1.26.2012

A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Post in Three Parts

I.
The July 2010 issue of O Magazine encouraged readers to "ignore memoirs by people who have barely cracked their 30s."

I read the article two weeks before I turned thirty, on the first day of a writing retreat. I was there to work on my memoir.

Katelyn Beaty recently introduced her review of Lauren Winner's new book with a nod to the issue of youthful memoirists. "Yes, our self-absorbed society is glutted with [memoirs]; yes, many 30-somethings lack the wisdom and experience to say much worth sharing. But the spiritual autobiography—a narrative account of God's gracious movement in the believer's life—is central to the church canon."

Time and reviews will tell if I have the wisdom and experience to say much worth sharing, but I'm grateful Ms. Beaty gives young writers the benefit of the doubt.

There is still a pendulum that swings inside of me sometimes.  
You have nothing to say. 
You have something to say. 
You have nothing to say. 

But then I remember: God moved graciously in my life.
I have something to say.
I have something to say.
I have something to say.


II.
Last October, Richard Ford told the Guardian, "For a writer, children make life needlessly hard." 

In her lovely essay, Writing with Children, Jessica Francis Kane quoted Elizabeth McCracken's response to Ford's generalization. "We all write with everything we have, and for some of us that includes children, and for some it doesn't." Kane went on to speculate why people are so fascinated by the "conjunction of motherhood and writing." She wrote, "Perhaps it's because they're both considered all-consuming, and people are generally skeptical of someone being consumed by more than one thing."

All I could think (other than: thank you, Ms. Kane, for nailing it): yes, and add ministry to the fire, too.


III.
About ministry. What's with the unexpected reprise of the anti-female clergy song and dance? Lately I've been hearing far too many troubling stories. And far too much about the misogynistic theology of that bully preacher from the Pacific Northwest.

But I'm not too worried, and neither is Rachel Held Evans. "Most of the time, when I am discouraged about the state of Christianity, it’s because I have forgotten the end of the story. We are part of a living, growing Kingdom in which the last will be first and the first will be last, in which the peacemakers and the merciful and the meek will be blessed, in which the tiny seeds we plant today will grow into great trees where the birds of the air will nest, in which a crucified savior is King, and in which all things will be reconciled to God in love. Control is not the end of the story. Power is not the end of the story. Violence is not the end of the story. Inequality is not the end of the story. Jesus is. Those who preach the gospel of power will come and go; they will flourish and then fade."

Amen.

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