Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I am not ashamed.

shame (noun): a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong behaviour.
repentance (noun), from the Greek metanoeo, to change (meta) one’s thinking (noeo, from nous, meaning mind)
I have been repentant, I am repentant, of a great many things. But I am not ashamed. Oh, I have been made to feel like I should be ashamed, I face shaming routinely. And it hurts, no doubt. But I think it hurts most, it drives me to shaking fits of rage, because I reject it. It does not resonate with who I am, and so I shake it out and off of me. I am a daughter of Christ. How dare you shame me?

I have been repentant; I have changed my thinking, from season to season, ever deeper into faith. I have looked at my mistakes, my wrong behaviour; I have swallowed my humiliation and distress; I have tasted the grace of my God, literally bathed in it. And repented, changed, continue evermore changing my thinking.

I do not tell my secrets, but I wear their stories in my life every day. They change my thinking, to embrace the expanse of human experience (don’t judge a book by its cover, they tell me, you don’t know their life...) On a day of pure intentions, my thinking is changed to action, hands dirty with compassionate acts, working out my salvation, imperfectly. Sometimes, with profanity.

I do not tell my secrets, because my religion would shame me for them. Does, in fact, on a regular basis, shame me, with distorted scriptures, guilt-trip sound bites, billboard politicisms. At first, all I see is Anger, my arguments mustered in a line of defense, to protect me, from the attack of shaming disguised as logic, in all its rhetorical polemical glory. I have my rhetoric, too; I have my polemics. But eventually, I just turn away, weary.

My religion spends so much time shaming, it makes me fear I will eventually hate the Bride, no matter how much I love the Groom. There was a season when I discovered, happily, enough grace in my heart to rest in the bigness of God, and continue loving his Church, if only by kind of ignoring it most of the time.

This is not that season.

There is only one Bride, one body of Christ, and here we are, the Christ-ians, the members of the Nation of Christ. Yet the Bride’s eye seems to see different from the mouth, who speaks different from the hands, who work different from the guts, who shit different from the knees, who stand different from the feet, who walk endlessly on the backs of shamed sinners, afraid to look up at the Bride and beg for Mercy.


And what of my church? “Well, when I rule the nation of Christ...” heh. I tell you what, in the church I attend (which is none, at the moment. so.) I assume, dangerous but necessary, and I’ll venture to be an ass for this cause – I assume that everyone has secrets just. like. mine.

He stole money from grandma to pay for drugs; she slept with another man; he’s gay; she had sex before getting married; he slept with another woman; she had an abortion...

(Tell me tell me why whywhy all the "worst" secrets have to be about sex...)

I just assume it’s there, some secret they’ve been told to be ashamed of. Some secret about which they may or may not ever change their thinking. Some secret they've been told to feel painfully, acutely wrong about. Something they've been told makes them unworthy, unwanted, and unloved.

And then, I simply refuse to be yet another Christian, yet another member of the nation of Christ, who stands in their way with guilt and condemnation. Because they are a child of God. How dare anyone shame them? Let alone me, with my secrets that I never tell.

But trust, as I trust in the one who told me I no longer needed to listen to shame... Trust; I am not ashamed.

I pray you aren't either.