Friday, December 13, 2013

A year later

On December 14, 2012, I thought, "Maybe this is what it will take for things to change."  I had thought that after Virginia Tech and after Aurora and after Gabrielle Giffords and each time, I was wrong.  But this was a whole new level of horror and I thought, "Maybe now, we can at least talk about it."

I was wrong.

A few people tried to talk about it, tried to reach for solutions, offered to make common-sense compromises and they were punished by the zealots.  Everyone else retreated into polarized rhetoric.

A few people tried to change the subject.  "Let's talk about mental illness and mental health instead."  I welcomed that conversation but it never got very far.  Caring for the mentally ill costs a lot of money and requires a system overhaul.  In my red state, the politicians are so worried that the current occupant of the Oval Office might get credit for something that they are making sure that nothing about health care improves in our state as long as he occupies the office.  We have significantly less access to mental health care in my state than we did before.

But honestly, the blue and purple states didn't address it either.  And so here we are, a year later.  Almost 200 children under the age of 12 have been killed by guns this year.  Those who care for the severely mentally ill are a year closer to despair.

On December 14, 2012, we said, "This has to change.  Whatever it takes."  Then we said, "Well, anything except that."  Then we said, "Never mind."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our new church

We really like our new church.  I have to say, it's really different to join a church that isn't giving you a paycheck.  For one thing, this is the first time in our adult lives that we've joined a church and then not had a reception afterward.  Some people came and shook our hands and that was it.  No punch and cookies, no Q & A in the fellowship hall, no one asked us to share a few words.  Yeah, weird.  And nice.

It took us awhile to visit this church but once we did, we knew it was a great fit for us.  It's our neighborhood church, which is an extra bonus since we didn't have that in mind when we moved into this neighborhood.  It continues to feel really strange to go to church and not really know anyone.  I'm so grateful for all those years of friendship in the churches that we served--the way that people folded us into their lives and loved us so well.  Here, we're on the receiving end of hospitality and we've found the church to be really friendly but it's different.  We're actually going to have to make an effort to meet people and get involved.

Two things I really love:  One is the weekly children's sermon.  Oh. My.  I never knew that church could be so funny.  I laugh so hard I'm almost disruptive.  My favorite was the time the pastor did the sermon and asked the kids what they want to be when they grow up.  The first kid said "zookeeper" so then lots of kids had to say that but there were also the requisite firemen and policemen and teachers and doctors.  Then Matt said a little ruefully and offhandedly, "I didn't hear anyone say "pastor" and so one little boy who is always so earnest and tries so hard to give the right answers said eagerly, "Okay!  I'll be a pastor!"  So cute!

The other thing I really love:  for the first time in my life, I belong to a church where I am an equal.  Ontologically, functionally, you name it--gender equality is not an issue.  This makes me deeply happy and, I believe, represents the best reality of the Kingdom of God.