Posted in Faith

I’m Obsessed

I am obsessed this week.  To say the least.

It’s all I talk about.
To my friends.
At the dinner table.
Via text. Phone calls. Zoom groups.

I can’t stop listening and thinking and mulling over and over and over.

I’ve been obsessed with a podcast.

It’s about the glorious rise to fame of a church and its pastor and then their spiraling demise.

Being a fierce “justice warrior,” anger wells within me over the same old story of corrupt systems and those who enable the people at the top.  Often in the well-disguised mantra of advancing the kingdom of God. I’ve seen and lived it over and over again in my lifetime.

It happens on large scales with huge followings.
It happens in microcosms like families.
It happens everywhere.

Questions loom large in my mind as I listen.

How does this happen?
Why does this keep happening?
Who is responsible?
Haven’t we learned?
How can we fix this?

Why am I so mad?

The last one haunts me.

Why am I so mad?

I know I’m mad at the pain it causes people whose desire to do good are being used as pawns in some weird game disguised as ministry.

I know I’m mad at the downright destruction left in the aftermath of shame, fear, manipulation and abuse of power.

I know I’m mad at the harm it brings to those who thought they found God and healing and life, but in the end, they realize it was all a fraud.

BUT…

As I dig a little deeper, I’m kind of mad at myself.  Not just kind of.  Really mad.

Mad that I can get caught up in advancing these systems.  I have and probably will again (no matter how hard I try not to).

Mad that the podcast could be about me. If my center-of attention, leadership-bent, late 20s, unhealed self had been put in a position that was “too big for my britches,” it certainly could be about me.

I’m okay with the mad.  It’s a bit of a righteous anger. Because it’s all just not right.

Me.
This church I’m learning about.
The much bigger system we all live under.

I dig even a little bit deeper and chatter about all this with my family.

Why am I so mad?
Where can I start?
What do I need to learn?
How can I heal?
Bring healing to others?

The answer that comes catches me a little off-guard.

Start with listening to myself.
The me who calls out, “It could have been you.”
The me who reminds, “You’ve come a long way!”
The me who whispers, “I forgive you.”
Forgive myself.
For all the ways I’ve contributed to the destruction.
For all the vengeance I now want to mete out on the “system.”
For all the times I haven’t loved myself well in the middle of it.
Because as I forgive myself and receive that forgiveness, grace washes in like a wave.
It brings mercy to my continuing-to-heal self.
It gives freedom from the past and anticipation for the future.
It breathes longed-for hope to me.

Grace.

I’m still obsessed. How could I not be?
I’m still mad. I’m allowed to be.
But I’m still going to keep reaching for grace.

Or better yet, the Giver of it is going to keep reaching for me.
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If you are curious, the name of the podcast is “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.”  Click HERE to listen to it.

Author:

I am a wife, mom, daughter, women's group leader, sister, marriage mentor, friend, speaker and lover of Jesus.

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