Dear Church

I keep coming back to you–tired, weak, huddled–in desperate need of an encounter with God, with unrealistic expectations about your sound system, your music, your expository sermons.

I hate name tags even as I struggle to remember new names.

Communion sometimes feels like blind taste test. My soul often feels looked over as though a grander bird is stealing all the sunlight from my measly wing span. The only solution I hear from you is to fly, fly, fly…keep flying…soar like an eagle even though I am not an eagle at all. I get the feeling as I flutter that the WWJD answer is not what we are always being told. I think Jesus himself would find a safe place to land.

I am more of a sparrow, one whose active parenting duties spanned 33 years. I have half my kidney function and a full-time job. I have partnered with God to climb some enormous private mountains, ending family cycles of dysfunction as I mothered without a mother of my own. The buck stopped with me and God taught me how to detonate the grenade that lived inside of me so that I could move forward in forgiveness. Perhaps this is why I don’t feel particularly guilty when I tell people NO.

I am officially bake-sale’d out. I don’t want to paint the church on Saturday. I don’t want to sit around and hear happy-ending testimonies that skip all the moments. I don’t want to hold other peoples’ babies.  I don’t want to serve coffee or operate a flannel board or endure patronizing changes of tone when male elders talk down to me.

I just want to be able to bring myself to the altar of worship. The real me with the 150 pages of essays I haven’t graded, with the deep love and commitment  I have for my own family, all the pictures of my Cavapoo,  the stories of my grandsons, my addiction to caffeine and the secret wish to be out on a trail running somewhere rather than sitting in a pew. I want to open a Bible that isn’t an app on my phone and sit in uncomfortable silence so that my mind and body can remember the boon of reflection. I want to hear God whisper to me, Daughter, I know you are trying to manage so much without taking synthetic hormones. I know your ovaries are gone. I know it all really has to be in your head now, which is difficult because you have no time to think. I know your faithfulness and faithlessness and it all hangs on the Cross the same. 

What if God is calling the 50-somethings in the church to put the atlas of the world down and stretch our hamstrings a bit?

By Prof. Snell

Poetry is my thing!

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