I am a teacher.  Of 6th graders.  Music.  I often say that I teach so that I can rest up from my summer.  I’ve been on summer break for 10 days and I’m ready for some rest.  Taking care of an acre of yard, flower and vegetable gardens, various repairs that a 112-year-old house needs, and watching my 8-month-old granddaughter a couple of days a week keeps me on the run.  I’m also committed to helping both my son’s with their home projects – flower beds, flooring, new basement steps, refinishing woodwork.  Yeah.  Busy.  So not writing much lately.  

But here’s what I am thinking:

1.  I don’t trust these apologies we have been reading about.  Because I know about damage control.  Because they didn’t come until the damage was significant.  Because these guys who tell the rest of us how bad and wrong we are can’t manage to get it right sooner.  Yeah, yeah, we’re all imperfect.  But as a teacher, when I make a mistake in front of my students – and I make plenty – I immediately admit it, apologize, and correct myself.  “Oops, guys!  I just lied.  That’s not what I should have said/done/given-you-for-a-grade.  Here.  This is what I should have done/said/given you.  I apologize.  I wasn’t thinking.  It was my fault.”

Sixth graders are pretty quick to point out faults.  And to forgive.  Especially if you are real enough to be honest.  They want honesty more than perfection.  They trust people who tell them the truth.  I have this nasty habit of always telling the truth.  I would trust apologies if they were told early on.  Before anyone else had a chance to comment.  To judge.  To force the offender into it.

2.  We are not animals.  Yeah, yeah, I know that scientifically, we are classified as animals, but aren’t we more than that?  We should be thinking, self-regulating, beings.  I’m to the point that I don’t want to be identified as a Christian.  Because so many Christians – especially “leaders” – are more interested in being animals – giving in to whatever they want to blame for their molestations, rapes, abuses.  I get that Christians are “no better than anyone else,” that we are all sinners, but seriously?  Hardly a day goes by that some so-called “Christian” leader is in the news for acting on their “baser” instincts.  The first pastor who was spiritually abusive toward me had affairs with women he was counseling.  The month before the church discovered his affair, was right about the time President Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky debacle came to light and the pastor had preached about what an aweful person Bill Clinton was.  One month later, the pastor’s latest affair came to light.  Seriously?  And that’s pretty mild compared to the stuff we hear about these days.  Come on, fellas!  I’m starting to wonder why you don’t practice what you preach?  If your penis offends you – cut it off!

3.  Some days I get really tired of all of the Christians who go on rants about every latest thing to come down the pike.  Every one of these bloggers writes about every scandal – with outrage.  Blog after blog after blog.  Yip, yip, yip.  And they link to one anothers blogs posts about it.  So we can read about it over and over and over again.  I guess I don’t have a great need to repeat what everybody else already knows.  And people who follow one of those blogs probably follow pretty much all of them.  Yeah, I’m one of them.  I follow a bunch.  But I’m getting tired of all of them saying the same thing.  Maybe other people like to read repeatedly.  I’m weary of it.

4.  Christianity needs a new name.  Saying you’re a Christian these days equates us with haters, bigots, pedophiles, molesters, rapists, liars, being unethical, etc.  So does believer and Jesus follower.  We need a name that tells folks that we are people of compassion, grace, love, generosity, etc. – that we are living out this faith that we profess.  That the “something different” they see in us is trustworthy.

5.  I don’t even have words yet to describe how I feel about people who have been so hurt, damaged, abused, in churches and by so-called Christians that they are vehemently anti-Christian.  The closest I can come is frustrated, sad, disappointed (in those who treated people in such a way that they have become anti), angry, resigned, disgusted.  I read what these people have to say about Christians and the church and I am often surprised at the level of malevolence and enmity they have toward the idea of Christianity and Jesus.  And, though I have suffered deeply from spiritual abuse, I am still taken aback that Christians and the church could so venomously treat people that they have such deep malice toward everything associated with Christianity and the church and Jesus.  I get that they would question why God would allow those who spiritually abuse to inflict so much damage.  What I don’t get is that they are so adamant about speaking toward those who believe as though they all are on a par with those who abused them – when I know there are many of us who are the kind of believer they just might find are what they thought Christianity should really be about.

Now, I’ve gone on far too long because my to-do list is long and staring me in the face.  Today it includes, planting, digging, spraying, mulching, cooking, laundry, and then doing it all again tonight at my son and daughter-in-law’s home.  Followed by my granddaughter coming for a sleep-over and spending the next two days with me.  Just the thought makes me smile.  

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