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I HAVE SOME REALLY SMART FRIENDS WHO PUSH ME TO REALLY THINK ABOUT STUFF.

One of them posted this really interesting article written by John Pavlovitz.  I read it and then reposted it because it was so interesting and I wanted to hear what other people thought about it.  (Plus, I didn't want to spend another day focusing on what a HORRIBLE concept a DOUBLE-FUNERAL is -- my heart goes out to the family, or to wonder who died today.  Did you know Alf died?  That's right, now 2016 is going after PUPPETS!)  

The article is called My Emancipation From  American Christianity.  The Hubs shook his head as soon as I posted it.  He says that sometimes I am a rabble-rouser, but he says it with affection so . . .  I recognize that the title alone will give some people pause, but like I said, I found it interesting.  I don't mean to stir up trouble.  It is just a by product of my curiousity.

I should mention that I don't really know much about John Pavlovitz other than my brief research today.  I just read his article and I found parts of it not only beautifully written but also very profound.  I've included a link to the article below, so you can read it in it's entirity, if you so desire.  I am genuinely interested in what you think.

I grew up in church.  I mean, if that church was open, we were there.  Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday night small group, Wednesday night Bible study - we WENT to church.  And I loved going to church.  I mean youth group was a BLAST.  I am still friends with kids from back then, and still am in touch with many of my former Sunday school teachers.  I've been a Sunday school teacher more than once, and the Husband and I met volunteering with church youth group.  Not to mention, that he is technically a REVEREND, although that isn't how he makes his living.  But there have been times in church when I have felt disconnected, and uncomfortable.  And it seems like some of the things that are considered just part of being involved in American Christianity, that I'm not sure I want to be a part of. 

Pavlovitz puts it best, "I've outgrown the expectation that my faith is the sole property of a political party.  I've outgrown violent bigotry and xenophobia disguised as Biblical obedience.  I've outgrown God wrapped in a flag and soaked in rabid nationalism. . . I've outgrown theology as a hammer always looking for a nail.  I've outgrown the cramped, creaky rusting box that God never belonged in anyway."

I know, right?  I mean that is really profound.  Almost immediately some of my friends wanted to make sure that I knew their church wasn't bigoted and that they attend a church that is politics free.  And I should also point out that I have ZERO expectation for any church to be perfect.  I mean, churches are run by humans and humans are pretty flawed.  I get that.  Heck!  I've got inside information.  I am married to an actual PASTOR.  I mean the Rock Star is sweet, thoughtful, hard-working, generous, and fine as hell, but he is also a human, and like me, he messes up sometimes.  This isn't an article about perfection, but rather, and more to the point about embracing the most important aspects of our faith.

Pavlovitz says it here, "If religion is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place where the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge."

Wow.  If only.

I mean how is the American church doing dealing with mental illness or poverty or social or racial injustice? What does the American church have to say about misogyny?  Why is that someone who has an open heart toward fixing these problems is considered to be radical and an outsider in the American Christian church.  

This article really made me think not just about American Christianity, but about how American Christianity reacts to articles like this.  Shouldn't we be forever evaluating and reassessing our impact on the world we live in?  Shouldn't we be the first ones to run to aid those who are hurting and in despair?  Christ himself once said, "True religion is this: To care for the widows and orphans."  

"If religion is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place where the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge."  

Amen.

--Jen

P.S.  Does it bother anyone beside me that people who are the most famous for adovcating on behalf of our societies most vulnerable people, those with mental health challenges, were know for everything under the sun EXCEPT being "American Christians"?  God bless the work that both Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher did as advocates for those struggling with mental illness.