amy courts: en route


Bearing the Burden
December 7, 2009, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I haven’t blogged in a while because I haven’t had much worth saying. I hope this is worth saying (and reading).

God is changing me lately. I’m growing more content with the idea of faith being an ever-changing matter, and with the fact that most questions of faith lack concrete answers. With lingering questions that leave me consistently at the mercy of the Holy Spirit and His unique guidance and wisdom for me, and/or His peace that passes understanding.

It’s especially true in my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The more frustrated I become with the Church’s failure to address the social consequences of the original, devastating fall of man – ranging from those “seven deadly sins” to increasingly common (and hot-button) issues of divorce, premature sexuality, homosexuality, and the like (you know? the ‘taboo’ issues we like to ignore or gloss over with a ‘simple’ black-and-white doctrine) – the more convinced I become that our failure is not in how issues are addressed or even if they’re addressed, but in our failure to walk with people through those valleys even when we abhor whatever personal struggle led them there or our own questions regarding the issue itself.

I’ve heard too many stories of such failure and have, on occasion, carried its weight. I know it’s too much to bear.

…Stories of people abandoned by their families for interracial marriage.

Of people ostracized by their church communities for voting one way or another in particularly nasty elections.

Of women young and old who’ve been disowned by their “Christian” families for choosing abortion over the fear of pre-marital pregnancy and all the condemnation it carries.

Of women who’ve carried to term while enduring the burning stares of other believers who can’t fathom how one who loves Christ could so blatantly let Him down.

Of men and women who’ve made babies out of wedlock and been condemned for choosing not to compound the error by marrying without Love.

Of men and women raised in Christian homes but who are now practically (if not officially) ex-communicated from their churches for coming out of the closet. One friend in particular told me of her father’s ultimatum: she could either choose to be gay or to love God, but she couldn’t do both.

Of people young and old living in the depressed belief that their prior sexual escapades have left them irrevocably ruined for life.

(We, the American Church, don’t worship sex at all, do we?)

And all I’m saying is this: If you know me, you probably know my story and exactly where my doctrinal beliefs find me. But I’m done analyzing these issues and others.

Where I stand shouldn’t affect whether I stand with my brothers and sisters.

I believe it’s in choosing to walk along side them that we show Christ in all His glory.

So, I’m choosing to walk the winding, messy, rocky, shame-filled road with Christ’s beloved because He is walking those roads with me. Because my sins continually find me out. Because even in the brokenness of the Light, I have loved Christ and known His constant, long-suffering love for me. He says, sinner that I am, I am yet among the Redeemed.

So because I’ve never been abandoned, I will not abandon others.

This is the Greatest Commandment: To love Christ and those He loves; to worship Him by serving them. To bear one another’s burdens – whatever and however condemning they may be – and in so doing lighten the load.

It is, as I am beginning to see, the epitome of being “equally yoked” in humility. It is the living illustration of walking in Grace.

For as much as any of my brothers have failed Christ, I have failed Him more.

And He has never, never let me go.

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11 Comments so far
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I don’t know your story, but this blog entry is wonderful, and i’d like to know more. is your story somewhere in this blog?

Comment by tim hoag

Similar thoughts have been on my mind and in conversations I’ve had with those close to me lately. Our views differ, I’m sure, but I can tell we both have a strong dislike of vague or non-concrete answers… or the same pre-packaged responses that still don’t really contain any answers. I’ve searched alone, with the help of others, and in all-out abandonment, but it hasn’t made it any easier. Perhaps more than anything, I’ve learned I don’t like to share about my struggles & doubts with Christians. Sad, I guess, but completely fine with me.

Comment by Eddie

That’s what sucks about it, Eddie: the fact that, of all the people you “should” be able to share struggles with, fellow wanderers (I mean “Christians”) should be first. The fact that we’re not is what’s sad…and what has to change. Not how we each view things (“Let each man be sure in his own mind” and “ready to give a reason for his hope”) but how we love each other. More…THAT we love each other, unconditionally. Anyway…thanks for sharing. And Tim…well, one day I’ll have to share it all. If you have the time, though, peruse the blog and you’ll learn “me”. 🙂

Comment by amycourts

Right on, Amy! Thanks for sharing this. It’s appalling to see how fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are treated with such disdain.
Personally, I’ve been on the receiving end of such treatment within a church. Yes, I struggled with sin, but I needed help…and they weren’t willing to go there.
Thankfully I was brought into a church family who loved me and helped me in the midst of my struggles. I’m a different person today because of it. My passion now is to show the same love, mercy and grace.

Comment by SimplyAubs

Wow, this was a happy accident along my internet travels! This is something that has been burning on my mind for years, you expressed it so eloquently. I was so hurt by the way my former church treated my Mexican husband and I in the US that it’s only been since I’ve moved to Mexico that I’ve been able to consider trusting a church again…poorer countries are more human, as they don’t have the luxury to pretend to be perfect.

Sigh…on the other hand, what I am learning in this process is that it’s important not to paint the ‘church’ group with too broad of a brush. There were many good people in my former church, but they couldn’t accept me for many reasons, and you know, you just can’t force a square peg into a round hole. Perhaps the the institution vs. free individuals is the heart of the problem…but that could be the libertarian in me. 😉

I was writing on my blog yesterday, that I love living amongst economically poorer people, because they are richer in spirit. Thanks for writing, I’m sorry for making this such a long comment!

Comment by Leah

It is because we tend to form God in our image – rather than trying to perfect ourselves in God’s image.

We want Him bottled up, locked away and clearly defined between the pages of the Good Book.

We still practice primitive tribalism, touting that we belong to teh right tribe and everyone else is wrong. Yet, I recall St. Paul writing, “Has Christ been divided?” – showing that this has been a problem since just after Jesus died.

We need to honestly examine and ask ourselves who God is. An angry and wrathful God? I don’t think so. It is how some chose to understand Him. It is not how I choose to understand Him.

Of course, when I speak of a loving God, there are always those who ask me if I believe in a Just God. Of course I do. However, it is not their Just God. Since their Just God tends to be a Judging God, a Condemning God, who happens to judge and condemn the same way they do.

Comment by richard

Leah – So glad you stumbled over here! I think you’re right: so often the flaws we see in the church (or more accurately, the outplaying of church politics) marrs how we see her individual members, many of whom may love each other dearly but don’t know what to do when their safety and security and comfort are challenged by different ways. And, as in all things, the change is going to begin when individuals choose love over fear.

And, also, I love what you shared about your observations. I had similar ones in Africa, where poverty seems to lay more gravity on community. They only have each other, and that makes them love harder and hold tighter, despite all kinds of problems. It’s incredible! I look forward to reading your blog!

Richard – You, too, are quite right. We make God in our image because it’s easier to maintain. I think of Derek Webb’s song, “A New Law.” We don’t know what to do with liberty and freedom and the ability to make true effective and affective choices, so we band together under new restrictions and constructions that make us feel just a little better about it all. No good.

On the Bible…that’s a tough one. Because while I believe it’s inspired of God, it’s still written and compiled by man…failed man. It’s a thin line. Either way, the Spirit must be free to move and teach, and too often dogma stifles Him, no matter how well intended.

And finally, indeed, God is an angry and wrathful and just God. What I find so captivating is that His anger and wrath and justice were served and satisfied by Christ on the Cross. No longer our burden to bear. And when we revert back to Him being all those things against us, we …ugh. We ruin Him and His bride, I think. Indeed: What the church often calls “discipline” takes the form of “Punishment”…and the punishment we deserved was laid on Christ, that we might find freedom instead. Ugh…

Great thoughts!

Comment by amycourts

I love the woman you’re becoming. 🙂

Comment by Amy

This is such a great blog entry, Amy. I’ve come back to read it several times because it just hits so close to home for me. I had a tough experience within my church family nearly 10 yrs ago (wow, it has been that long). As a result, I became disillusioned with organized religion and no longer attend. I miss many aspects of it so much but, unfortunately, would not be accepted if I returned. That deeply saddens me. Thanks for putting into words what I haven’t been able to verbalize (or maybe even understand) for the past decade.

Comment by Sue

i had to read that in pieces because it made me cry.
and i didn’t know what to say for a long time.

.

it is one of my greatest weaknesses to distance myself from people who do ‘unbelievable’ things. to be appalled. and yet, here i am under investigation. here i am broke and unemployed and living off the goodness of others. here i am a single, adulterous, sinning, broken human being of a parent. and i’m naturally so hostile towards others.

it’s beyond a blessing to have people with such beautiful hearts in my lives. i cannot thank you enough for walking my road with me. you’ve done so, so much. i know i’d not ‘ve come near as far without you. you’ve played a big hand in softening my rough edges.

and i’ve got far to go, yet.

Comment by leanna marie jackson

Amen, sister!

We’re already having this conversation, so I don’t guess I need to leave much of a comment, haha.

Comment by Misty Fagan




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