Ask forgiveness. Accept it. Move on.

It’s funny how different books offer us different things at different times. A year(ish) ago I began reading “The Practice of the Presence of God” written in the 17th century by a French Monk. When I read it, I thought, ‘What’s the fuss all about?’ At the time, it just didn’t grab me.
I came back to it, started over. And I would almost think that it was a different book. Pretty awesome stuff. Basic. Simple. And I never would have figured it out on my own.
A thing that’s come up, over and over in the book, is how the author– Brother Lawrence– will come to God when he feels that he hasn’t done something well. Equal attention is paid to the idea that he asks for forgiveness and then he lets it go.
These seem like equally important things. And the second part– letting it go– is so hard to do, some times.
If I were to be honest… I think maybe I suspect that sometimes I hold onto my sorry and disappointment in myself because it’s easier. It’s easier than imagining that God would be so full of love that he would forgive me for the same stupid thing I have done, over and over.
It’s easier than continuing on with whatever I was doing, however I was moving. Taking a little diversion into a pity party can be so fulfilling. I can feel righteousness and pious with out having to be rightgous. Acts of self-hate are just as destructive as other-hate. I am as much a child of God as others, and hating myself is just as disobedient as hating others.
Ironically, even in this, I could get hung up on that same treadmill of despair. I could side step the work of being connected with God by getting hung up on the ways I have messed it up before.
As I write this, I am listening to Gungor sing about how God is engaged in the work of constant creation, about how Jesus makes all things new. I am thinking about new wine and old wineskins. Perhaps that is part of the thing: when we replay those old scripts of self-depreciation, when we put ourselves back on that same old track of self-doubt and self-flagellation, we are denying God the chance to make something new in us, we are denying God the chance to make something new with us.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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