Thursday, June 26, 2003

Geared Up To Save the Lost

I heard a really good speaker at a conference this week. He really was good. Sincere. Heartfelt. Caring. Talked about passion and persistence. We talked about getting people saved.

It sounds easy. Then blogs like this remind me of the problem:
Washed in the Blood

i've accepted jesus more times than I can count.


It was the perfect blank chalkboard for me. Got a father who rapes you and tells you its your fault? Accept jesus and it will all go away. Got some pain you can't define floating around inside you? Accept jesus and watch all of your troubles turn to a peace that passes all understanding.

It was the holy grail -- the elixir of a confused, troubled teen who had a zillion voices shouting around her and no quiet in which to hear her own heart. The voice of home and family: where nothing she did was good enough, and she was a horrible, evil person. The voice of a patriarchal school: where jesus was waiting to wash you clean and make your heart white as snow. The voice of an overbearing church: where life as a child, a youth, a teenager, was only difficult because i myself made it so.


In a way i feel more hopeless than ever. And perhaps that has been what has constantly drawn me to the promise of redemption. A hope that somehow everything would be okay. A hope that i could be forgiven for the horrible things i had done, and seen, and made my daddy do to me. A hope that in the end i would find that jesus would truly be a friend and a personal source of caring and comfort; a hope that i would no longer be alone.

Yet, in the end, i felt more alone than ever. In spite of my salvation and the holy spirit, i found myself feeling more and more depressed, wracked with anguish, and facing more pain than i had ever had.

With forgiveness comes guilt. With salvation comes committment. i couldn't keep my end of the bargain. i couldn't "be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect." i couldn't "pray without ceasing" or "preach the gospel to every nation." It was all i could do to get through the day without killing myself, or mutilating my own body. The language of christianity and the troubles my fellow christians faced were beyond my comprehension. And my part in that whole scheme was just another part of the body of christ -- one in the middle of many, as i had always been.


But in the end i discover that there is too much pain and darkness and endless doubt in my heart. In the end i discover that the gospel doesn't include people who have experienced my kind of life -- the pat answers and cliches mean nothing to me, and often they hurt me more than they help.


i want the danger, community, connection. i want a gospel that understands my kind of pain, the gospel that has room for my kind of pain. if i lock everyone out, what hands will ever offer to help lead me back home?

Sometimes we think people just don't understand the Gospel. And some don't. But some do and struggle with the difficulty of it. I struggle with the complexity of it to. I really appreciate this lady's heart.

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