Monday, October 25, 2010

Cleaning and conflict

My weekend started off pretty well. I cleaned my house and actually had fun in the process. Ever since my friend Catia (from the previous post) told me one of her favorite things to do is clean her house (what?! ....what?!), I haven't looked at it the same way. She said she listens to music and it's like purification. So that's what I did, I listened to good ol' country online radio and "purified".
After, complete with candle
Unfortunately the weekend didn't stay on a high note. It went up and down, then up and down again. For various reasons. One of which was choosing to do something I knew was going to get me into trouble. I've known for some time now you should be careful what you wish for. For example, if you want to be more courageous, God will send you scary situations so you can use your courage. I usually ask to be more free and less of a people-pleaser, so I think every now and then God sends me situations in which people get mad at me or in which I think very differently from everyone else I'm with and have to stick up for my beliefs. Scaary.

I usually avoid conflict with people at all costs, even "uh-huh"ing when people make completely theologically incorrect statements about the Bible, Church, priests, etc. and just run away or hide as soon as possible. This weekend though I felt called to conflict. Not really to the conflict, because that's SCARY, but to stop doing something I'd been doing for a long time at my church just out of fear and to fit in. I didn't like doing it. I felt like I was doing something I didn't agree with deep down inside. But standing up and doing what I felt is right would involve conflict. Scary. People being mad at me. Double scary. After thinking about this thing for many weeks, I was sure that was what God was calling me to do. Why would God call me in this particular situation to create conflict with someone else, who is a really nice person, when it would be easier just to go along with it all and do something that's really not that big of a deal? I'm still not sure. I thought I was prepared for the conflict I knew would follow. But when it happened, and oh it happened, it was still hard. I guess you can never be completely ready.

Last year I went to work at a really big school, with over 100 teachers. It was the first time I felt I understood Jesus's words when he says he sends us out like lambs among wolves. I felt like I was fighting for something (not really sure what... maybe just to be myself? to believe in what I believe in, that no one there believed in?) in a hostile environment.

This summer I went to many wonderful places, like Taize, France. A place where you play and pray all day. Where people "don't wear masks", like some people say. When I came back to my day-to-day, it was frustrating for me to realize how hard it is to find places like that here. Why aren't local churches mini-Taize's? Places where people take off their masks, share, welcome you. Last year I was overwhelmed by the feeling of being a lamb among wolves, with politics and people acting out of fear, and even some wolves in lamb's clothing. It's sad, but I wonder if it's possible to feel that way also at your church? To a lesser degree of course!

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