Running doesn’t come easy for me. I don’t have fast twitch or apparently slow twitch muscles. An every day run feels just as hard as the first run I took almost 6 years ago. No matter what, I go out day after day and do the hard thing.
I do it because I feel good after.
I do it because it releases the crazy from my head.
I do it because it’s good for my heart.
I do it because I love the moment I stop and feel the accomplishment
I do it because it is hard.
Today was no different than any other run. I’ve been sick and I went out not expecting much more than pounding my feet on the pavement. My 10:44 pace at mile one dropped to 10:09 at Mile 2. At mile 3 I was at a 9:57. And when I stopped, with chest heaving and legs burning I was at a 9:34. Not bad for low expectations.
I do the hard thing because that’s what I do. There is one area in my life that I struggle to live that way.
I’m struggling. I don’t agree with the state of the church. It is a point where my generational beliefs are clashing with denominational doctrine. Church is stuck somewhere in the 1950’s while the rest of the world adapts and changes with expanding consciousness.
It’s hard to live in this space. Unlike my run today, I don’t feel a rush of endorphins after I’ve been there on a Sunday morning, I just feel more conflicted. Because no one will talk about what we need to talk about.
The hard stuff. The stuff that has no immediate answers. The stuff we don’t always agree on.
We don’t go out and restore the community. Fight for social justice. Fling our doors open wide. We don’t wrestle with why there is such a disparity between the church and the way we feel.
Instead we show up on a Sunday and wonder where all the passion is.
I want to wrestle with the hard questions. It’s what Jesus did. He always questioned someone’s firm belief. A belief held by the synagogue and people since as long as they could remember. So long, sometimes they forgot why they think it.
You may know this story. Jesus was invited to eat with a Pharisee and he came. A woman heard where he was and she bought perfume. She mixed tears with the perfume and cleaned Jesus’ feet. The Pharisee was mad, because if Jesus was who he said he was, he would know not to consort with the woman.
Jesus answered of course in a parable and turned the tables on Simon, the Pharisee. And said. You, who have little to be forgiven for, haven’t honored me once since I came as your guest. Yet this woman sought me out and cleansed me in her remorse. She loves much and is forgiven much. Her life doesn’t separate her from me, it brings her closer.
Don’t you feel like the church sometimes is a gatekeeper for God when we should be the welcoming committee? We should lead as many people to his feet as possible. Not to fix them or change them, but to allow them a space of healing. Change. Reconciliation. Rebirth.
Beauty from ashes.
This is the church I want. I want a church that reads the Bible as the living, breathing, growing book it is. Jesus answered the hard questions of HIS day; who isn’t a part of the tribe and how can we bring them in. If you look back through the old testament, you’ll see the story hasn’t changed much, only the politics of who is in and who is out.
I will continue to show up to church. It’s a hard thing. The hardest thing. I look to people like Shane Claiborne or Pope Francis who don’t want to draw circles around who’s in and who’s out, but spread the circle so wide no one is excluded.
I’m not sure what will happen to churches if we continue to be the Pharisees and we keep arguing about who God considers part of his tribe.
We know his answer.
We all are. So why don’t we act like it?