28 June 2011

Never Such Devoted Sisters

I don't know if I am supposed to put other people's blog posts in my blog without telling them. I'm actually very new to this, and I suppose it won't matter to my six followers. I was very moved by a post from Ann Voskamp at her blog "A Holy Experience." (Hint: if you click the title of this post it ought to take you to the post in question)

In her usual emotive and dreamlike way of writing Ms. Voskamp takes the time to stop and wonder over her two daughters and the special extraordinary ordinariness of a sisters' bond. The post could very well be about my two littlest sisters and the special friendship they have. But for me it was a bittersweet post because it was what my older sister and I should have been. We were inseparable in our childhood and into our teen years. We would laugh forever and we would fight often. I cannot count the times I was "banished from her room forever." I will never not laugh at the time I squeezed toothpaste in her hair. And when I was a baby she taught me how to scream in epic battles on the linoleum in the kitchen. But for all those times of fighting we had enough love to smooth it over, and enough laughter to cover the multitudinousness of our sins.

She was my best friend until I was nineteen years old, and even when she began to pull away from me I resisted turning on her too much because I believed this too would pass like the banishment, like the toothpaste, like the screaming fights. But it didn't. The shadow of a man stood between us. To this day, I cannot tell you why her husband hated me and my family. I cannot tell you what started it, and I cannot tell you how it progressed or why. As far as I can tell it stemmed from our concern over my sister and her family distancing themselves from the church. Whatever the cause her husband broke apart the bond of sisterhood, and I believe we both lost pieces of ourselves or at least bled some of our souls at this breaking. Like all things in this fallen world that God deemed unnatural, this brokenness won't be healed until Christ returns to gather me in his arms and heal the wound.

I don't often talk about this because to be honest I don't always think about it. The proverbial "they" say that time heals all wounds and that isn't true. Time just rubs the wound enough to create a callous or a metaphysical band-aid till Christ can heal us. I guess the sweet beauty of Ms. Voskamp's post opened the wound just enough that I can share a bit of myself. Thanks for listening.

02 June 2011

Feeling a Little Harassed?

Mere minutes ago I emerged from a harassment training seminar at my place of employment. Yes, it does sound like I was being trained in how to harass people, but it was more an informational going-over-the-company-policy type meeting. In it we were informed about “protected classes” (race, gender, orientation, creed, age…blah blah bah) and how we were discouraged from making discriminatory statements/jokes/slurs/comments referring to these "protected classes." And we were also taught what sexual harassment was, for those of us who may be a little vague on what it could be.

Anyway we also got to play a game where we were given three cards and a bunch of different scenarios. If we felt the scenario was inappropriate at all times, we held up the red card. If we thought it was appropriate any time we held up the green card. If we felt that it was maybe ok in some situations we held up the yellow. Hint: Most of these scenarios involved yellow cards. This game did effectively liven up the otherwise dreadfully boring training session, but I balked when this scenario flashed up on the powerpoint: Quietly attempting to convert your coworkers to your religion.

Ok, so first of all I would like everyone to know that I’m a dreadful coward. Why the Lord chose me to be an ambassador for Him I have NO idea. I held up a yellow card and didn’t explain myself. I didn’t speak up for what I believed at all. I could have held up a green card just to bring attention to that fact (the room was evenly split between red and yellow) and have the speaker ask me why I thought it was appropriate. What my heart was screaming was, “Is it appropriate to save your coworker from an oncoming semi!? How is this different!” But I sat silently frowning at the speaker instead.

Second, the scenario itself has so many issues just in the way it was worded. Take the word “quietly,” for example, why would this word be used except to imply an underhanded sneaky way of trying to open your coworkers eyes to the glorious grace experienced in the knowledge of Jesus and what He did for us (for shame!). Or the word “convert.” We Christians believe that we are incapable of converting someone. We can only share the good news and the Holy Spirit is the one who creates the change. And to top it all off there is that pesky “religion” at the end. One of my coworkers (who at the very least had courage enough to speak up) said that he didn’t care for the word because it was “not a religion it was a relationship.” At this point, I must admit I became a little distracted and began mentally throwing invisible dictionaries at the back of his head and silently pleading with him to tell me why it couldn’t be both. I won’t go into how obnoxious I find this phrase here, but here is a link to an excellent blog post I found on this very topic (http://www.revelife.com/717806229/relationship-or-religion-why-not-both/ )

Third, what ought one to do in a situation like this? It is true that it would be inappropriate or hostile to “attempt to convert” your coworkers after the style of say The Spanish Inquisition or the style outlined in the Qur’an (Surah 9:5). So in that sense a yellow card is perhaps called for. Unfortunately this is not the type of “attempt to convert” given me in the scenario. The scenario said “quietly attempting to convert.” This is, in fact, referring directly to what I as a believer do when I am sharing the good news about Christ. I guess I could have just said my religion (yeah, I said religion, go click on that link and find out why) is more important to me than my job and held up the green card. I could have said I loved my fellow man too much and held up the green card. I could have said all the things I said in this blog with a shaky voice and sweaty palms and held up the green card. Instead, I held up the yellow card and said nothing. It was an appropriate color for the cowardice I felt.