I love the church, and I love the evangelical tradition, but sometimes I fear it has not equipped me for dealing with anger, or indeed any strong emotion. I am here, carried on a whirling tornado of fury, and all the church says is, “Stop feeling angry.”
“Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Jesus – Luke 24:39
I have a confession: I often think of myself as a ghost. I don’t do this consciously, needless to say, but there is something about my self-identity that tends to forget I have a body. As a child, I was bony and awkward, but intelligent.
This one goes out to anyone who’s ever been ashamed of their emotions, anyone who’s felt vulnerable for crying in a public space.
Eventually I sob out to a few friends on Voxer: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? – and it feels good to have released something. My friend Sarah replies, and says that in lots of cultures around the world, the women, particularly the mothers, are the archivists. They record the memories, take the photos, write the stories.
Unfortunately, far too many of us suffer because we think the questions mean we are not true believers. That if we had a real faith then even in the most tragic of situations we wouldn’t have any questions. That our faith would be unshakeable. Unbreakable. That’s the lie. I can’t help but wonder if the opposite is actually true. What if our questions actually reveal the strength of our faith rather than its weakness?
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Covenant friends are friends you commit to for life, a bit like a marriage relationship, but without necessarily the geographical proximity. (And without the sex, obviously).
I feel a little embarrassed even comparing platonic friendships with marriage, and I think that sense of shame is worth noting – we have to explain or apologise for close friendships. Our society unconsciously sends the message that intimacy and commitment is reserved only for romantic relationships, so we treat very close friendships with suspicion.
There was something in me that needed to see for myself. I had had the supernatural miracle of an encounter with the divine messenger, but I needed to see the supernatural made natural: a woman who couldn’t be pregnant, miraculously pregnant. Sometimes we need to see it in someone else before we can truly believe it for ourselves.