This guest post is by Rachel Hooker.
I am not a very good Christian any more.
I used to think that under it all, I was doing the things right and that counted for something. That it counted for a lot.
I wanted God’s blessing and God’s protection, and to get those one must do all the things just so, or try to. God forgives those who are trying to do the things just so, but fail, so he still protects and blesses the trying.
Now I don’t do all the things just so. Now I don’t try. I got exhausted somewhere in my soul, doing right and finding no harvest. No protection. No blessing. All this doing the things right got me exactly nowhere and I feel betrayed.
Doing the things just so made me feel better than those who didn’t. I tried not to let it, but it did.
Doing the things just so made me feel ashamed when I failed, which was all the time.
I can’t do the things that make God love me; can’t show my love by obeying. Someone tells me he does anyway, that he always did.
These theologians. Spiritual pundits. These writers and speakers and church-leading-noise-makers teach me how best to manage the shame of failing to be like them–that is to say, like they say they are. I do the things they tell me God hates, and I wonder if he loves anyway. They predict doom for me. They do. I do. It’s easy to believe in doom. All the things they say are so intertwined with lies and shame that I am too weak to separate and pull out.
The shame makers taught me that faith is a thing in itself to amass. They taught me to hope in a mirage. That love is made perfect by shame.
I can’t sit through a “worship service”–that glorious production of music and exposition–because I am exhausted from the work of shame. I came to find community, not a dissection of God’s rules about who is in and who is out. I can’t watch the show.
I need to find people who know how it feels to have love exchanged for abuse and shame. When I find them, I know I find people who know how to love.
Faith so shrewd bans hope:
The chores of love neglected,
God is sold as meat.
Faith misplaced thwarts peace
Indulgence kicks mercy aside
Love stagnates, grasping
Faith in faith, a show
An empty table, hoarded
Taste, smell, starvation
Photo via Unsplash.
About Rachel Hooker
Rachel is a single mother of two boys in Calgary, Canada. She’s a burned out worship leader and disillusioned Messianic Jew. She is currently studying Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy and wants to bring hope and healing to other hurting people through this therapy.