My son had his first movie premiere at the church with about ten of his classmates, who were kind enough to come on a Saturday morning and were fed popcorn and ice cream for their efforts. Alas, there will be no sequel, however – even before the boy said his emphatic ‘No’, you could have guessed from looking at the director’s bloodshot eyes that this would not be repeated. (Magic Man got bored of wearing the helmet about one day into filming.)
“You can’t explain it, why it didn’t bother you last year, but now it bothers you all the time. You feel a tightness in your chest. Your faith, once so freeing, now feels like it is suffocating you.”
I’m taking a deep breath here. I have a guest post going up at Archbishop Cranmer’s blog today (the blog is well-known and respected for representing God and Politics, Christianity and Conservatism). I’m well out of my comfort zone – I’m making an important point, and a very exciting announcement.
These past few years have shown a flurry of small breakthroughs in ME research, indicating inflammation in the brain, showing perhaps for the first time biochemically the ME patient’s abnormal physiological response to exercise, and a possible autoimmune origin. Finding the cause seems closer than ever – but because the government won’t fund it, we are reliant on people who know how devastating this illness can be in order to take research forward.
I’m a mezzo soprano, mezzo meaning ‘middle’ and sounding like ‘messy’, both of which I feel. In our culture, we are accustomed to disdaining the middle. The words ‘average’ and ‘mediocre’ sound insulting – we like the top, and even the bottom; we like the extremes, the specialisms.
As with politicians, so too with us: our character is revealed most truly not by how we treat our friends, but how we treat the ‘other’, those who differ from us.
Our character is revealed by how we treat people stigmatised by society: foreigners and refugees (including those of different religion), people of colour, the poor, the LBGT community, elderly people, single parents, disabled people, people with mental illness. Every life is valuable.
I had a birthday this month, and aged another year. It was the perfect birthday: a lunch out with Jon, followed by a brief push-walk by the sea, and collecting my boy from school for the first time ever. I could smell cut grass, sea spray, warm wind: the scents of Spring.
This is a book for those who’ve grown up in the church, but are now questioning their faith, or considering walking away from the church altogether. Rachel Held Evans doesn’t try to ‘fix’ her reader, but invites people to walk with her awhile, which is why, to me, it felt like sanctuary.