My lateness to respond to the recent posts was because I wanted to make sure I didn’t give a knee-jerk reaction. I didn’t want to be angry or spinning. I greatly appreciate the positive support we have had and wanted to respond with a level head to it all… I went to bed three nights ago with a fair amount of anxiety. The past three months have been the hardest Michael and I have ever faced. They say things come in threes, but you just don’t expect for the grouping of three to happen three times over. The moment I feel I have a little breath in my lungs, something else hits hard.
It was sad to me how the articles spun out - believing in something many well-respected theologians hold to has blacklisted us and caused a wide array of hurtful comments. I stayed away from the comments, knowing I would feel beat up and angry. But of course, four days later, curiosity won. Some of the remarks were incredibly encouraging and wonderful – something we desperately needed. But others hurt deeply. As I fell asleep that night I tried to think of some clever retort, looking for THE thing that could help our case and bring peace. But I couldn’t find it. I knew there wasn’t one answer that would suffice. Someone would have a retort, a better answer, a fancier gun to fire.
Waking to morning, I hoped anxiety would find calm, but still, my mind swam once again. Strong was the motherly instinct to protect my family, wanting to defend against all of the people who have strewn hatred onto the oblivion of the internet.
I wanted to defend. But instead, I did the thing I didn’t really want to do…I prayed for love.
Honestly, I wanted to pray something like, “Oh gracious God, come to my rescue and crush or annihilate or rain down stink eggs from heaven upon my enemies! Make US the good guys and THEM the bad guys” …the kind of prayer that makes us feel like God is on OUR side and not the other. Our hearts were torn and hurting deeply, so I wanted to pray for vindication. But I realized God was not on my side…nor was He on “their” side. He was around and within all sides. So instead, I prayed blessings. I prayed for peace and understanding amidst the confusion and chaos. I prayed for those of you who somehow (despite our honestly best efforts), felt betrayed. For all who were berated. That’s the thing about sides – it is so very hard to see the other when a massive gulf lay between.
Both sides declaring “right-ness,” both sides stating a case but are we really listening to each other? So I prayed anger would subside; that Michael and I would lay down our desire for ammunition, and others would as well. I prayed for love.
I prayed we would be one.
I am all for working out our beliefs and theology, delving into the debate, I believe we move forward into truth when we do so. This is not about squelching the discussion. But I am not for hateful and sarcastic remarks…on either side. Berating people doesn’t help, it only hurts and loads another gun. Church history is jam packed with splits, new denominations, walls in and around and between. And it keeps happening. But unity doesn’t come by accident. It’s a choice we must eventually make. Unity isn’t us all believing the all the exact same dogma. It is loving each other over and above our differences.
I am not writing this to dig it all up again, just feeling a lot of love for everyone out there that wrote or was the receiver of a hateful comment. Let us remember we are all real people, real faces behind these computers, real kiddos to put to bed at night, real hearts feeling stress and hurt when discussions and comments run wild.
So I pray for you, for me, and for us - that we would discover unity. That as we discuss, search for truth and take leaps of faith, that love would rise above the noise and we would miraculously, amazingly, be one.