New Blog

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Hey, if you are subscribed here or just check out this page occasionally, you should jump ship to my new blog:

RedShoePastor.blog

I haven’t written about beer or cooking in well over a year, ever new post is something to do with being a pastor or just being a vulnerable human, and I’m going to be putting my blog on my PIF, so it was time to slim down the posts, do some editing, give up on being a food and beer blog, and just do what makes me good.

So, if you follow this blog, you should follow that blog.

Peace,

– Robby

P.S.: If you are curious, this blog

Fr(act)ured (FtS Devotional Day 3)

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jesusSo I’m a little baby; I’m not actually going to use #FuckThisShit on Twitter because I’m a coward of sorts, but the devotional idea is so potently wonderful that I feel like I need to actually participate fully, which I guess means that I need to be creative.

If you have NO idea what I’m talking about, Jason Chesnut and Tuhina Verma Rasche put together an advent devotional series that encouraged us to just scream #FuckThisShit and actually be in the pain and darkness that we are feeling, both to acknowledge is and say yes, it is real, and also to look forward to Christ the light in the darkness.  Acknowledge and live in the darkness, look towards the light.  The #FuckThisShit devotional series is here and the PG version (same verses, different and PG words) #RendTheHeavens here.

Today’s Prompt: Genesis 9:15b – Fr(act)ured

It took me a second to understand the prompt today.  I read that verse like I have read it so many times before, that God has said he wouldn’t do that again.  We were safe, everything was going to be fine, the rainbow is a sign that God loves us.

I have never read that verse looking from before the flood.  Never have I considered why they got to that point, why God would even be at the point where the rainbow would be necessary.  Never have I thought about the relationship God had with the people of Earth before the flood while reading the verse about God’s promise after the flood.  Never has I thought about just how fractured that relationship needed to be.

As I sat here, I found myself thinking that it should be unfathomable to us that the world would be so broken and our relationship with God so hopeless that God’s only recourse was to destroy it all – going way beyond just “burning bridges” – and try to start over.  It should be completely unfathomable that in a post-Jesus world, that the level of brokenness that lead to the flood was even possible.

It should be unfathomable, but it isn’t.  We have:

  • police violently attacking peaceful protestors that are trying to be the best stewards of the world we live in, and people who claim Christianity and claim to follow God’s law who are driving the violence.
  • a President-elect who just said anyone who burns a flag should lose their citizenship, making the flag more important that the country is represents and the values of free speech that it upholds.
  • Christians who tell segments of the population that their lifestyle is somehow worse than serial-marriages and sexual assault and they are not welcome to live in Christian community unless they meet a standard that makes the community “comfortable”.
  • Christians who believe all Muslims are evil, that they all should be killed (or at least deported), and that any sign that Christianity isn’t given special treatment is seen as persecution.
  • segments of our society that believe being a specific gender makes you a perpetrator.
  • police brutality and anti-police brutality that accomplishes nothing but shed innocent blood.
  • people who call Michelle Obama an ape and un-ironically say they aren’t racist.
  • a city that had a “Stop-and-Frisk” policy that literally stopped and frisked more black men than black men live in the city.
  • half of our country who legitimately believe that the other half is racist, bigoted, and misogynistic.
  • a considerable portion of that half that is racist, bigoted, and misogynistic that has been given voice to spew evil and hatred, calling for open persecution of marginalized and abandoned communities, and has a real expectation that their wishes will be granted.
  • mass violence that grows.
  • great, great division that grows.

That’s what we have (and I could have typed for days).  That’s what we have, and yet somehow I want it to be unfathomable that our relationship with God is so fractured that God just threw his hands up, said “Fuck this shit,” and wiped it all away?

Look around you.  Hopefully you can see love and compassion, but I know that you also see pain, and not pain because life sucks but pain because others have caused it, and caused it because of hatred or, worse yet, greed.  Look at what has happened to your relationships over the past 6 weeks; how fractured have they become?

My response shouldn’t be, “How did it get so bad?”  My response should be, “How have we fractured that relationship – again – knowing what has been given and knowing what can be taken away?”

How the fuck are we so fractured when we have Jesus, we have the instruction, we know what the right answer is?  How?

Fuck this shit.  We know the violent and painful end of this, and yet we fracture ourselves and our relationship and our worship of God, anyway.

God, save us.  Save us so burning it all down isn’t the only solution.  Save us, put us back together, help us to act in love, compassion, and unity.

I’m tired, I’m broken, I need Christ.  #FuckThisShit.

Please Help Me Speak

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Irrelevencies

I don’t know what to say anymore.  I have no more words.  No matter what I say, I will trigger something that opens wounds, even if my goal is to heal and treat them.

I am so tired.  I have been barraged with messages that I don’t understand, that I can’t support those who protest, that I must protest, that if I am not doing something people must leave my church because I am a false pastor, that nothing is wrong and everything will be okay, that everything will be wonderful once more, that the protestors are immature and stupid, that because I don’t condemn certain voters, I am supporting bigotry and hatred.

I don’t know what I am supposed to do.  I know the greatest commandment, I know that I want so very badly to love everyone as myself, I know that I feel the pain the marginalized and abandoned, and also the ignored and despised, and I want to create dialogue and healing.

But I don’t know how.  If I see something that is unnecessarily hurtful and hateful, I cannot call it out because “I don’t understand” or “I am siding with oppression.”  If I see something that ignores – or revels in – the pain of the marginalized, I cannot call it out because “they are just immature” or “they don’t understand this is how it works.”

I just want to be able to see people actually talk to one another, love one another, not talk at the other or condemn the other or hate the other or threaten the other.  I want people to be able to say, “I vote differently than you because…” and be heard, or “I understand why you are scared, but I was scared, too, for a different reason.”  I want there to be actual conversation, not screaming and vitriol thrown at each other.

I want the marginalized and the abandoned, and also the ignored and condemned, to not be.  I want Muslims and factory workers and gays and farmers and urban peoples and rural people and poor people of all shapes and colors and creeds to be remembered and cared for and treated like humans and like people.

I want this, and I don’t know how to use my voice to do it.  I’ve been told – quite violently – that if I am not speaking out, then I am the problem, but I don’t know how to speak out.  I don’t know how to admonish people who are in pain because they are creating more pain.  I don’t know how to tell someone that just because someone else has done something – and worse – does not release you from responsibility when you are doing the same.

I want to be a pastor and a friend right now, and I don’t know how.  I know that just allowing myself to be yelled at and sitting idly by while people I love are tearing apart relationships and driving wedges between themselves and others is not how I do that.

So how do I speak?  If the answer is so clear how I can have words that can fix this, then please tell me.  Because I will speak, I will share Christ’s love and do my best to heal, and I will not sit idly and wait for it to get better.

But I have no words, and any words I speak will just create more pain.

So please, help me speak.

Why People Voted for Trump

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IrrelevenciesOkay, I wasn’t going to post about this because no matter what I say on the topic, I’m going to be accused of voting for someone.  I’m not sure who, I’m not sure who is going to accuse me, I’m not sure the ramifications, but I’m tired of people saying 48% of the nation is bigots.

It’s not and you know it.

Let’s get something out of the way.  Bigots were always going to vote for Trump, minority groups for Clinton.  Right or wrong, stupid or not, that’s how it was always going to go.  But that doesn’t include the majority of people.

So how could someone vote for Trump?  Let’s take a walk down the “Lesser of Two Evils” track.

So, you have Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.  You see Trump as a millionaire bigot and Clinton as a millionaire criminal who is above the law.  Neither has your interests on their radar.  Both are going to get us into war.  Nuance – and some fact – is missing from this, but nuance and facts are often missed when selecting a candidate.

So how do they address you?  Clinton acts like you are unimportant, a benign growth on the body of the nation, while Trump at least treats you like the heart and backbone of the country.

So, you have to vote for one of them, one treats you like you are below them and the other like you mean something, who do you vote for?

It’s not bigotry, it’s not racism, it’s not because rural people hate women or Muslims or (insert whatever group they were supposed to have not cared about to vote for Trump); it’s because Trump spoke to rural America while Clinton spoke at rural America.

You want fly-over states to vote for you?  You want Iowa to go back to voting for Democrats?  Treat them like they aren’t a nuisance, and that their feelings and opinions actually matter to you, and then they’ll be way more open to having a conversation about progressiveness.

And about Iowa specifically.  We are a joke until it comes to an election; then we’re 6 electoral votes that are up for grabs.  Maybe we stop treating Iowa like a joke, remember that Iowa was 2nd for marriage equality, and try to actually reach out to farmers and factory workers and rural people instead of treating them like Risk pieces.

Most people will vote for their own needs over someone else’s needs, and unless you voted for the rural person’s needs over your own, you can’t judge them for it.  It’s not bigotry, it’s not evil, it’s self-preservation as far as they can tell.

And it’s not stupidity, either.

That’s it.  I’m posting it, consequences be damned.  Maybe, just maybe, we can try to understand each other – and why we make the decisions we make – a bit more instead of saying 48% of the country voted to restrict your rights and make your life more difficult.  Maybe they did what was best for them, much the same way you did what was best for you.

I’m not telling anyone what to feel.  I’m not addressing the fear that many people have.  I’m not pretending to know what is going on in the hearts and minds of the marginalized in our country.  And I’m not saying this is how people should have voted – I’m very much in favor of voting to protect the marginalized and believe they are the groups we should consider first.  What I am trying to do is explain why a rational, loving, unbigoted person might vote contrary to you.

And hopefully, we can act like a united people eventually.

Please, can we stop hurting each other and yelling at each other?  It is doing no good.

– Robby

The End of Words

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black-bar 8To start, I will say this about my actions yesterday.  I voted, I sat with a family after a major surgery, someone was elected.  I will never – ever – talk about who I voted for and if I am happy with the election results.

The black bar does not mean that I am displeased with the election results.

The black bar means that I saw pastors who basically told 50% of the country that they were not welcome in their churches.

The black bar means that I saw people who called people I love and care about racist and bigots, people who truly are neither.

The black bar means that people were called evil because they found themselves voting between two evils and decided the “wrong” evil was lesser.

The black bar means I’ve seen more hatred in the 2 hours I’ve been awake than I’d seen most of the election.

The black bar means that I’ve seen gloating that ignores the feelings of those who have been given reason to fear.

The black bar means that I have friends who believe that their life is now at risk because of how the election turned out.

The black bar means that I am so angry at how divided our nation is, that people would publicly call each other evil and never attempt to find a middle ground.

The black bar means that I have not seen a singular post about love and, in fact, have been posts and tweets saying that we aren’t supposed to post like that because it ignores the feelings of those who now are in fear.

The black bar means that our response to the election is shameful, that racism and sexism, false accusation of racism and sexism, stupidity and not caring, false accusations of stupidity and not caring, ignoring the needs of the other, false accusations of ignoring the needs of the other, and every other voice whose goal is to coerce compliance by guilt or, even worse, drive the wedge of division deeper into our national fabric are all so bleak.

The black bar means that I want to scream at every person on social media and yet I have no words that can heal, that can calm, and that can make us not hate each other.

The world is doing violence to our souls this morning, and we need to stop.  Telling people you are mourning their victory and their victory will bring about their death, or telling people that their feelings don’t count and their fears are completed unfounded, is doing violence to the peace that Christ’s called us to work towards.

I just want us to stop hurting each other today.

Can we please just love each other today?  It has been 16 months of vile hatred and lies and propaganda from all sides; today, when nothing political can be accomplished and our dividing lines mean nothing for 2 months, can we please act like friends and loved ones?

God, grant us peace.