-Pastor Melissa Fain-
This week, I began reading Dr Glenn Pemberton’s book, Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms.
Just so you know, I will be doing a Tuesday’s Review on it. This is not a review, but an initial feel after getting a couple of chapters in.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Those who have been with me, know that I’ve been delving into some bad theology on purpose. It’s for a good reason (because these theologies haven’t been taken seriously by the academic circles, they haven’t been authentically torn apart). It just left me feeling icky all over. Someone has to eventually pump the septic system, but it’s not fun and you don’t finish smelling like roses.
It was just so nice to read the first chapter, and have it start by telling me where I’m going. This is in stark contrast to Ravi Zacharias who basically threw me on a tilt-o-whirl and said, “This is the truth because I said it is.” Even Zacharias’ set up is never really explored or answered.
Y’all have no idea how comforting a good setup can feel until you’ve been slung around by a bad one. It is especially important considering the subject matter.
Something else I had no idea I needed was citations to referenced Scripture. One of the bigger problems with the bad theology is this need to put production over accountability. When I’m reading or listening to someone, I want to look at sources. Heck, when I see memes on Facebook, I’m often researching the root, so I know who posted it and why! If I’m doing that with something as trivial as memes, I’d better not have to do it with commentary on Scripture! I’ve been listening to and reading these amazingly crafted commentaries on scripture, and no one wants to drop the chapter and verse!
Pemberton drops all the Scriptures like a hot album everyone needs to listen to. More than that, when I see the Scripture, I’m not thinking, “Wait, I don’t remember that verse being understood in that way,” and stopping what I’m doing to do secondary commentary on his primary commentary. Conversely, I have read what he’s written, and can see the background puzzle pieces that came together to make the point real.
Living in the Real World
Yesterday, I was reading pages 15-30 of Max the Mighty to 7th graders. They were very real pages for me, because I had a very similar event happen when I was only 8 years old. For those willing to spend the $4, it’s a scary accurate look at domestic abuse. For those who don’t, the main character saves a girl from a potentially deadly situation, and discovers the police believe the abuser.
I asked God to make my second half of my life better than my first. (True, I asked God for this at 12, so I didn’t quiet get the concept of ½ my life.) The point is, part of my healing this second time around with Church trauma, is coming to terms with the reality of it all. I might not get a happy ending. The second half of my life might be as rough as the first half. It’s not about finding God at the end of the rainbow, it’s about finding God in the storm that comes to bring the rainbow.
What Pemberton has given me in a just a few chapters is God. He didn’t physically write this, but they were in his words: “Remember when you balled yourself up and wept? You trusted God enough to go there.” Do you have any idea how comforting that thought is for those who are suffering and suffered trauma? Immense.
If God is real, then God is real in our reality. If God is love, then why would God punish us for trusting God enough with our truths? I’m ready for this book. I’m ready for real.