I am a straight, white, male, CIS,  Christian.  In a disgusting variety of circumstances, me, or somebody a lot like me, is likely to be the first to ask questions, answer questions, expound, pontificate, and attempt to take charge.  I am learning that this is a problem.

It was a bunch of years ago I started to wrap my head around this.  I first started to think about it when the film, “Cry Freedom” lead me to the book, “Biko.”  These are a portrait of a South African freedom fighter who wouldn’t allow European-descended allies to join his groups.  In college, I began to process the idea that racism, sexism, etc packs a 1-2 punch.  The obvious loss is the way that oppressed groups are made to feel as though they can’t, shouldn’t, and don’t have the answers.  The more subtle, but no less significant problem is that people in the majority like myself are socialized to think that we always have to provide the answers, that we have this burden and duty to work out these issues.


Much more recently, my awesome church spent these months focusing on these issues.  I was introduced to the concept of whitespaining and mansplaining.  (If these terms are new to you, I rustled up this definition online: ” to explain or comment on something in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner, from the perspective of the group one identifies with,”

I have been trying to listen more and talk less.  I am embarrassed by how difficult it is.

And yet…  here I am.  Pontificating away on my little blog.   I am hoping that this is ironic, and not hypocritical, that I am pondering these things here.

Here is the thing I was thinking about today:

In addition to all the problems and injustices that this system perpetuates on myself and others, I had this realization today about the ways that I think this fouls up my attempts at relating to God.

I have these delusions that I ought to be self sufficient.  I live on these happy lies that I am not dependent on others.  I can earn my keep and my worth is proportional to the value that I have created.  I think the world needs to hear my deep thoughts.

None of this is true in the material world.  But is also diminishes my relationship with my maker.  Because I require and fully depend on “him.”  The love “he” holds for me is not earned, and he has already thought and dismissed every silly little thought I will ever have.

Maybe this is why Jesus shows up among the starving, naked, and enslaved; maybe this is why the rich man will have such a battle in entering the kingdom of heaven.  It is such a primal lesson, how we hold ourselves in comparison to the other in our relationships.  If we can’t get past that, holding ourselves above the people around us, we aren’t likely to connect with God.




Published by


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s