Sunday, June 28, 2009

conversations with my neighbor

you know who i end up having to forgive the most? other christians. no one will hurt you like a Brother or Sister with whom you've a) become mutually vulnerable and honest with b) gained respect for c) hold a "higher standard for" (after all we are supposed to be "little Christ's, yes?) we cannot live as if christians are Christ, and yet we cannot relate to others in a tense manner, anticipating the fall, the betrayal, the humanness to show through. what we cannot forget is that we are simply humans who hope to be on a trajectory towards Jesus. i will never be complete in my discipline, my thoughts will never be pure, dreams never in accord with God's desire, my actions never completely void of sin, not this side of Glory at least.

i sat outside and talked with one of my neighbors tonight and she told me the most heartbreaking story of a women who was raped. the rape resulted in a child and to compound the indescribable level of pain and shame (though clearly she didn't do anything wrong here) many in the church gossiped about her and spread rumors until finally she and her child left. THIS BREAKS THE HEART OF GOD. so what does the heart of God look like?

"A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins [this was equal to two days wages i'll add], telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Luke 10:30-37

here's the thing a lot of people who judge the church forget - we are just people who are trying to walk out their beliefs like Jesus did. the operative word there being TRYING. trust me, the church has blood of all types on it's hands. my lineage is responsible for contributing for some seriously bad things, things Jesus would spit upon. i won't even begin to start talking about such things as if it is in the past because that wouldn't be true. the above passage tells us what God cares about, mercy, self sacrifice, and above all love. mercy when someone has been literally or emotionally kicked to the ground. to bless the least, last, and lost of the world. jews and samaritans hated each other with a passion. how can we expect our enemies to welcome and accept us more than our own friends? what happened to the woman who was raped is terrible, unthinkable, beyond words. i am shocked and saddened that anyone would contribute to that grief with their petty crap. i actually apologized on behalf of all christians and told her that how those people treated her is not the same as how God feels about her.

my neighbor is going to come to church with me on sunday. i'm glad she's giving us messed up, sinful, jerks a second crack to show her any bit of God's love.


Gerbicks said...

woah, what a story. this sort of thing brings me to my knees when i hear that people were treated this way by christians/churches.
*thank you jesus she is finding central vineyard & jenny*

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the shame we carry from rape is so hard to bear. I'm thankful a child was not conceived from mine, a strong and brave woman your friend's friend is.

Thank you for reminding me what we are supposed to be doing here, I sometimes get swept along with the tide of 'keeping up with the jones'.

Anonymous said...

It's people like you who give me renewed faith in what Christianity is *supposed* to be about. Thanks Jenny.

Anonymous said...

Not about the post but a great article you should read.

christin joy said...

i too was raped and as a result, conceived. unfortunately it ended with a still birth. but thankfully - i did have a great support group around me to help me through. please tell your friend my heart breaks for her and that i am praying for her and i'm blessed that she chose to parent the child!

madelyn said...

Amen! great write'n Jenny... God is so Good.

ps)... u ever heard of the band "Waterdeep" ?? with Don and Lori Chaffer? should check'em out, their a Christian band, i love their lyrics and rhythm... Don traveled on a family/friends full van growing up playing music and listening to Bob Dylan and the Beatles... later he found God and the music they've made is pretty sweet. They've slowed down a bit because now they have two young children like yourself but, s'good stuff, well, peace!

jenny mae. said...

holy cow i am slacking on comments!

thank you cristin for being vulnerable and honest and raw about your experience with such a grievous violation.

madelyn - i havnt. i will now though!