Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

2012 Goal Check

It is nearly impossible for me to believe that there are only a few short days left in 2012. It has been an interesting year in The Baker house. We experienced more illness (anyone remember Camp Mono?) than I can ever remember. We also made a lot of major life changes this year. All three of our children are now in some type of school setting at least part-time. Including sending one to public kindergarten.  We also made the decision for me to step down from paid church ministry after 15 years.  I can assure you this was no easy decision. However, it was a decision once it was made I had a great peace about. You see I started 2012 with two resolutions or goals. First, two live a more authentic life where I felt like I could speak up and share my views on things even if other didn’t agree.  Second, to work through all my feelings about God, Christians, and church.  I realized quickly that the first goal might not be seen as appropriate for a church leader if my views did not always align with my church. I already knew there was no way I would accomplish the second doing the same thing I had been doing year after year when I had been unable to work through those feelings.

So you are reading the answer to resolution number one. I stated this blog as my way to share my thoughts and views. It has always been my goal to do it in away that respects those who might disagree with me but also to get them to think just a little. Not necessarily to change minds but just to realize that people who view things differently than them are not “weird” or “don’t love God”. So that maybe we can start to have more conversations and less arguments. So if you have taken the time to read my blog this year, thank you. Especially, if you find yourself often disagreeing with me but you still read and comment I want you know how much it means to me.

The second goal would prove to be much harder and at times much more painful.  Prior to this year I had been in worship 5 times in 2 and a half years. Over the course of my ministry career I tried to join several Bible studies at the churches where I was serving. Each time I was asked, “Are you taking time off of work to do this?”.  I learned early that sharing life struggles was not a good idea when you were in ministry. So honestly, I had no idea where to start this process.  God used FB to reconnect me to a friend who was finishing up her ordination process and hosting a Bible Study in her home. I chickened out on the first one but after a little more prompting from her (and God) I reluctantly joined the second one.  God used this study and the women who cam to it to begin a process of healing. For the first time in my adult life I felt like I could share my struggles, doubts, and even insights without fear of what it would cost me in ministry.  I began to feel hopeful.

Actually going to church would be a much harder struggle. My husband and I had a list, a really long list of what we wanted in a church. It was an impossibly long list. It was a list created to shield us from more hurt. Finally we decided we would just take a break. It was too soon and we needed to heal. During this time I found authors and bloggers who shared some of my views. I found some that challenged my views. I also found a book I had long since given up on, my Bible. My Bible began to have meaning for me again. It was no longer just something to pull a lesson from but something to teach me and to change me.

As fall began to end and Christmas approached I found myself with a new longing. I wanted to go to church. I wanted to worship and be around other Christians. Suddenly our list became much shorter. We knew we would never find a church that we agreed with everything on. I also know I will probably never be a person who waves her church flag like a banner. However, if I can find a place my kids like and my husband and I feel like helps us live out our faith a little bit more than that is good enough for now.

So as we begin to close out 2012 I feel pretty good. I don’t have all the answers. I have by no means sorted through all of my feelings on church or mastered the art of sharing my views in the correct way all of the time.  However, I took a lot of really good steps and made a lot of progress. So for this year I can say I kept my new years goals and they have challenged me to new goal in 2013.  What about you what did you accomplish in 2012 that you are celebrating?




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An Answer I Will Not Accept And A Question I Have

Not since 9/11 have I felt such complete heartbreak. I watched the news yesterday and sobbed. I sobbed for the children, the teachers and the parents whose lives would never be the same. I sobbed the hardest when I heard it was a kindergarten class where most of the tragedy took place. I thought about my own kindergartener sitting in his classroom at the exact same time. I remembered how just a couple of weeks ago he told me they had practiced “lock down procedures”.  I have never been so glad to pick him up from school and hold him close.

I have read a lot of people’s reactions to yesterday. Most of the reactions I can understand even if I don’t agree with them. I saw plenty of post from people last night saying they wanted their own gun now or they hoped someone at their child’s school had a gun.  I don’t share these feelings but I do understand them because they are coming from a place of hurt and loss.  We all grieve differently and that is ok.

There are two reactions that I don’t understand though. The first one is, “This happened because we told God he is not welcome in our schools”. REALLY?????  If this is your reaction you are basically telling these parents, “It’s your fault that this happened to your kids because you sent them to a godless public school” . This didn’t happen because we have taken God out of our schools” this happened because we live in a sinful and fallen world, end of story. Whether it is because of mental illness or just plain evil what happened yesterday was not part of God’s plan or some way he is getting back at us for “removing him from schools”. The God I know, love, and serve does not operate that way. Load up all your stories of Old Testament wrath you want I will not accept this as an answer.

Here is the second reaction I don’t understand, “Today is not the day to talk about gun control”.  This one I get a little more than the first because I think most people who say this are trying to be sensitive to others.I get that. If you know me you know I am extremely sensitive to the hurts and needs of others.  However, I just don’t understand how talking about what we could do to prevent this is insensitive. I did not see anyone telling people who want more guns that they are being insensitive. So why is it that it is only insensitive to talk about the gun control portion of the conversation? Let me be clear I am not anti gun. I do believe that we have the right to bear arms and I do think it is a right that should be protected. However, I do not believe that right is a free for all. I don’t know where the line is between our second amendment rights and reasonable gun control but I know there has to be one. I also know there are other factors at play such as mental illness, poverty, and over all violence in our society that we need to address. Like most important issues our country has faced this will not be an easy one to handle. We will yell and fight and disagree. If we are going to get anywhere people on both sides of the issues will have to give and take. That’s how we get things done. So here is my question, when can we have this discussion? If yesterday was not the day is today? If not today then when? How much time do we have left before this happens again?

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