When I grow up…

There are so many things I’d like to do with my life. Here are some of them:

  • Work with young people in some capacity, sharing the love of Jesus with them

  • Do some more primary teaching

  • Adopt a child

  • Train to become a youth counsellor

  • Buy my very own dog

  • Live in a house full of other single women who encourage and care for one another OR

  • Get married (I’m less fussed about this than I used to be!)

  • Learn to play the piano

  • Use dance and other art forms to allow young people the space to explore spirituality

  • Write a spoof musical/book of some description (I have started these with a few friends but all of them  are far too inappropriate to do anything with in reality)

  • Stop being such an idiot. 

Of course, it will be impossible to do all of these things so we’ll see what happens. Also, a lot of them are dependent on my success rate with the last bullet point.

What about you? What are your plans?

Love, Pamela x

 

We are all the same

I’ve recently finished reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I like it. It’s largely a book about his spiritual journey. He tells stories and is honest. I like his openness and genuineness. Here’s a quote: 

The churches I attended would embrace war metaphor. They would talk about how we are in a battle, and I agreed with them, only they wouldn’t clarify that we were battling poverty and hate and injustice and pride and the powers of darkness. They left us thinking our war was against liberals and homosexuals. Their teaching would have me believe I was the good person in the world and the liberals were the bad people. Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good, and He wants to rescue us because there is a war going on. He wants to rescue us because we are hostages in that war. The truth is we are supposed to love the hippies, the liberals, and even the Democrats, and that God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves. Anything short of this is not true to the teachings of Jesus.

He is writing as a reaction against some of the extreme evangelicalism he has encountered, where the pursuit of truth has often come at the expense of love, compassion and humility. I think the crux of the matter lies in one line:  Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good. That’s it. I think that in the light of all that is happening in the current Church of Scotland debate regarding the ordination of practising homosexual ministers, his point is particularly pertinent. Donald Miller admits that he struggles with strongly conservative beliefs and that he has to work at loving those who hold them.

This all coincides with a discussion I had with a friend of a friend recently. She told me about some video clips she watched on Youtube which show churches preaching the prosperity Gospel (you will be blessed materially if you give money in faith to the church) and churches that punch old ladies in the face, claiming the Holy Spirit told them to do it. She encouraged me to seek out these clips for myself. Now, of course, I see these things as being incredibly cruel and undermine the real power and truth found in Jesus Christ. Yet, I do not want to seek out clips of people doing wrong things. You see, the basic assumption I would be holding to if I did this would be that I am better than these people. I am no better. I am the same. It’s just that my brokenness and flawed nature manifests itself in a different way.

So, I’ve realised something this week:  we are all the same. You and I are no better or worse than anyone else on this planet. We might think we are no Hitler or Mother Theresa so how can this be true? But it is. Jesus taught that we are all bad and only God Himself is good. I think if I was able to put this realisation into practice, this realisation that we are the same, and even to think of others as better than myself, I would be taking a step towards becoming more like the person Jesus would have me be.

Jesus said: 

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘let me take the speck out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

To love someone does not mean to endorse their behaviour. God’s love for us is unconditional:  He doesn’t love us because we earn that love through good behaviour. He loves us because he loves us because he loves us. We talk about unconditional love in the church but often this isn’t what happens. We only love the ‘well-behaved people’, as if there were such a thing.

So what is the balance? How do you love someone, particularly Christian brothers and sisters, without endorsing their rebellion?  And how do we then love all people equally and unconditionally without expecting them to behave a certain way or reach our ‘standards’?

Discuss please 🙂

Love, Pamela x

Thoughts and feelings

I really like to share the thoughts in my head. I think because I am stretched that way; by hearing people’s responses to them. That’s really what this blog is about:  a collection of my thoughts. I don’t claim to have any thoughts which are particularly revolutionary or earth-shattering, but when they are new to me I feel like they are! Connected to my thoughts are my feelings. I think deeply and I feel deeply. At times I get tired of being a person who likes to talk things out or share what I’m thinking and feeling because there’s a vulnerability and a risk in doing so. You are vulnerable because you are putting yourself ‘out there’ for people to scrutinise and dissect; it’s a risk because you might not be understood and end up feeling more isolated than you would have if you had just stayed quiet! Yet, I can’t stay quiet. I’ve come to accept that this is how I am. I process life ‘out loud’.

These first few posts will be shaky, I’m sure, as I try to figure out how this whole blogging thing works. I am open to the prospect of failure so this may be short-lived. I’d like to give it a bash though!

Please do respond to my posts. I see no point in blogging if no-one responds.

Thanks for reading so far!

Love, Pamela x