I follow the Memes for Jesus page. One time I actually messaged them and got no response.
Recently I thought of a meme about PKs, or preachers kids. Often times in the comments of the Instagram page people seem to have the idea that the PK does whatever they want. That wasn’t my experience.
My idea was that PKs on the inside were the song Reflection from Mulan. In the song, Mulan expresses sadness and anxiety for perceiving to not live up to her family’s expectations. Generally all PKs I know are balls of perfectionism and anxiety, whether they end up functional or heroin addicts, Christian or otherwise. This is a mix of expectations from their parents congregation and expectations of their parents to be perfect examples of Jesus to the community.
I still grapple much with my upbringing and my faith. There’s a lot I wish were different, but you do the best you can with what you have.
Sometimes all you have is six chords and the truth or a bible and your tears, and that’s enough.
Whatever enough for you is, know that you are worthy, no matter who your mother or your daddy was.
I’ve had Being Well When We’re Ill, a Christian take on Chronic Illness by the theologian Marva J. Dawn for a week now. I was wary of it at first, as the first two chapters are rather dark, speaking to the soul of a downtrodden spoonie, and this I understand. I often cry out in writing to other chronically ill and disabled people in the hopes of touching someone else – and Marva does exactly that.
Marva herself has multiple illnesses and at times is a wheelchair user. Still, she does many wonderful things. She travels to speak at conferences, sings, teaches children, and still goes on missions trips! The book quickly becomes uplifting and a delight to read, while still staying doctrinally sound while never being preachy. The book is full of tenderness while explaining some basic tenets of Christianity, as if she is grabbing a long time Christian and slowly guiding them home to comfort, or bringing a new visitor in and seating them home on the couch.
There are many golden nuggets in this book and I’m not quite a third of the way in yet, but this gem made me smile from my lower belly up to my retinas:
“Author Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) is known for her novels and short stories dealing with people’s vain attempts to escape God’s grace. Before she died of the lupus that crippled her for the last 10 years of her life, she recorded some of her struggles in letters to friends. In one letter to Louise Abbot she wrote,
‘I think that there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do.
What some people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than to not believe…
Whatever you do anyway, remember that these things are mysteries and that if they were such that we could understand them, they wouldn’t be worth understanding. A God you understood would be less than yourself.
… I don’t set myself up to give spiritual advice but all I would like you to know is that I sympathize and I suffer this way myself. When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead…. you arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things for you. It is trust, not certainty.’
The spiritual practice of recognizing that Jesus called us to take up our cross (and not our teddy bear!) enables us to live with the uncertainty of abiding in faith. Even though we cannot know or feel with certainty, we can know the Trinity with trust because we participate in it with Jesus, whose cross conquered sin and death forever. That we know!” – Marva J. Dawn
As someone who has grappled with the idea of God on an emotional level since childhood, but still looked for him everywhere, searching until my heart broke and I left the faith to come back as an adult, I often felt defective. I never felt like a real Christian. But this passage maybe makes me believe I have credibility of a sort. We seek and we find, but what we find may all be different. For those of us with chronic illnesses, our finds may be drastically different!
I am looking forward to the rest of this book. For any other struggling Christians, I have a question so I know I’m not alone:
Have you watched the SNL movie Superstar? If you have, do you find Will Ferrell Jesus weirdly comforting? I always find the idea of God easier to grapple with after watching Will Ferrell Jesus. It’s weird. It’s irreverent. I know. Probably need to get my salvation card back from the library.
Pocket full of starlight: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on a light.” – Albus Dumbledore
Pocket full of darkness – Was Albus Dumbledore just that kid who made one-liner witticisms in class? Then he grew up, became super old and grew a beard so instead of being that jerk in class people now think he’s wise?
Some people ascribe it to everything in their life – grief over losing their job, grief over childhood bullying, grief over a chronic illness, and grief over loss of an identity. It is often used to write off anger. While these are all valid uses of the term grief, none of these are what this post is about.
As a minister’s daughter, grief is an old companion of mine.
My dad serves a small congregation and naturally, when someone passed, my
family was all hands on deck to try to serve the family of the person.
Sometimes things blew up in our faces, and we were met with anger. To this day my
father is haunted by the times he could not fully serve those around him, and
works diligently for each next time someone will, inevitably, leave us.
This past week there was a death in the congregation. I am
not taking it well, my sister is not taking it well, my parents are not taking
it well at all. It is especially hard for me this time, because I cannot attend
and serve at the funeral. Yes, today I baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to
be delivered to the church. However I don’t have a car, and I managed to get an
appointment with a research neurologist downtown, over an hour and a half away
from my residence, a month ago. My mother does not want me to miss the
appointment. Today we cooked for the grieving family so mom could drive me
downtown, and we will both miss saying our goodbyes and not help my father.
Oftentimes when I was a child, I would wake up at night to a
black room. Maybe this does not sound odd to most of my readers, but I slept
with a nightlight on. I could not see anything but the silver outline of a
person. As an adult whenever I was told a person passed and their funeral was
to be held at my father’s church, I would see such an image while walking to
the bathroom around midnight. I like to call this my own way of grieving.
Sometimes I wonder if holidays like Día de Los Muertos have
it right – introduce and embrace death young, so you know your dearly departed
are not truly departed. Remove the shroud and mystery of death.
During this time I was asked to help sort pictures. As I did so, I was astounded by what a life this woman led, and how beautiful she was in all of the pictures. How even though time had passed, I could still pick her out in a photograph from years ago, and others in her family that I knew.
Anyways, dear Sister in Christ, you know who you are, and I
miss you dearly. To your family, I can’t say any words. But please know the
cookies I made were made with love.