Refuse to be Passive

Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

The First “I Love You”

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

I didn’t mean for it to be the first “I love you.” I’d bitten it back multiple times in the past month, not wanting to say it too soon, but knowing it was true. He wasn’t there yet. He’s still at the “I really, really like you,” point.

This past weekend we went away together on a church retreat with his church. The weekend turned out to be a bit of a gong show. While we as a couple were fine, there were other external factors that made the weekend a bit of a challenge. Two of the women who are dear friends to my boyfriend were being a bit cold and distant. One was also being a right stroppy cow when she did interact with him. Both women insisted everything was fine. Add to that, that I woke up Sunday morning with five bites on my chest, and someone found a bed bug carcass in one of the other cabins. Delightful. So now the entire camp needed to do bed bug prevention when they got home as a precautionary measure. Other than that the weekend was lovely—snowshoeing on the lake, board games with friends, worship sessions and guest speakers. In my opinion, not enough time for contemplation, meditation, and prayer, but the importance of that is another blog post.

Once we got home from the weekend, my boyfriend came over and we spent some time enjoying not being around people—we talked some about the weekend, and even went out for dinner (which turned out to be disappointing). Shortly after midnight, it happened. Stomach flu. Not to me. Just to him. He probably caught it off of someone at the camp. He is in constant pain, and has all of the regular stomach flu symptoms.  If it weren’t for the fact that its wrath occasionally lessens and he can ingest liquid, I’m sure we would have had to take him to the hospital by now for a saline drip.

So, for the past few days I’ve been taking care of him as he goes through this painful experience. He keeps on thanking me for taking care of him, but I ask you, isn’t that what any compassionate person would do? Isn’t that what a girlfriend should do? Thankfully, sickies don’t make me queasy. Somewhere along the line I learned to detach myself from the nastiness of sickness and see it in a somewhat more scientific and practical light. It is what it is. It’s part of the human experience. It happens to everyone at some point. It’s rather mean to be there for someone when they’re at their best, but leave them to struggle on their own when things slump. After all, the low times are when we need help the most. The low times are when we need people to care.

Last night, the hour was getting late. My boyfriend heard the alarm go off on his phone. He sent me home, citing that I would sleep much better in my own bed than on his couch. He was right, and so I rather reluctantly headed out. It’s not much fun to be alone with only your pain, and I didn’t want to leave him in that position. But he insisted. The time was running short, and I needed to get out the door in order to make the last bus. I gave him a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead. “I love you,” the words were a whisper, and I don’t even know if he heard them. I hadn’t been meaning to say them. They came of their own volition. I didn’t have time to stop and think about what I’d said, or figure out if he’d heard, so I just headed out the door. He didn’t even have time to say anything, and in all honesty, I preferred it that way.


The Angry Church

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2014 at 10:25 am

This morning was the inaugural Women’s Breakfast meeting for our church. Three of us ladies got together at the downtown Denny’s to enjoy breakfast, have good conversation, and communal prayer.

Although many topics were discussed, predominantly along the lines of work, once we started sharing prayer requests, our church came up.

We go to a small church that meets in a lecture theatre of a local university. On a good week there are 60 people in the congregation. On a poor week there are 30-40.

Over the past few weeks, the pastor has been up front, asking for volunteers to take a turn in teaching Sunday School. No one wants to step up. There seems to be two sectors to our congregation—one which is already heavily involved and doesn’t have the time or ability to take on Sunday School as well, and one where people are apathetic, angry, or scared. It seems that 20 percent of the congregation does 80 percent of the work. And the other 80 percent seem to be content just sitting in their chairs on Sunday.

While I try not to judge these people, it’s difficult. After all, isn’t acts of service an integral part of the Christian faith, as well as necessary for running a healthy church? I am sure that some of these people are actively involved in initiatives outside in the community, but the church won’t get volunteers externally. It all needs to come from within the congregation.

I vented some of this frustration to the two ladies sitting at the table with me, when one of them said something that I hadn’t thought of before. “Angry people,” she said. “Our church is filled with angry people who don’t realize they’re angry.” Our church is rather avant garde and tends to attract a certain type of person—specifically those who are disenchanted by the western Christian church, and reject it for the hypocrisy, judgement, and hurt it has caused them in the past. Now, they have found a church that embraces them in love, but that hurt still keeps them from getting any more involved than sitting in the chairs on Sunday mornings and going to a restaurant for lunch afterwards. These people, however, for the most part, don’t seem to realize that they’re angry, whether it be at the church, God, or themselves. So how do we help these people to get to a point where they recognize and deal with their anger? How do we help them to heal to the point that they can feel they are a part of a church where they can serve, love, and be served by others?

The most obvious answer is prayer; prayer for the softening of hearts that have been hardened, prayer for a willingness to forgive.

But beyond that? What do we do? Do we offer a group called Angry Christians? Moving On and Embracing Faith, Life, and Love? I feel like that would ultimately be a flop.

The other thing about our church, is that its growth has become stagnant. I love this church, this group of people, intensely. There is no way to allow others in and to love the church if we ourselves are angry with God and his people. Healing must come first before church growth and a gracious faith that others want will become a reality.

“He must become more. I must become less.” Such a counter cultural concept. We stay angry when we try to flip that verse, allowing the focus to be on ourselves. It isn’t until we realize that life and faith are ultimately not just about us, that we as