Peeling off the mask (one layer at a time)...

>> Sunday, July 25, 2010

Transparency.

Authenticity.

These are things that people are drawn to.

But sometimes I wonder if I really have the permission to truly be transparent and speak my mind...especially in the Church.

Lately I have been struggling.

Really struggling.

I am in this strange place of feeling as if I don't fit anywhere in the Church (not even on the fringes).

Although I want to live a radical life, I do not think that the things I do are really all that radical. I think that they are just a given. If you love Jesus, you should love on His people (even the seemingly unlovable ones).

I have a long way to go before I love people the way that I should or even desire to...but I am trying.

Oh, am I trying.

So I feel like there is this part of me that I have to hide.

I am too progressive for the fundamentalists and too fundamental for the progressives.

It makes me feel like a poser because there doesn't seem to be a middle ground between the two extremes (without being labeled lukewarm...which I pray I am not).

Where does this leave me?

Confused, I guess.

Not sure where a gal like me fits in the Christian landscape.

I am going to share something I wrote inspired by a friend.

I have been too afraid to share it publicly because I didn't want to get flamed.

But if I am really going to be real with people...I have to put my whole self out there.

I cannot live a lie:


You hung up the things of the world

only to pick them right back up

hiding behind the "Christian" guise (everything is permissible, you like to say)

who are you trying to kid?

you smell like sin

it's seeping out your pores...

I know

I have sin, too

that's not the problem

the problem is that you try to pretend that it's not (sin)

I have to be honest with you

When we worship together,

It doesn't feel like worship

It feels like I am drowning

It takes me back to my dark days

When I was spirit deep in the muck and the mire

It makes me second guess what I was taught by His Spirit

It makes me want to give in to the calling of my flesh

leaving me to stare at all of the frayed edges of these split theological hairs

If I speak my mind to you

you will tell me that I am too rigid and judgemental

and you are right (on some level)

But please

please

don't call me hateful.

Maybe when it comes to faith I just want to be a simpleton for once

I want to stare at my King with child-like wonder

and believe Him when He says that He came to save me from the wages of sin (mine).


I am tired.

Tired of doubting.

Tired of questioning.

I just want to believe.

Is that allowed?





14 comments:

Ken Silva July 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

"I am too progressive for the fundamentalists and too fundamental for the progressives."

Maybe that's because you're making up your own version of the Christian faith.

Best to get back to Jude 3, you know, the faith that was already, once and for all delivered in the very first century.

Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary July 26, 2010 at 11:20 AM  

This is AMAZING and beautiful and speaks so clearly of thoughts/feelings I have had myself, sometimes even about myself. I absolutely loved it and I'm sure I will be thinking about it all day!! thank you for sharing!

Mandie Oliver July 26, 2010 at 11:23 AM  

ken,

pray for me then! making up my own Christian faith is not something that i want to do.

i am going to read Jude 3.

again, i ask you to pray for me.

if i am off track, i need to know (and want to know!).

i am not sure what else to say to you.

pray that if i am in error (which you obviosuly think that i am ) that God reveals it to me through His word.

rlynne77 July 26, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

Mandie, I have known you for over 8 years. Never ONCE have I thought you were trying to make up your own version of Christian faith. You have always worked so hard to make sure you were being obedient and live out your faith. You always cling to the foundation of the Bible, never wanting to alter the meaning of the Word and its Truth.

Ken,
I am not sure how you can judge that she is trying to make up a version of Christianity. She is not challenging the Word, God, Jesus, the crucifiction and resurrection or any of those things. She is simply trying to find her place in the church and its people. If you knew her and her heart and what she has to offer this world through Jesus (to believers and non-believers) you would see she is not trying to make her own version of anything...just earnestly seeking the will of the Master.

theuprisearts July 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Mandie, just consider the source of any derogatory comments and remember "in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity."

Mandie Oliver July 26, 2010 at 12:02 PM  

Jamie, thank you! i guess that i won't unfollow you now ;)

becca, one of the many reasons you are my best friend

chuck,
guess i have to keep you now ;)

Julie July 26, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

Mandie,
Being tired is ok. You don't need to doubt because you question or question because you doubt. Believing, simply, as a child, is something Jesus commends you for - just read his words in Matt. 18:3! Don't change because of the church. Change the church.

tmamone July 26, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

Ah, don't worry about Ken. He thinks in order to be a Christian you have to have your shit together.

If that's the case, then I guess we're all heretics!

Alece July 26, 2010 at 7:08 PM  

this was beautiful, mandie. because it was real. and it resonates deep in me... questions and thoughts i've often had myself but haven't known how to put words to. thank you for your brave faith.

Mandie Oliver July 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

thank you, alece. your words do the same thing to me. they just resonate...

Mandie Oliver July 26, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

travis, i think there is truth in what ken says. i don't agree with his approach...but we can't just completely shut him out, you know?
i can see where he is coming from (as crazy as that may sound).

Ken Silva July 27, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

Mandie,

I'm not your enemy; and, unfortunately, Travis only thinks he knows some "Ken" that he's made up.

However, if you really want to talk with me, then please feel free to contact me via email, k.

*whispering* Now don't tell anyone, but I really was given a shepherd's heart by Jesus.

Why, if that ever got out, it'd just ruin my rep as the guy the Emerging Church loves to hate. ;-)

Mandie Oliver July 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM  

Ken,

I am going to email you. I honestly can't wait to talk to you! I don't view you as the enemy.
Your words just hurt me...and convicted me.
I do not believe that making up my own faith lines up with Scripture (the only trustworthy litmus test for right spiritual living). So naturally when you said that it hit close to home.
I will say, though, that you have definitely made me dive into the Word. I thank you for that!

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