Mary Bar the Door

I was with my sister-in-law and another friend last weekend for a Memorial Day girls’ weekend. We went to the church where Christina was preaching Sunday morning…it was pretty traditional and the median age was somewhere near 70. The service was good, but I left there thinking “I don’t speak this language anymore.” Certainly I know the language, and I’m fluent in it, but I don’t speak it anymore. I’m not comfortable with it anymore. And the more I thought about that experience, the clearer a new image became. I’m standing in front of a cathedral door that’s been barred (from the outside) and I’m turning to walk away from it. Now, part of me was thinking about how I have felt locked out of the church for so long. But it was also brought to my attention that someone from the outside (most likely me) was the one to bar that door so as not to be able to enter.

Perhaps one day I’ll be ready to un-bar that door and enter into the church again. At this point, I do still go to church…because I’m trying. I really am. I just don’t know where it’s going to go or where I fit in the picture. I don’t even know if church is a place where I can be who I truly am, every dark and twisted square inch of my being. The bottom line is that I’ve grown to a place that scares a lot of people, and most people aren’t willing to go there with me. Which is OK with me. I’m not asking people to go where they’re not comfortable, but by the same token, I shouldn’t be asked to stay where they are.

The picture here wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but perhaps became more fitting. The sign reads “Mind your head.” Maybe that’s what I’m doing by walking away…finding my own way, trying to work out my own salvation in fear and trembling in a way that works for me and is true to who I am…and perhaps even truer to who God is. But perhaps we should all put that sign on our church doors to remind people not to check their brains at the door, but to step inside and love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. For that is the greatest commandment.

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One thought on “Mary Bar the Door

  1. You know,
    this is a really interesting post timing-wise, because I was thinking something similar today.

    We attended ch. with a family we are close to today (first time in a while we’ve been), and it was actually a good experience. Didn’t seem fake at all. I really liked that the people seemed….well, not churchy!

    Also, on the eve of my start of CPE, I was preparing my stuff for tomorrow, and as I placed my Bible in my book bag, I realized that my mind was drawing blanks on “scripture readings” for issues that people might want scripture read to them for. You know, God’s promises for _______. That out-of-context, proof-texting, non-genuine passages that are collected so you can quickly ease all ailments with the correct verse?

    I realized that that went against everything I believe and stand against when it comes to Biblical presentation and representation. Context, background, culture, history, etc… leading to informative interpretation. I realized that this is a thing that several people have written about: the abuse of scripture in pastoral care!

    I realized that I too no longer spoke that language. I dare say that I’ve forgotten, or more likely, blocked out that language and “churchy” approach from my lexicon all-together! Perhaps that isn’t a bad thing. I would argue that it may be the best place (although still scary to think about when tomorrow and the next 11 weeks come) in the world for me to be. Otherwise, I guess I will never truly be myself.

    I guess all God ever really calls us to do is “be ourselves”. To become the person he created us to be. If we are in a place that doesn’t allow that, then it is not a healthy place for us to be….spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically!

    So, i guess we need to find a place where the door isn’t barred. In our cases, we’re the ones who have placed the bar there…prob. for good reason. Instead of staring at that door, perhaps we should be in search of another door altogether…even when our tendency is to lament the door in front of us!

    miss u guys,
    see you soon?!
    j

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