Coming after Pentecost!
Summer Movie Series!
Gotta a movie you wanna me to consider theologically?
Is it on a free streaming service?
Comment below and over the next two months I might make it a sermon topic or a meditation!
Some free sites:
To get us started, we'll start with Galaxy Quest. It's free to watch on FreeVee.
Next Tuesday, I'll post a meditation on the character Alexander Dane, or Dr. Lazarus (so pay attention to his character arc as you are watching it.)
On Tuesday, I'll let you know what's coming Sunday and for the next meditation.
Most importantly, if you don't tell me what you want me to watch, I'll watch what I want to watch! It's a win/win for me! It can be a win for you too. Comment below!
-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Every time I go to write I feel this mania. It is part of the reason I haven't written anything. (That, and the previous post I wrote, but never shared on social media.) Oh, and the National Zombie Church Apocalypse we've just entered. I'm not going to say I'm through speaking to those inside the brick and mortar church, but I'm not jumping at the bit to talk directly to them.
Consider this one a freebee.
I'm tired of reading post after post that basically begin, "But why my church?" The church congregant couldn't understand when they had great programs, and a loving congregation. Why would someone intentionally not go to something like that?
Let me throw it down for you as simply as I can.
1. Getting along with those who agree with you isn't the point:
I have always had a problem with monasticism. I shouldn't. It's not like I have that sage leader that suggested I should be skeptical of the monastic lifestyle. Nothing in my church career have I had reason to not appreciate monks and nuns. (In my church career, but I'll get back to that.)
Last week, talking about Church abuse, I felt I had a Paradox I needed to revisit. How could I suggest someone leave the Church when they are victimized by the Church, but I'm not cool with monks and nuns separating themselves from the world?
I'm just going to say this. I'm not looking for sympathy, and I don't want you to be mad a the parties involved. I spent a few years of my life in a neglectful home. First it was my mother's home, as she found dependency in an abusive drunk. Then in the home of a grandmother that was slowly losing her mind to the drugs that were meant to save her life.
As an adult I can see what my child-brain couldn't. The church wanted me to escape my neglect, not solve it. They didn't want me bringing it into the sanctuary, and warping the communion table with the truth of life.
I dislike monasticism because we were created to live this life, not escape it.
The Church, at the exact same time, became little temporary escape hatches for life. The only way for this to work is to ostracize those who bring reality into her building. And don't get me wrong, most of it has been unknowingly.
Maybe the space set aside for worship is sacred, but the Church is life. When you cut out life, you create this fake-utopia.
Last note on pulling yourself out of context with people who think exactly like you: I cried every time I came home from Summer Camp. First, I tried to bring my reality to camp every single year and no one wanted real. They wanted their fake real. Second, it was still an alluring trick to bring a camp full of people who believed the same thing together and pretend Utopia for a week. It was even worse when I had to come home and live in reality again.
2. Even if the abuse didn't happen in your specific church, it's your problem:
How are we the Body of Christ again? We are all members? That's right! We are all connected. The second we shift blame is the second it becomes worse. The second we ignore and deflect is the second it becomes worse.
You have no sympathy from me.
I may have left the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) but I didn't leave the Church. I sure as hell didn't leave God.
I do believe we need to be in community with one another as Christians. That's where we are so desperate to save the identity of institutionalized church, we are losing everyone in the process.
Church abuse is my abuse.
Church abuse is your abuse. ANY CHURCH abuse.
You were so insistent of being outside the world, the worst parts of the world came to you.
-Pastor Melissa Fain-
I cannot say this loud enough, so here I go saying it again for the dullards in the back:
I want to preach with more than the traditional means to do so. I want to preach through narrative, and paint. I want to rethink worship from the ground up.
About a month ago I went to God in prayer and just cried. I don't want to give it up.
That might sound silly. Like, who's asking me to give something up? More than you think.
You know how it feels when I get families who tell me, "I'm looking for [insert traditional mode of worship here]"? I know why they're saying it. I can't give them what they crave, and they're explaining why they have chosen not to take all this seriously.
That's a very alluring drug.
If I just do what everyone else is doing, then I'll have they physical help.
I'm already saying things most local pastors are not saying, and it makes sense. If I just put the other stuff up and away, then I'll finally be accepted as an actual minister.
At the very same time, going into the workforce as something other than a minister has it's allure too. This summer Fig Tree will have existed for a decade. That's a long time to do any form of internet ministry and not throw one's hands up in the air in defeat. It's not wrong for me to want stability.
I cried because I realized what I was already doing.
The above picture was me on Easter Sunday. Let me tell you about this picture.
It's all an act of worship.
Writing is an act of worship.
Creating music (which I've also done) is an act of worship.
My art is an act of worship.
When I think to all the times people tried to shoehorn me into their definition of what they thought I was, well, it brought me to tears. Because I can see it now. I have an extremely close and incredibly diverse relationship with God. To sever any of those connections would be heartbreaking. I can't give it up.
Where it's led me
I used to live to make sure I got a post out a week. I'm incredibly self motivated, and it was blasphemy if I couldn't get to the computer and consider something from a Spiritual/Biblical way.
I'm still self motivated, but where I'm feeling motivated is different.
These past two weeks, I felt a deep desire to give a book I've written one more epic edit. The whole time, feeling like the time was running short to get that done.
There are days when I have an image in my brain and I just have to create it. I'm feeling like something huge is coming for me, and if I don't get things in order, I'll regret it later.
It's the same feeling I had a Christmas, when I knew I needed to recreate ornaments for the tree. It was a completion of sorts, and I've made peace with it.
Just the realization that I need to get it done before it's too late. What is it too late for? I have no earthly idea. I just feel I'm running out of time, and I need to wrap some things up. It's an urgency that takes me away from the meditations.
My drive has not diminished, it's just focused a bit differently. I'm still here. I can't give it up. Don't make me give it up.