Musings from the Midwest

Month: September 2021

Drawing Blood

I let my just turned nine year old shred some cheese and she took a little chunk out of her finger.  “How’s it going to heal?” she asks me, the one whom the children go to with all their medical questions. “Well,” I reply,” it will heal in time, but that was a ‘good one’ you really got yourself.”  “Why is it worse than a skinned knee?”she ponders. To which I answer,
“Because the cut is deeper, you damaged more layers of skin.”

I’ve had my share of skinned knee disagreements with church, but it feels like the wounds lately have ‘drawn blood’.  The inability of most Midwestern evangelical churches to follow simple health guidelines for the safety of our children and others- the unwillingness to inconvenience those who just don’t want to, or have little concern of safety, or understanding of their individual/communal actions which create a domino effect–is just a wound too deep to brush off.  I don’t want to hear one more time that they ‘care’, their faith without action is dead to me.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of arguing. I’m tired of speaking to ears who don’t seem to hear.  What other choice do we have other than to pack up, bandage ourselves and let the scar form?

And today I got a call from the Red Cross, they need blood- to save lives- perhaps the very lives of those who are in need of life saving help due to a pandemic.  Patients who are now waiting more hours, some unable to be seen, some who are injured, or in surgery and in need of blood.  And I am asked to give my blood for theirs.  It seems fitting.

For most of my adult life I’ve been unable to give blood, my veins were too small, and then I was pregnant or breastfeeding for the last 10 years.  But not now. Sign me up. Take my blood.  I’m tired of cheap words, “what can I do to help?” MASK. Get vaccinated if you are able. Stop acting as if there isn’t a pandemic.  For me, I can give my actual blood.  In their facility I’ll be around other masked individuals who will take my health seriously and the well being of others as one of their number one priorities.  It might even feel like going to church.

Beyond Parent

Arguing with a five year old is usually futile.  Trust me.  There is only so much their little brains can handle, and sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh, and know that one day they will grow up and you won’t have to argue with them anymore (well at least about that thing!).  Yesterday, my child assured me that I was not a woman, I was just a mom.  It was my identity and I couldn’t be both.  For some reason dad could also be ‘a man’, but not me. Just ‘a mom.’ 

For some people maybe that would be enough.  Motherhood subsists as their whole identity.  But I can assure you, there was a time before they were ‘mother’ and I promise, there are things that they can do beyond ‘motherhood.’  It is not my (or their) all encompassing identity.  Of course, for most of us we realize this truth. We find ways to nurture that aspect of our person- finding ways to give, serve, teach, lead, work, etc. apart from our children. And as our children grow, their brains mature, they understand their identities apart from themselves. And yet, in some tangible way until they go through parenting themselves, it is hard for them to understand the innate struggle of roles vs. personhood.

Which brings me to the point.  If God has revealed himself to us as Father, and as we know since God is not male (but spirit and both male and female were created in God’s image) then Father is not the entirety of God’s personhood God is Mother too.  God does things outside of parenting Her children. God is both nurturing and providing in ways that may or may not fit our gender norms that we know in our culture.  But needless to say whether or not we are comfortable calling God “Mother”, we can confidently say God is more than just a Father.  There was a point before anything was created, and God existed.  God probably did things, maybe lots of things, and is likely continuing to do ‘lots of things’ that are lost on our childlike finite brains.  

We truly cannot comprehend all that God is and does, it (as mere ‘children’) is beyond our scope of understanding.  But it does help to admit that we may not be able to fit God neatly in a box.  God is not “Just our Father in Heaven”, and while our relationship with Him (child to parent) is often the most fitting posture we take– God is also so many other things.  The breadth of Scripture is a story of 6,000 years of dealing with God’s children in various forms and stories.  Our understanding of who God is as creator, and artist, as lover, as nurturer, as the one who sees us is all beautiful and the more expansive our understanding the better.  With humility, we should also admit that there is more to God that can be discovered.  There is more to the Divine’s ways that will be made clear. We do God justice by admitting the lack of knowing, the desire to know, and the faith that there is an infinite more to discover.

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