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Confront Brokenness.

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A couple months ago, I was asked to share my thoughts on what it means to be bold. For hours on end, I sat at my computer, writing draft after draft about what boldness might be. I knew I had been asked for my thoughts because my peers who chose me believe I’m bold, but it felt like every description I came up with missed the point.I thought, what is boldness, anyway? Is it standing against something/someone? Is it a reaction to an external force? Can boldness be subtle, or does it have to stand out in the crowd? Is boldness always an action or can it be a state of mind? I had no idea, and dictionaries sure weren’t helping.But then, just a couple days before I was supposed to have my thoughts ready, I received some of the worst advice about boldness I’ve ever heard. Thankfully, it was also the exact advice I needed to hear.In an open discussion about how church leaders can know when it’s time to confront controversial topics within their congregations (such as the full-inclusion of women), I was told, “Sometimes, it’s easier…

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Confront Brokenness., Values.

Confronting Brokenness.

This post is the fifth in a seriesabout my core values here at Pure & Simple.If you missed the first four posts, you can find them here! I am a firm believer in looking for the bright side in all things. No matter how bad the situation, I’m always looking to find the positive perspective. When I don’t get my way, when I long for a different outcome, when everything seems to be crumbling, I find comfort in figuring out how goodness will come from a bad situation.Jacob will readily admit he doesn’t understand this about me. In fact, not too long ago, we realized he thought I live in a fantasy world where everything is rosy and I thought he lives in a version of the world that was all doom all the time.Turns out, we were both wrong.My bias toward finding the bright side in no way means that I refuse to acknowledge the brokenness around me. On the contrary, I fight so hard to see the positive side because I am painfully aware of the brokenness surrounding us.But I also know fighting the brokenness of the world…

Confront Brokenness.

I’m Over Trying Not to Sin.

Imagine your daughter falls out of a tree and breaks her arm. When you take her to the hospital, the nurses and doctors tell you all of the things you should have known not to let her do. They even give you an info sheet of the rules, “Don’t go too high up in trees. Don’t climb without mom or dad present. Don’t try to be fancy – climb carefully. Don’t let go. Don’t try to jump off, climb down.”Eventually, you’d probably start to wonder when the doctor was going to put a cast on your daughter. “Okay, I get it. There are things my kid and I could have done better. Can we just put the cast on so her arm can start to mend?”To some people, the Christian life looks a lot like that info sheet. They think the way to fix the brokenness that entered the world in Genesis 3 is to do all that we can to not sin. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Don’t steal. Don’t cuss. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t envy. Don’t…

Confront Brokenness.

Figuring Out Community One Step at a Time.

Throughout the past few months, I have become incredibly intrigued by community. I’ve read books, blogs, and articles about community development. I’ve picked the brains of nearly everyone I’ve come in contact with. I want to know what people think about community.  The real kind of community. Communities that invest in each others’ lives.Are there disagreements in these communities? Varying socio-economic classes? Differing political views? Do people get along even though they see the world so differently?I think the answer is yes.Yes, communities will have conflict. Yes, the members will naturally be in varying financial situations. Yes, politics will be approached differently. But these things don’t have to keep us from walking through life together. This is something I need to be reminded of often, as the steps it takes to actually begin a real community (small talk, controlling my over-active facial expressions, finding common ground, etc.) intimidate me.Last night, Jacob asked if I wanted to go outside to play catch and I hesitantly said no because people I don’t know would be around us. Awkward, right? He responded by doing his best Julianna impression (which, for the record…

Confront Brokenness.

Politics, Prayer, and Presence.

When tragedy strikes, the first thing most Christians do is pray. Or, at least, we use hashtags to tell our social media followers that we are praying . . .#prayforboston#prayforparis#prayfororlandoI appreciate the sentiment behind this. I understand the feeling of standing in solidarity that comes from vocalizing support for victims.But I’m beginning to think it’s not enough.Yes, it is good to pray for healing and comfort. Yes, it is good to pray for courage in the midst of fear-inducing actions. Yes, it is good to ask God to provide a glimmer of goodness when so much evil surrounds us.But here’s the problem I have with our social media vows of prayer: they allow us to stay at arms-length. They allow us to acknowledge that something bad happened, without having to step into the pain that has engulfed a group of people. To truly be there for our community, we have to enter into their pain. Look at the tears in their eyes. Hold them while they sob. Say “I don’t know” when they beg for explanations.After Sunday’s shooting in Orlando, Jen Hatmaker published a post on Facebook. The…

Confront Brokenness.

Are People Doing the Best They Can?

When I was in 9th grade, my youth pastor said to me, “I’ve noticed that you’re a very sarcastic person. Usually, sarcastic people are either really hard themselves or really hard on other people…I haven’t figured out which one you are yet.”I think about that moment periodically. I think about how I was not expecting him to call me out like that. I think about how I immediately started crying because I knew that I was both. Both hard on other people and hard on myself.This memory came to mind recently when I was listening to the book Rising Strong by Brené Brown. At one point, she tells the story of how her therapist came to ask her, “Brené, do you think – in general – people are doing the best they can?” As she had just gone through an awful situation with someone, she quickly responded with an emphatic “No.”When she asked her husband that same question later, he thought for about 10 minutes and then said, “I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It…

Confront Brokenness.

Change Mine.

Every year at Johnson, an event called Floor Wars takes place. This event is for the girls living in the dorm, and involves competing in various games (tug-of-war, relay races, skits, etc) until one hall is deemed victorious over all of the others. In addition to simply enjoying the experience, everyone is given the opportunity to buy a Floor Wars t-shirt. This year, our shirts had Rosie the Riveter on them.

A couple of weeks after most of us had paid for our shirts, our dorm resident, Becky, posted on our Johnson Hall (aka the girls’ dorm) Facebook page saying, “If you ordered a shirt already and would prefer Rosie the Riveter to be darker in skin tone please comment below with “change mine” and I will make the change.” Initially, I thought it was a neat idea, but that it didn’t really apply to me…and if I’m being honest, I was worried that the darker skin tone wouldn’t look as good if I did choose to get it.