incredible gratitude, like that prodigal son who came back hoping to be mistreated as a servant and didn't get what he deserved.  This is what God offers all of us, what He loved each of us enough to die for.

This is grace, and it shines so brightly in a world fallen into darkness.

"Where the judgment of God is, that is where the mercy of God abides, and where our hope becomes manifest. We stand before God together in both judgment and grace."  - Mark Galli

Friday, October 15, 2010

When the elderly say Pbtbtbtbtbt

I have been feeling a bit anti-church lately.  Not anti-the-body-of-Christ; more anti-my-specific-church.  We've seen a real need for some intergenerational fellowship, and no one else seems to be doing anything, so we gave it a try.  The response was a hearty, "Go away and leave us alone" from the elderly people in the church.  They are not interested in any kind of relationship that asks anything from them.  It breaks my heart.

It also makes me mad for purely selfish reasons.  My utterly immature reaction is something like, "WTH?!  I don't even really like, want, or need relationships.  I'm going out and doing the hard thing here because I know you do want and need these relationships, even if it's highly unpleasant and inconvenient for me, and you say no?!"  Basically, we're both being immature.  (Is it a mark of maturity if I see that, at least?)

Anyway, I know this issue of intergenerational fellowship is a big problem in many churches.  I'm quite happy to give up on it.  (I have a history of trying my hardest, failing, giving up, and then seeing God do amazing things.  Let's hope that's what happens this time.)  However, I never know if adversity is a sign I should give up or an opportunity to learn perseverance.  (I think I usually choose wrong.)

Have you been a part of a local church body where this was not a problem?  What were the demographics of the church?  Why do you think intergenerational fellowship worked for you there and then?

What do you suggest to improve intergenerational fellowship for a too big church with two buildings in different cities, four services, and a seriously country clubby atmosphere?  How far should I push myself (I really don't have the energy for this) before I allow myself to step back and rest and not feel like a failure (or get angry, which I also don't have the energy for)?

Friday, October 8, 2010

And the people rejoiced: a brief lesson in the joys of schadenfreude?

My across the hall neighbors (affectionately nicknamed "The Drug Dealers") are being evicted.  This makes me happy.  I feel a little guilty about how happy it makes me, but not too much because I was starting to get really quite scared. 

Too many strangers (mostly young males) coming freely in and out of the building (including the somewhat closed off exercise room) using their access.  Too many odd scents/tastes/excessive incense/smoke/other substances my lungs don't like that sometimes waft into my apartment.  Too many late night raging domestic arguments outside my door.  Too many drunken (or possibly stoned) accidental, late night attempts to come into my apartment by mistake and some missing decorations from my door have made me even more nervous than the other stuff.  (Who steals a stick-on Christmas ornament off of someone's door? In October?!)  At least they were thorough and took a strip of the fake ribbon to hang them with; otherwise it would just be unidentifiable and tacky.

I am fairly certain I am not being loving at all.  I've prayed for them without any real commitment, mostly because I live alone and was afraid God would ask me to do something friendly, dangerous, and stupid.  That's also problematic. 

How can a single woman living alone who is antisocial anyway be neighborly/behave in a Christ-honoring but smart way to her neighbors?  Any suggestions?