The Frailty of That Thing in Your Chest

So I’ve decided to indulge all the literary-ness that’s been bursting at the seams recently in this post. If that’s not your thing, feel free to stop reading now, but otherwise, maybe some of these things will resonate with you. If anything at all, reading something trying to be artsy never hurt anyone.

Humans are many things. They are bipedal. They are intelligent. They have opposable thumbs, and they even have souls. But I think that above all, humans are frail.

What’s the frailest part of a human you might ask? Is it that thing in your head that controls all the other things? Is it that thing in your back that the thing in your head uses to tell all the other things what to do?

No. In my opinion, the frailest part of a human is that thing in your chest. Although, I suppose I don’t mean that in the most literal sense. I mean it in the sense that has probably touched a lot more people than arrhythmia; I mean it in the sense that it can get broken, and pretty easily I would say.

Isn’t it strange that the thing that rhythmically keeps you alive and the thing that causes you to fall in love and cry six times in one day share the same name? I guess it isn’t so strange though, considering that pain in either of them will cause you to feel like you’re dying, regardless of whether the actual imminence of your death is fact or fiction.

I suppose that’s why they share the same name.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if humans didn’t have the second thing. (Because, obviously, you must have the first thing in order to be alive.) Wouldn’t it make things a lot easier? If that were the case, you would always know what the pain in that thing in your chest meant. There would be no instances of you feeling like you were going to die while being perfectly, completely healthy. Wouldn’t that be so much simpler?

But the thing is, that second thing does so much more than making you feel like you’re going to die when there’s pain in it. Because it also does that thing where it makes you want to spend all of your time with one person. It makes you feel like nothing else matters when you’re with that person.

What does the first thing do when there isn’t any pain in it? It functions. It keeps you alive. But nothing more than that.

And that’s the beauty of the second thing. It’s frail, but it also contains an unpredictable magic.

When the right combination of people, circumstances, and will come together, it creates a magic that can’t quite be described. Humans have a word for that magic, but it gets hijacked a lot to mean lots of different things that aren’t actually it.

But then that frailty comes in again. If you take out just one of those three magic ingredients: chaos. But I think the worst is when only the circumstances are wrong. The people are there and the will is there, but the circumstances don’t fit. When that happens, it just feels like the whole world is pitted against you. No one did anything wrong, so there’s no one to blame and there’s no one to be mad at.

What are you supposed to do then, when there’s no possible way to justify taking out your pain on someone else, when all of your insides feel hollow, when none of it really seems to make sense, and when you don’t know what you’re even supposed to do?

At that point, the only thing left to do is to reflect on all the good memories and be thankful for what was, instead of pining away for what could’ve been. Because all of those hazy, golden memories will always be there, but the future you envisioned might never be. And a lot of the time, you’ll find yourself saying that regardless of the pain that got into that thing in your chest, you still wouldn’t go back and change a thing, because it was all perfect the way it was, even if it ended the way it did.

But that doesn’t mean that you don’t try again. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should stop creating your visions of the future. C.S. Lewis said something about how letting that thing create its magic is equivalent to being vulnerable, open to being broken, because by letting that magic happen with anyone or anything, there’s always the possibility that thing in your chest will get some pain in it.

But that’s just the frailty of that thing in your chest. Because humans also aren’t many things. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t invincible. They aren’t unbreakable. But most of all, they aren’t always strong, and they aren’t always immune to pain.

Because humans are frail. And the frailest part of a human is that thing in your chest. And even though sometimes pain gets into it, it’s almost always worth it in the end.

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Christian Parents, Here’s Why Your Child Coming Out To You Is Great News

john pavlovitz

mother hugging her happy daughter

So, Christian Mom or Dad, your child has come out to you as LGBT.

Whether this news comes completely out of the blue or whether you saw it coming for a while, it’s probably accompanied by a swirling flood of conflicting emotions and fears and questions.

Regardless of your readiness, your feelings, or your theological stance, here are a few reasons why you should be celebrating today: 

Your child trusts you enough to share the deepest parts of who they are with you.

Being honest about their gender identity or sexual orientation is one of the most difficult decisions any young person (or adult for that matter) can ever make, especially within a family of faith and their extended religious community which historically are both fraught with additional risk and tension for LGBT teens. Your son or daughter is sharing the most personal, most deeply guarded truth with you, during a time when most children share the least…

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Going to Church Hurts (An Update on My Experiment)

Ah, I’ve been meaning to post a real update for a few days now, rather than just continually reblogging stuff that I’ve seen floating around. In this post, I’ll give a quick update on my non-churchgoing experiment as well as a quick, preview of a life update in general, since I feel like a lot has happened since my arrival here at SIL (but then again, a lot happening seems to be the theme of my 2015 anyway, so go figure). In addition, I hope that anyone who’s reading this is having a marvelous summer. As usual, regardless of whether you know me personally or not, feel free to get in contact with me, whether that’s through an email, message, or following the blog and commenting. I love connecting with people, and I feel like I almost haven’t had time for that this summer!

Alright, so in terms of my churchgoing experiment, it’s definitely been an interesting experience to say the least. As of today (which is a Sunday, conveniently), I either haven’t been to church in 6 weeks or 0 weeks. In case that doesn’t make sense, I went to church this morning, because I was back at home and I felt like it might be good to see what it feels like to be back after a significant period of time. Results: lackluster and strange. Lackluster because I didn’t have this magical moment where God showed me that going to church was actually awesome and that I should start going again right away. And strange because while I genuinely missed it, I also found myself questioning why I was there the whole time.

Let me explain. Continue reading “Going to Church Hurts (An Update on My Experiment)”

An Update on the Gay Debate: evolving ideas, untidy stories, and hopes for the church

Guys, Julie Rodgers gets it. I’m thankful for her voice in the midst of a topic that is often quite polarizing, and I’m thankful for someone who is able to see that things aren’t always as black and white as they seem. Read her stuff, because she gets so real on so many things.

Julie Rodgers

I was a senior in high school the first time I shared my story on a stage. The ex-gay ministry I had been attending for 8 months asked if I would be willing to share about the Lord’s work in my life, and I was honored. That was the beginning of what has now turned into twelve years of speaking publicly about some version of being gay and Christian. There were several motivating factors for me entering into the public conversation back in the day: one was that I wanted to be accepted by my community—I wanted to be the good kind of gay. The other reason was that I wanted to do right by the gay youth silently suffering in the pews. I wanted them to know Jesus loved them and they didn’t have to go it alone.

Twelve years later, I care a little less about approval and…

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Why I Support Same-Sex Marriage

Yes, I think that a lot of people in the world and in this country can appreciate this post. I’m grateful for people like Tyler.

the unbearable lightness of huckabeing

Let’s begin with the beginning.

God, having crafted a good world and a very good man to till it, declares that it is “not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

A lot of energy has been expended on that word, helper. On the face of it, it sets up a nice little proof text for straight marriage. A man is alone, so God makes a woman and, thus, a cosmic balance is achieved. Let never humanity tip it asunder.

But the more interesting word in “it is not good for the man to be alone” is the word alone. Eve isn’t spun into existence for her uterus—the “child bearing hips” modern society imagines all ancient cultures reduced women to—but for love. It is not good for man to be alone.

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In Dubiis Libertas: Opening Up the Sexuality Conversation at Christian Universities (Mark Bruce)

In Dubiis Libertas: Opening Up the Sexuality Conversation at Christian Universities (Mark Bruce)

The Pietist Schoolman

In recent posts, I’ve called on evangelicals to have a genuine conversation about sexuality, in fitting with their Reformation heritage as Christians who are “reformed and always reforming.” In this guest post, my colleague Mark Bruce explains why it’s especially important — and difficult — to have such conversations at Christian colleges and universities.

Mark BruceWhen asked for a shorthand definition of Pietism, I’ve sometimes (tongue in my cheek) offered a response like this: “Pietism is a Christian movement that grew out of the experience of Europe’s seventeenth-century ‘Wars of Religion,’ wherein a small group of believers realized that perhaps slaughtering one another by the millions over matters of doctrine really wasn’t, after all, such a hot idea.”

Cringeworthy as such a statement may be for its historical reductiveness, I think it does contain two important grains of truth: Christians, generally, have a historically spotty track record when it comes…

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