“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
Warning: I spent a lot of quiet time with God this weekend. As a result, I’m about to get my preach on. Unsolicited advice is coming your way. So sorry. Really, really sorry. Here goes.
After our first Momastery book club meeting, a discussion followed about how Sister has found her calling, and how many of us are still searching for our own personal calling. I’d like to share some of my thoughts about that.
Here’s the truth, as I see it. If we call ourselves Christians, and we know how to read, we already know our callings. Our callings are to joyfully and tirelessly believe, love, pray, forgive, seek peace, tell the truth, and reach out to touch the poor and the oppressed. Those are our callings. Those are the things that Jesus did. Those are the things He told us to do. Our callings are not a mystery. Our callings are written in the Bible (and the Koran and the Torah and the Bhagavad-Gita) and on our hearts, in black and white and red.
Churches often tell the Biblical story of God calling Isaiah to be his prophet and Isaiah’s beautiful response: “Here I am, Lord! Send Me! ” God and Isaiah’s trust in each other are intriguing, even enviable to us. We think: Man, that Isaiah was so lucky to have been contacted directly by God. To have been chosen. I wish God would make things that clear for me. But the thing is that God didn’t call Isaiah personally. God made a general call. God needed some ground forces to help the poor, and so like He always does, He said “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah heard God’s eternal call and cried out “Here I am Lord, Send me!” Isaiah wasn’t singled out, he didn’t receive a Holy Evite… he was quiet and focused enough to hear the words that God has cried since the world began and will continue to cry until the world’s end: Help my suffering people. If you love me, feed my sheep. Isaiah heard and answered. And then he received further instructions, and then his personal gifts were discovered, honed, and used.
Here’s the deal, Monkees. I feel like Jesus could use a few new publicists. I think He might prefer the Christian Church to feel less like a country club or marketing blitz and more like a 12 step program in an ER. (Hello, Welcome to church! My name is Glennon and I’m a jerk, so I need Jesus. You look like you’re hurting, how can I help you heal?) I think a lot of us feel the same way. We feel like there’s something off with the version of Christianity that seems to be more concerned with guarding “rights” than the defenseless. We don’t want to be Christians who judge, exclude, hide, or use fancy words that make people feel left out. We don’t want to be Christians who believe God cares more about politics and power than poverty and disease. We don’t want to be Christians who accept Jesus and then assume our work is done. We know what type of Christians we don’t want to be. So now it becomes important to ask “what type of Christians DO we want to be? What is the point of Christianity anyway?”
Jesus said the point is REVOLUTION. Jesus said that the point is unlearning everything the world has taught us about what’s safe and what’s “normal.” Jesus said the point is to joyfully and tirelessly, love, forgive, seek peace, tell the truth, and reach out and touch the poor and the oppressed. Jesus said the point is that when you become a Christian, your work has just begun.
This can feel like a hell of a lot more to add to our already overflowing plates. But if our plates are too full to say “Here I am!” to God’s calls, then we might consider clearing our plates and starting over. Because we don’t have to do God’s things TOO. We have to do God’s things ONLY. That’s why Jesus said “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we decide that we only want to do His work, and nothing else, our lives become clearer and lighter. Everything starts to make sense. Whenever I feel stressed, I stop and ask myself, is this something worthy of stress? Because there are things that are, and there are things that aren’t. And when the things we are doing are God’s things, the stress feels different. It feels less like “Oh My God, I’m powerless and small” and more like “My God. I am more powerful than I could have possible imagined.” His burden is light. And it’s so freaking exciting. Maybe the burdens we’re carrying now are too heavy. Maybe they’re boring. Maybe some of them are the wrong burdens. Maybe we should drop them and pick up God’s burdens instead, together.
A few weeks ago, I had a little vision. I was brushing my teeth and a picture popped into my head of me and my three children, sitting on a picnic blanket in the middle of a forest. I left the extra food and water with Chase and ran back to the car to get something. But I got lost in the woods. And I was gone for days. And by the time I returned to them, Amanda had died of starvation. I looked at Chase and he still had piles of food behind his back. I fell to the ground and pounded the dirt and wailed and said “Why, Chase Why? Why didn’t you FEED YOUR SISTER?” And Chase said, “Mommy, you gave the extra food to ME.”
And I thought: Oh My God. That’s it. This Earth is just a little picnic blanket that God’s left us on for a short while. And I’m afraid that when God comes back, if we have extra while our neighbors are dying, He is going to say, “What happened? I left enough for all of you. I gave extra to you because I trusted you to share.”
Monkees- I have myself a little dream. I want us to start a project together. I want us to find someone, somewhere, who is taking really good care of orphans and could use some help from us. I want us to come together and pool some of our time, talent, prayers, dough, and raw Mama Bear Monkee Passion. I want a group of Monkees to reach out to a group of children who’ve lost their parents, and I want us to care for them. Not just throw money at them, but care for them, pray for them, get to know them, love them, for the long haul. I want us to get to know each other and God better through the process. I want to have Monkee slumber parties at which sweatpants are mandatory and make-up is banned and we eat (organic) Cheetos and pizza and dream up dreams for the children and plan ways to make those dreams come true. We have all wondered if this Momastery love, this Monkee Revolution is “real.” Yeah, it’s real. It becomes real today.
Will you join me? Will you answer God’s call with me? Will you jump up with me and the Monkees and say “HERE I AM, LORD! SEND ME!”
P.S. Also, will you comment and tell us if you know any organization that you have personal contacts with and might be a good match for us? We’d like to find an organization that focuses on orphan care, doesn’t already have a lot of support, and will allow us to partner with them in many ways. We have a team of Monkees chomping at the bit to start researching your ideas.