What is up with the link colors on this blog?! I finished designing the graphics and plugged them into a standard blogger template. I have changed the link colors a million times, but they never update. I am about to rip my hair out! ARRRRGGGGH! Guess I will have to learn some HTML. Ugh. I am a very visual person and code drives me insane. Or more insane. However you want to look at it...

In the mean time, please bear with me and the horrible colors as I try to make this space a little more homey. Any tips you web-ninja types may have would be greatly appreciated!


Dear Church Friend - VBS

I'd like to start a series of posts called 'Dear Church Friend' in which I address some of the issues I'm thinking through. The series was inspired by InternetMonk's post What You Can't Say Around Christians.

Dear Church Friend,

When you said, “We sure missed you at VBS. We had so much fun!” the real meaning wasn’t lost on me. I know you really meant “Where were you? It's sad that you kept your children away from all the wisdom we imparted. Oh, and they go to public school, too. GASP! Poor thing. Your kids needed this information most of all! You even missed all the Aren’t-You-So-Proud-of-Me Points that I collected! In fact, I’ve almost got my Ministry Merit Badge! I’m a LEADER. Come to my Bible study and we’ll get you on the straight and narrow.”

Church Friend, I know I've been heavily involved in the past, so this is pretty confusing for you. I decided against a press conference, but quietly resolved after many years and countless injuries, that I will no longer compete in the Spiritual Olympics. No more running races and competing with others to win position or favor from man or God. I know that you don't intentionally compete with people, I didn't either. But this is what happens when true discipleship is replaced with hierarchy and position. I know you want to help people, and feel like this leadership role is the logical next step in your growth, but it's Mary and Martha all over again. We'll talk more on this thought later. I have much to say!

The truth is, I have been re-evaluating some things, ‘recalibrating’ you might say. The VBS curriculum from that Young-Earth-Creationism-Only-Or-You-Are-The-Spawn-Of-Satan-Or-A-Liberal group does not, at this point, pass recalibration muster. But I’m still evaluating. And for once, I’m okay with being in a state of flux. I’m at peace with not having my mind made up. It’s not imperative for me to have all of the answers any longer. And no, I don't think God is ready to smite me because I don't have him all figured out yet. Wow, just typing that is liberating!

Content aside, I really didn’t want to spend an entire week at the church building. I’ve moved away from the whole, “If we build it, they will come,” mentality. I know this flies in the face of the new building that y’all approved funding for recently. Candidly, I can’t think of a more foolish way to spend money. We were told to GO. Not throw out a line and wait for fish to bite. And don’t for a minute think I’m making ‘strategic friendships’ either. That’s just as wrong and completely disingenuous. Manipulation and scheming are not evangelism. My husband and I are doing our best to be involved with the community in any capacity possible. We coach, volunteer at school, help people move, etc. You know, we just generally try to be neighborly and kind while building relationships with people. I think they call it living out our faith in community. It’s amazing how much more time we have for that sort of thing when we aren’t at a Bible study or other program every night of the week and in a pew twice every Sunday. I know what you’re thinking, “But how will they know you’re a Christian if you’re not giving them tracts or turning down their dinner invitation so you can go to church?” Don’t even get me started on that one…

Oh, and there’s the whole issue of not wanting my children to make complete fools of themselves at school when they can spout (with much pride, I might add) everything they learned at VBS, but can’t rationally, calmly, and humbly discuss what’s being taught in class. And Evangelicalism complains that ‘Liberals’ have an agenda? Whoa. That pot-kettle thing comes to mind. Obviously, like many things with me lately, my parenting style has changed a great deal in the last two years. We tried the homeschool thing. Didn’t work for us for a plethora of reasons, but that’s another letter in itself. We put them in the public school last year and I am so glad that we did. I no longer fret about what those ‘Liberal’ schools are teaching them. My children feel comfortable asking me about things they learn in school. They feel comfortable questioning what they’re taught, but in a respectful way. Could it be that the goal in this-here parenting thing is that we raise adults that can own their faith, not just regurgitate what they’ve been taught? I can’t imagine what it would be like to be an 18 year-old who goes off to college and out into the world for the very first time. Bite. Size. Pieces. With gentle guidance. In real-world situations. That’s how they learn and interestingly enough, that's how disciples are made as well. Hmmm....

Your seemingly-uncommitted-Christian friend,



Recalibration? Huh?

I know, I know. It's not even a word. But somehow 'recalibration' seems to describe the journey I've been on for the last several years. Following Christ is journey and a process, and periodic checks of your ‘calibration’ are necessary to stay on track. Am I following the right Christ? Are the teachings I’m holding to making me more Christ-like or more judgmental, pious and arrogant? Three years ago the thought of questioning Evangelicalism and the culture war would have been enough for me to call for my own ex-communication. Significant events in my journey have since led me to the conclusion that I need to recalibrate, or re-align myself with the true Christ. I was following a caricature of Christ that I had bought wholesale. Call the process deconstruction, emerging, recalibration, whatever.

To elaborate a little more specifically on my recalibration, here is my faith-journey in a vary small nutshell:

I became a Christian at 15, after a friend had taken me to church with her for a year or so. The particular denomination we belonged to is very restrictive about forms of worship and the role that women can play within the congregation. As in, they are not allowed to speak at all. They also believe that baptism (full immersion, of course) is the absolute point of salvation. No one could answer my questions or objections I had on these subjects, so I left when I graduated high school. My friend and her family still consider my then-boyfriend (now husband) as the evil one who led me astray. [Note: Said husband says I need to make him look cooler here... I'll get to him more in-depth in later posts!]

I married my high-school sweetheart while we were in college, had some kiddos, and promptly descended straight into the Evangelical Ghetto. Dobson was My President and I was a good warrior in the culture war. We were attending a small Baptist church, where I started a moms ministry and my husband became a deacon. We were the All-American Family and a great advertisement for all that Christianity has to offer! **Insert toothy smile here** Eventually we left to join a megachurch that was more ‘frontline’ in the political side of the culture war and heavily involved in what we thought was ‘evangelism’. My husband and I both ended up on staff there, but left suddenly when it was obvious that the pastor didn’t live what he taught. He’s now being investigated by the IRS and state authorities for fraud.

We now occasionally attend the small, rural Bible church where we were married. We went there to ‘heal’ after the megachurch debacle. [We'll unpack this whole mess in subsequent posts] It’s not the healing place we thought it was going to be, and is in fact fraught with most of the same issues as the megachurch, only on a smaller, somewhat less devious scale. Funny how that works! It’s that realization that brought on recalibration. If the same problems are so prevalent everywhere, then something must be wrong with the model. Thus began the period of de-construction for me. This blog is an attempt at therapy, an outward working of the thoughts that now threaten to make my brain explode… Enjoy!


Howdy & Welcome!

Hi, folks! After a couple of years lurking around some amazing blogs, I have finally ventured out with my own. I am greatly indebted to the blogs I've posted in my sidebar. Each has had a major impact on my 'recalibration' process and you will no doubt see a lot of links to them in the coming posts. So pull up a chair and enjoy the conversation. Recalibrating may be confusing and even painful at times, but it is certainly never dull!

*Edited before anyone asks about my blogroll: Of course the LOL Cats on ICanHasCheezburger.com have impacted my theology! How could they not? I mean, really.
What's not to love about Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat or even Ceiling Cat Witnesses with free samples of Scratchtower Magazine? They can't spell and their grammar is horrific, but don't hold that against them. Check it out!