A few months ago, I wrote a smokin’ article for Provoketive e-magazine that addressed the slew of anti-public school trash talk that followed the Newtown tragedy in the name of Jesus. You can read it at your own risk here: (That last paragraph was a doozy, let me tell you…)
I got mixed reviews, to say the least. Many people understood my angst, but others, whom I love and cherish and would never hurt to save my life, were less inspired. Insulted would be closer.
I’m not looking to rehash the argument of the public school system being to blame for our societal ills. Public schools have never inhibited a student’s right to pray freely and it is not the Great Satan. I don’t need to take that discussion further with people who will never see it any other way. I do believe, however, that the discussion that followed on that thread was amazing and begged some great questions:
What’s a girl to do when she sees that a portion of the church adheres to paradigms that she knows in her knower aren’t true? What’s a girl to do when it feels to her that the church has taken that collective paradigm and seemingly created a mini “subculture” of thought which makes her feel as if she’s in the wrong if she pushes up against it? What’s a girl to do when she’s accused of being (let’s see… how many have I heard?) insensitive to the Holy Spirit, deceived by the father of lies, shaped by the world, or just straight up simple-minded. I have questioned those subgroups and voiced my opinions, sending the saints screaming into their prayer closets on my behalf, while I scratch my head and try to shake it off. I’d love some wisdom on this.
But you know what? I’m also falling in love with the church again. I see Christ’s body acting with patience and compassion all the time. I was Episcopalian for a day and fed the homeless a beautiful meal (which they do all the time—it wasn’t just a one-day shot) with some beautiful friends. A lady in my church is starting a support group for people who have been abused and just can’t seem to love themselves no matter what. She has a cure! I speak at churches whose members just can’t seem to hug me tightly enough when I tell them my story. They even let me sell my book with the f-word in it! Sweet, conservative, God-lovin’ folks who have read the book—all the words—still put their hands on my cheeks and say, “Bless you, child. You went through so much, and we can see that God has brought you from a mighty long way.”
I wasn’t expecting that.
I’ve underestimated the church. I’ve overestimated the church. When is it ever going to feel ‘jussssst right’?
Carlo Carretto captured my quandary when he wrote, “How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go?”
Indeed. Where would I go?
* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: www.daisyrainmartin.com. If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.