10 July 2016

Live fully

Amen! and Amen!
Thanks "This Week in Church Signs" @twitter
As the #prayfordallas and other #prayfor hashtags made their way through my Twitter feed this week, I felt enormously conflicted. As a man of faith, I have seen prayer work in ways both small and large, even miraculous ways, throughout my life. I know prayer works. However, given the events of the last several weeks and months and the hashtags that have emerged from them (#prayfordallas, #prayfororlando, #prayforbrussels), I've felt that those prayers aren't getting past my ceiling, or anyone else's. I know that those prayers have been filled with pleas of comfort for victims and for the madness to stop. But it's not stopping. It's not stopping because prayer doesn't work. It's not stopping because prayer alone can't stop the madness. The reasons it's not stopping go way beyond our collective prayers. Our acceptance of our elected officials perpetual state of inaction. Our lack of humanity. Our divisiveness. Our unique misinterpretation of the Second Amendment and America's credo, "You can take my gun when you take it from my cold dead hands." Our white privilege. These are just a few of the reasons why prayer alone will not solve for the issues currently at hand.

These things have been weighing on me and it's been tough to find comfort while grappling with all this. It's been tough in conversations with family and friends. It's been tough in my personal prayers. As I started plowing through my Twitter feed this morning, I didn't expect to find comfort. Each Sunday in my 'Moments' feed, up pops "This Week in Church Signs." It's a collection of the best in church signs from across the country. These are typically witty one or two liners used to get people's attention or to pique interest and bring people back to the pews. Some of these are awesome and demonstrate that there are some very funny clergy or church ladies out there. This morning I found the best one yet in my feed. It's the one pictured at the top of the post.

Live so fully that Westboro Baptist Church
will picket your funeral

Just a quick aside - if you're not familiar with the hate-fest/cabal of evil that is Westboro Baptist (and why the Baptists have not sued these people for defamation of character, slander, and libel is beyond me), here's a refresher. These are the folks who turn up at funerals of gay people with signs reading "God Hates Fags" or "God Hates You."  These are the folks who turn up at funerals of soldiers killed in action with signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." Suffice to say, they are a delight (and by delight, of course I mean a hideous scourge), living like true Christians (which is like saying the Kardashians don't care one iota about cash), and just the people you hope to invite to dinner. That is, of course, if you're dinner is in Hell where Satan is the Maitre'd, Hitler is your busboy, and Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan are the house band.

The message on this sign, from the Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, hit me with such force! In the face of an unsettled world, why not live life to  the fullest?! Why not live life out loud? Why not live in such a way that I can grapple with the issues of the day and still literally grapple with my three year old grandson? Why not live in such a way where I can stand with those who may not look like me, live like me, or love like me and let them know I'm a friend? Why not live in such a way to help those who may be voiceless find theirs? Why not live in such a way where some of my prayers that haven't gotten past the ceiling make it further? Why not live in such a way where I'm not embarrassed to go for a run, in spite of the fact that my moobs are back with a jiggly, disturbing vengeance? (I'll keep my shirt on though - you're welcome!) There's just something comforting in the specter of living life a little differently.

In "All's Well That Ends Well," William Shakespeare wrote:

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

With that in mind, what a way to use that as a guide while living fully!

In the meantime, I've got to go craft an email to the Church with my reasoning as to why we need signs in front our buildings.

No comments: