My Straw Man

Strawman-demo1

Photo Credit: DIY.Despair.com

I woke up this morning,

and there a lot of something

out of nothing.

John MacArthur had condemned my brothers and sisters,

not with a whisper,

but with his grouchy shout that yelled from his pages

from yet

another

book.

And from the ashes of their hell-burning, charismatics breathed the fire of the Holy Spirit
against such
a
horrible
man.

The morning rolled toward noon, and by lunch
Mark Driscoll
had planted pansies he had painted himself
across the walls of evangelical churches
     – kicking ass in the process, throwing his weight around the octagon like he owned Jesus' media appearances.

Munching on some carrot sticks (I'd brown-bagged it), I heard the Catholics
holler their anger against being condemened to hell

according to St.MacArthur

and bled at the divide between all this
something
from nothing. 

The afternoon tick-tocked by
(but not fast enough)
to miss
the social media laser storm
that killed
every
last 
one 
of
us.

I'll admit my anger flared… just like yours did.

After all…

… even though MacArthur preaches "GRACE to you!
Grace TO you!
Grace to YOU!", 
I learned to be less because of him
I learned to be unlovable because of him
I learned that right-ness was more important than righteousness
and I learned
that
love was just a word to be studied
in the Hebrew
in the Greek
and the rest of the world could go.to.hell.

The day I backed away,
away from the MacArthurs and Driscolls crowing about the world, 
was the day
I started getting mail
"You've Got Mail!" — and as my pulse momentarily rose at the titillating thought of a love note,
the delight turned to fear
as email after email after Facebook comment
told me:
"You're no longer a Christian"
"You no longer believe"
"There's only one gospel, and you ain't in it, you see"

I was supposed to have found family,
but they only found me
when I'd said something un-Christianlike acceptably. 

With a phrase I know all too well,
but hating my thought of it ("Go to HELL!"), I cursed those male-hierarchical-hypocritical-unkind-sadistic-mean-cruel buggers… 
and began what others see as a leftist-liberal-progressive-pansy-easy road-spineless-unsaving love life with Jesus
And I failed to see the anger underneath the currents of my newfound 'loving' life.

Bizarre.

I'd lost home with Neo-Reformers,
but because I'd never spoken in tongues,
I was rejected by prosperity teachers
who viewed
me
as unhospitable to The Holy Spirit.

At birth,
my parents forgot one small detail:
I wasn't baptized at the well
at 3 months old,
so the Catholics told
me
"No admission".

By evening,
no one was a believer because we had all found reasons to shove
our siblings
out of the sandbox…

… and for THAT, I cried.

I realized
that I despised
John
and Mark
and Benny
and Ray
and yet another John.

But I was in good company,

because, you see,

each of them hated each other too with the fiery God of John's Revelation (smirk).

"There's only ONE GOSPEL, Erin!"

"You're on the dark path, Erin!"

"Jesus didn't shed his blood for nothing, Erin!"

"We must preach the gospel at all costs, Erin!"

"We must mock and deride all evolutionists, Erin!" (and e-rumours of Einstein with a piece of chalk proving god once again become truth… I think it's even a movie now… ugh).

And one might wonder…

… why did I walk away? 

Wait… who said I walked away? Not from Jesus, certainly. But that email…

… said I walked away. 

Oh I said words too.

They rolled off my tongue so easily — in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

And I delighted in the evils of others… their downfalls… their pitfalls… their windfalls…

… and f***alls.

My qualification to answer their condemnation
was small,
but I yelled anyway
in hurt
in shame
in blame, pain and,
(using their game… and some bad rhyming schemes)
pointed out
every
wrong
thing
with
the
Other's name.

Me.

My words.

My something out of some really dark somethings.

Things that should only ever have been nothings.

Oh.

This HAS to end.

For I AM a woman
… and I am NOT second to anyone but to God.

For I AM imperfect
… and hold no corner on truth, now or about the hereafter (but sometimes I forget that…) 

For I AM a lover of Mystery and Miracles
… and I am NOT preaching a false gospel to any person.

For I AM a pacifist
… and I am NOT a pansy nor do I seek to emasculate men.

For I AM liturgical
… and I, along with the body, say:

"I believe in God, the Creator Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son…"

For I AM saved
… and I am bringing his kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven…

… and to heaven I will go when earth shuts my eyes,
and my Jesus calls me home.

My Jesus loves me, this I know,
but I also know
it's better to be kind than right… don't I?

My systematic theology brain shouts "NO!
The most loving thing to do is preach the truth of Scripture!
Repent, you sinner!"

Or… come over for tea?

Has anyone invited John or Mark over for tea? It might taste bitter going down… at first.
But I'm sure we've got honey in the back of the cupboard…
… somewhere. 

The evening comes,
the choppy lake lashes the winter-ready shore,
the leaves lay forgotten on the ground, tree branches shivering and regretting shaking off what warmed them so,
the sun sets earlier and my breath turns steamy on the air…

Finally… an oasis of time away from from the firestorm
hellbent on sending people hellbound

Free from pointing fingers

And I must ask:

"When did I marry this Straw Man, Abba?

You must have known we'd come to this place.
You MUST have! 
You must have heard the shouts,
the accusations,
the exclusions of salvation thus INCLUDING theologies over people,
the arguments,
and…

… my loathing to bring the least of these to this body.

Not just for the horrible actions of MacArthur, Driscoll, Piper, Hinn, Comfort, Cameron or whoever.

But because the loathing for them is rising in me. And how can I humbly draw the Other
when I
have easily
destroyed the Other myself?"

How indeed.

By bedtime, we are pointing to the world and how badly they hate us.
When in doubt,
blame those who we don't think have a clue about Christ.
We're gonna be persecuted anyway, right? Might as well create it now.

But… 

They don't hate us.

We hate ourselves SO MUCH…

… that we destroy life where Life has designed life to be, saying we know better.

To the letter.

And I don't know anymore if it's true…

… that I can say with assurance that:

"God loves you." 

 

 

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