Real Live Preacher has taken a vacation it seems. But he has an article in The Christian Century that talks about protecting our personal space as part of the way we pretend in church. He calls that Disneyland Christianity. In contrast there is another kind of Christianity that calls for a radical intimate communion with Christ and our fellow believers.
On Wednesday night I kind of fell apart. This is not like me. I am strong, you know, keeping my emotions well under control. But Wednesday night we were reading the chapter on love in Blue Like Jazz; the chapter where Donald Miller talks about coming to the realization that God loves us and how we need to accept this fact in order to love others and ourselves. Anyway, I was asked about my experience showing love in cases where it is not returned. My children have taught me much about this. Wednesday had been a real bad day. I could not shake the voices in my head that wanted to drag me down. So being asked this question just kind of broke the dam, so to speak.
Now, if I had kept on pretending that all was well, that I was handling the immediate problem of Grace’s pregnancy well, I would not have experienced the love of my friends that night. Maybe falling apart was the best thing for me to do at the time. It let me take the love they gave me that night and do some healing. If I did not have friends around me, I would be one of the most lonely people right now. I have survived loneliness through other family issues. I do not ever want to go back to that self protective false front – not with my friends; not with my church.
It’s kind of crazy this kind of love that God offers us. It is so free and so good. There is so little benefit in hiding behind a false front of fake goodness and peace. Letting my church (ie, my friends) help me carry my present burdens is letting them be extensions of God’s love to me.
I hope I can do this for others in my turn. I hope they can learn like me that real Christianity is radically intimate as God’s love flows through us to meet each others needs and the needs of our communities.