According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, July 25, 2011

Crippling lies and “tennis shoes” of truth

Posted by
20WednesdayJul 2011

I recall vividly the first time I tried to leave my abusive relationship with my first boyfriend.

We were driving home from church and I broke up with him in the car. He became angry, threatening to drive the car off the road and kill us both. So I did the logical thing and climbed out of the car at the next stop light.

I started to run away. I was sure I could out-run him and somehow find my way home once I had lost him…

But I was wearing high heeled shoes.

That made things difficult. I thought of taking them off and running barefoot, but the sidewalk was, as is typical of Metro Detroit sidewalks, freckled with broken glass.

I felt crippled.

My abuser easily caught up with me, picked me up, thew me over his shoulder, and carried me back to the car, reclaiming his property.

I hadn’t been able to escape that day, because, in a literal sense, I hadn’t been standing on equal ground with my abuser.

And I stayed with him for another two months, because I wasn’t standing on equal ground with my abuser in a metaphorical sense.

I grew up in a church and Christian school that taught me some unhealthy things about what it meant to be a woman. And my perceived definition of womanhood was, like my high heels, crippling.

I had learned that, as a lowly female, I was nothing without a man. I could not give anything to the world. I could only receive. I could not have a voice. I could only ask a man to speak for me. I could not stand up for myself. I could only submit to male leadership. Even my goals and dreams needed a man, because, as my church and school constantly reminded me, my “highest calling” as a woman was to be a wife and mother.

And I couldn’t find a better man. I had already given my body to my abuser (not to mention, I had been sexually abused as a child. My abuser was constantly reminding me of how “merciful” he was for being with me, even though I was “damaged goods”). And I had learned that a woman’s greatest gift is her virginity. Without that, I was a used toothbrush. A crashed car. Who would want me? No, I thought I had gotten the only man that my used body could afford.

In order to escape that relationship, I had to take off the lies, the metaphorical high heeled shoes that were keeping me from being on equal ground with my abuser. I had to put on some (pardon the cheesiness) tennis shoes of truth.

I have my mother to thank for my freedom.

I remember once my father saying, “If you get yourself knocked up, you have to marry the guy!” Crippling lies.

My mother refuted his suggestion, confidently and forcefully reminding me that no mistake I could make should make me the property of a man. Tennis shoes of truth.

A Sunday School teacher told me not to go to college. He told me that if my career goals distracted from my desire to be a housewife and mother, they were evil. Crippling lies.

My mother, upon hearing about this, reminded me that (as much as she wanted to be a grandmother) I was under no obligation to have a husband or children. And that, even if I decided to have children, I could still be whatever I wanted to be. I could be a mother AND a doctor, or a lawyer, or a college professor. Tennis shoes of truth.

I escaped my abusive relationship, not only because I found another opportunity to run (and that time I had tennis shoes on!), but because I had finally learned that I had some thing to run to.

Without the lies and shoes that were crippling me, I could finally face life without the man that I thought I needed. I no longer had to cling to my abuser like a crutch. And once I could stand on equal ground with him, I could hope for a fulfilling life without him.

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