-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Returning to Former Themes
Someday I might look back at my sacrifices and see that it wasn’t all for nothing. The pieces came together to create a beautiful mosaic. Those who broke my life into those tiny pieces wouldn’t really matter in the long run, because what I will be will be better than what I was.
It might not. I am allowed to believe there is a higher power that wants to love us and seek the best of us, while still understanding humanity’s frailty could undo and destroy everything God wants. If in 30 years I’m not better than I was, then that’s not a statement of God’s power or love. That’s a statement on humanity. There are good people who suffer and fall into obscurity, and there are bad people who rise to fame and power.
The Power of Words on the Internet
Over a decade ago I had a dream. As a minister, I was visiting a family. I noticed their lighting, and told them I liked it. Then, as an aside, I just mentioned that the crystal accents would look really good black instead of crystal. The next time I came to visit, all the crystal accents had been poorly painted black. I was horrified with myself, realizing the power of my words held so much sway. When I woke, I first considered how silly it all was. How could this family not understand the difference between a personal aesthetic and Biblical interpretation? Second, I was horrified by the poor translation of my statement. My words were taken literally with little concern to why I said them.
It was just this realization that I could be the most eloquent writer or speaker, and it didn’t matter. My words were only half of the puzzle. How people interpreted my words was the other half. I agonized over my writing. If I were to die, would they still mean what I wrote them to mean? If the answer was no, I revisited those topics to flesh them out more. I knew nothing was going to stop someone from taking a sound bite out of context, but if I could leave enough to allow others room to correct the bite.
I know, it’s a strange thing to spend my time considering. It’s just the long game I’ve been playing. When I say “game,” I don’t mean “fun,” or “playing around.” I mean “game” like I mean chess. I’ve known since the beginning that the words I posted a decade ago could hold the same amount of power as the words I posted last week. I knew this would be the case even if the words posted a decade ago remained adolescent while I continued to mature.
The Power of the Pulpit
I had another dream around the same time as the first. I was going to be speaking at a simple white chapel when someone came in and took my spot. No idea what he was saying. Just this realization that he was taking my voice. I stared at him silently, as he uncomfortably stared back while he spoke. When he went to leave, I tried to follow so I could talk to him, but he actively avoided me.
That dream has left me with the realization that the pulpit, the place where the Pastor speaks, is far too powerful. If you cannot leave space for conversation, you are not being refined in your craft. You are allowed to dull, and become less effective. It also helped me realize that those who step into that space are not capable of understanding who would have stepped in had they remained away. It goes back to God’s plan vs human frailty. I do not think less of God because bullies have the pulpit. Sometimes strength is in being a Pharisee willing to bury Christ, which is good. Sometimes strength is in brute power like Sampson, which is bad.
I suppose I needed to write all this because I’m hitting decade markers. My world began to completely change 10 years ago starting last July. By November I’d be completely broken, a new mother, and trying to heal and grow at the same time. Most of what I’ve done has been strangely informed by those dreams. Bullies run the Church. All words hold power. What God wants for me is not necessarily what people did to me.
Life has constantly guarded me against this bright and shiny message. It’s why I talk about needing deep faith, especially now that so many shallow end believers have been pushed into the deep end. I’m stronger than the poor choices others make, but I’m also human. I mourn. I cry. I gnashed my teeth at an unjust world. That doesn’t make me any less a Christian. It makes me real.