Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ah, I can taste summer today. It is bright and sunny and I'm tempted to go hang my laundry outside to dry - but that might be jumping the gun a bit.

So today I bask.

I won't worry about the rest of the seven day forecast which is not promising to be as lovely, the remains of winter wanting to hold tight. I'm just going to be grateful that today spring is winning.

Grateful and open to grace.

The sun pours in the house, illuminating everything and I want to feel it and feel too, wide waves of grace, like the sea, endless.

God please, help us to see this, to accept it, to receive it and to give it.

I have been sadly touched recently by the acknowledgement that there are many Christians who intellectually understand grace but who never seem to experientially get it. Who have never intimately embraced it.

I, myself, included.

We witness to others with grace about grace but when pivoted inward in our private, off the record moments we worry that God really requires perfection.

Could this be because we keep so much secret? Because we conceal the dirtiness in our hearts sweeping it right under the rug and prefer instead to put off some air of having it all together? In our failure to unveil the true stench of our sins to others are we under the mistaken notion that we're somehow keeping them from God too?

My friend Susan is touring this spring talking about this. What we're afraid to say in Church. What would be different if we stopped being afraid.

When we are afraid to be authentic could this mean that we have fallen prey to the unsaid lie that grace is nice in theory but not something to we can put any stock in?

I don't know. But it seems plausible. And it seems like so many Christians have not been set free.

Did we forget the cross?

If we really and truly believed in God's grace would we still be so afraid of opening up to one another? Would we be afraid of admitting that we read The Shack? Because this is what I feel like it sometimes gets boiled down to. And this is so not the point.

I sometimes think that it's easier to talk to non Christians because we don't have to feel them out, have the sin convo, fish to see if they read Blue Like Jazz and gauge what they thought of it, gauge where they stand as a Christian, while they gauge where we stand.

I'm not trying to incite, I just wonder what has happened when the Baptist members of a church won't meet at the Catholic church to talk about an issue important to the community? Are the Baptists afraid a spirit of Catholicism is going to fall on them?

I am not trying to rant. It's just that there is so much in between the extremes of legalism and being soft on the truth. But we make everything fall on one side or the other as an excuse to judge others while exempting ourselves. I am as guilty as anyone.

But must we judge each other to protect ourselves? Must we protect ourselves to avoid judgment? Why is this stuff coming out of us, the body? Those of us who KNOW the truth. Those of us who know that God's message is one of grace. Why are Christians sometimes those who feel the most condemned? How can we grow up in the churches and be surprised by grace?

A pastor I had in Arizona constantly would say, "It is grace plus nothing." Have we accepted that? I feel like we haven't. I feel like we don't give it and we don't receive it.

All I know is that I want this grace. His grace. And I want to give it.


  1. "I sometimes think that it's easier to talk to non Christians because we don't have to feel them out...."

    Nikki, I think that you may feel this way because part of what Christianity teaches is that you are born with original sin in your heart and need to have someone "wash away" those sins. I believe that we are born of pure goodness and the world, in all of its glory, gives us the opportunity to continue on the path of the righteous, with the help of G-d. It might be easier to talk to non-Christians because the judgment isn't there. I notice that Christians can sometimes, not all the time and it is definitely select people, judge a book before they have even pulled it off the shelf in order to "protect" themselves. The problem that I have with all of that is that we are ALL G-d's children. Even if we don't agree and even if they don't "get it". I still need to treat and love all G-d's children in the same manner that I would treat myself.

    When we can stop judging others, we can really fall into His Grace. Who are we to judge? We are created with a mind to think but also a heart to love. And as we all know, we need G-d in order to really feel love for each other (especially those that make it hard to love them).

    I think that you are really Jewish inside and that is a good thing. Jesus was a Jew and his teachings were those of G-d's ways. I think that each and every time you beat yourself up for not "feeling or doing or saying or being" the right person....G-d sheds a tear. We are our worst critics and the worst judges. This is why we can't and why He can. (I don't really believe that G-d judges us the way that we think he does. I believe that all of our feelings, good, bad, ugly, and beautiful, are a beautiful gift from Him. We feel these things because we are supposed to)

    Thanks for posting today! I love you and miss you ♥

  2. I think you are really Christian inside. ;) That comment made me smile. There are so many cool Jews and I consider this a huge compliment. Love you!