fence painting

Haven't been writing this week; I've been painting my fence, just to let my inner child play.

This all started because of a conversation between my youngest child, who's an expert at inner-child awareness and play, and myself, whose inner child still wants to make sure everything is perfect before any play is allowed.  (Which means, it would happen never, because perfection cannot be achieved.)

Then my spiritual director told me (again) that I would probably really appreciate this book she's recommended at least once or twice before, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

One of the exercises in The Artist's Way was to make a list of 20 things I like to do, and then perhaps do one.  One of the things on my list was "I like to paint," immediately followed by, "I can't paint." 

I realized that I have all these rules in my head about what's okay and not okay to do:

  • It needs to be useful.
  • It needs to be "holy."
  • Other people need to think it's good.
  • Blah blah blah blah blah--you know how the inner critics talk.

Which meant it was time to ignore all the rules, and paint.

When I started thinking about what to paint, my backyard fence came to mind.  The fence is about 10 years old, and it's on its last legs.  

Here's what the means, practically speaking.

One morning a couple of months back, I was doing my morning treadmill routine in my bedroom when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  I glanced over, and a big black dog was sitting in my bedroom, staring at me.

Background info: my dogs are little fluffy white poodly mixes.  

After my initial yelp, I hopped off the treadmill and shooed the (fortunately friendly) big black dog out into the back yard, where it became apparent that he had simply shoved aside part of the fence, and then availed himself of the dog door in the garage for his visit to my home and eventually my bedroom.

So. Clearly, this fence is only  marginally doing what it was made to do; its end is nigh; therefore, if I paint it, and it's bad, it won't matter.  

When Andy was in college, he was captain of the cross country team.  Our college was small, our cross country team was small, and at one meet he said to the team, "Guys, we're gonna get smoked."  After that, they called him Captain O, for Captain Optimistic.

This is pretty much how I felt about my painterly endeavors: it's not going to be awesome, but hey.  I'm going to show up and do what I want to do anyway.

So I began with a rainbow mandala that turned into a flower.

Painting this rainbow mandala sunflower made me so happy that I didn't want to stop.  So then I created a Starry Night homage with a swirly mandala moon, because Starry Night, y'all.  

And also because of my favorite part of Dr. Who: "He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty."  #lifegoals

Then, over in the corner, a Love-vine and its branches wanted to grow out of the house.

And then there needed to be a heart-winged, rainbow-haloed angel sort of creature, rising from the waves.

I don't know what's coming next.  

There's no plan here; it's just me and some paint and some round sponge brushes, dotting out whatever comes to mind.  

I'm amazed at how happy this makes me feel, and how much inner space dotting paint on a fence seems to create in my soul.

A little bit of paint, a whole lot of happy.  

The soul knows what it needs.  I just have to listen.

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bits and pieces

As unfundamentalist parents, we never use our power over our children to control or coerce them. Instead, we place our power under our children, to lift them up. We place our power beside our children, to shelter and shade them.

Instead of limiting my children to walk in the paths I’ve followed, I hope that my power under and beside them enables them to go farther and higher than I can even imagine.

But those are just my hopes and dreams; my kids have the right to determine their own paths, and I’m committed to accepting and supporting them, no matter what, and doing my own emotional work along the way.

Kay Bruner

"Comforting," Zachariah Njobo, at the Dallas Arboretum Zimsculpt exhibition

"Comforting," Zachariah Njobo, at the Dallas Arboretum Zimsculpt exhibition

Yup, you read that right: I just quoted myself here, to tease a post on another blog!  

This week, I'm guest-posting for my friend Cindy Wang Brandt at her Patheos blog, Unfundamentalist Parenting.  I wrote about 5 Things Therapy Training Taught Me About Parenting.  

Hop on over there and see what therapy-things like unconditional positive regard, self-determination, and power differentials have to do with parenting.

I also write a monthly column at A Life Overseas.  What I write here at my blog are my own personal meanderings.  It's kind of a read-at-you-own-risk deal here. At A Life Overseas, I work hard to be logical and helpful and well-resourced, so every once in a while you might want to go over there, to check out my more professional alter ego.  

Last month my column was about shame, and I thought it was a pretty darn good one.  I invite you to click over there, read it, and see what you think!

Another ongoing project is animations for my YouTube channel, and I've created a couple of new ones lately.  

I get this question over and over: "My faith has shifted, but my family is still really conservative, and they pressure me to conform to their values.  What can I do about this?"  

I'd written and spoken this answer so many times that I finally decided to make an animation.  Easier and more fun for everybody.  (Too bad actually dealing with this isn't just as fun and easy...)

This next animation also came from answering a question on Facebook.  I had posted an article about how common behaviors like "forgetting" and "joking" can be abusive, and somebody asked, "But how can you tell?"  

There you go, friends, bits and pieces of my work from all over!  Enjoy!

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metamorphosis

Is this what it's like for butterflies, fresh out of the cocoon, sitting and slowly flapping, drying their wings?

Monarch butterflies, Forth Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch butterflies, Forth Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

They used to crawl slowly over the earth,

down a tree trunk,

across a leaf,

through the grass,

step by laborious step.

Of course, they turn into very beautiful butterflies after the whole mitochondrial soup thing, but how terribly disorienting to FLY--

when all you've ever done before is crawl.

Do they ever get lost?

Flying over the places they used to crawl?

Is there a homing beacon that leads them to food, water, safety, community, their place for procreation, or else all butterflies would end?

Monarch butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Sometimes I think it would all be so much easier if I could just operate by instinct, each new phase of life coming without trauma surprise confusion, just the next natural thing that happens in the natural world.  (If you're not growing and changing, you're dead, after all.)

I sometimes stand outside the locked doors of the past, wishing I had the power to get back in.

Does the butterfly feel this way about the cocoon?  Wanting back in, but not having the power to get there?

But it's not about power, really.  

It's about metamorphosis.

The change that transforms you into a beautiful, unrecognizable self.

Once that change has come, you can't go back.  You can't unmake yourself.

The cocoon is broken, for one thing, and you're no longer a caterpillar, for another.  

It's beautiful, being a butterfly now.

And.

It's terrifying,

being a butterfly now.

You can't go back.

You can't go back.

So.

Accept it. 

Dry your wings, dry your tears.

Bow to the natural wisdom of growth and newness of life.

Metamorphose.

Let the change come, as change must.

And then fly, as butterflies were made to do.

Monarch Butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch Butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

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lament

My spiritual director wanted me to work on lament this month.  She sent me these wonderfully detailed directions, even.  

I don't want to be that client who won't try anything new, so I gave it a shot.  

I'm not sure it was supposed to turn out like this, but I have Sharpies, and I'm not afraid to use them.

I adapted the basic outline and used a new Sharpie color for each stage of the lament:

Address God (pink)

Make your complaint (purple)

Affirm trust (blue)

Express deepest desires (green)

Receive assurance (yellow)

Express gratitude (orange)

And finally, because I needed to use my red Sharpie to complete the rainbow, and I wanted something to hold it all together, I wrote out my favorite benediction.

As often happens, when I journal, I end up seeing things when I'm done that I don't know are happening when I'm writing.

I look at this now, and I see the great Love at the center of everything, and the darkness that threatens to overcome it:  fear and anger and control and oppression and abandonment, all the things that leave us alone, alone, alone.

And then the comfort and the presence and the assurance, and finally the ability to look outside of our own lament, to see that the rest of the world's lament is so much like our own, and then to consider how we might move from our own pain into the pain of the world, with courage and strength and support and help.

Lament, I think, should connect us.  

Connect us to the reality of our own pain, yes.  But beyond that, connect us to one another, to the lament in each other.

Dear God, Great Love that holds the universe together, give us eyes to see the beauty in one another, ears to the hear the music of our souls, hands to receive the infinite mercy of your Love and to extend it to one another.

Do not leave us alone.

It's Juneteenth today.

On June 19, 1865, union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, carrying news of the end of the Civil War and of freedom for enslaved Texans.

Of course, those people had actually been free for two and half years already, with President Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

With the Philando Castile verdict this last week, it's a bit hard to feel triumphant about Juneteenth.  It's a pretty lamenty kind of time right now.

How much are we, as a nation, still trapped in that dark circle of power, fear, anger, control, oppression and alone alone alone?

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."  Nelson Mandela

Go into the world in peace.

Have courage.

Hold onto what is good.

Return no one evil for evil.

Strengthen the faint-hearted.

Support the weak.

Help the suffering.

Honor all persons.

Honor all creation.

Love and serve the Lord,

rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And may the love of God, the light of Christ,

and the power and communion of that Spirit be with you all.

Amen.

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"I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia:" why I won't be stoning the LGBTQ community, no matter what authority tells me

"The price of His love is sometimes high, but it must be paid."  Aunt Lydia, in The Handmaid's Tale, Season 1, Episode 10, Hulu

Arches National Park, photo: me and my cell phone

Arches National Park, photo: me and my cell phone

July, 1961, a basement on the Yale University campus.  

The trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman is underway, and psychologist Stanley Milgram begins a series of social psychology experiments, designed to answer the burning question of the day:  

Could Eichman and other Nazis simply have been following orders?  

Would normal human beings really harm other human beings, just because an authority figure told them to do so?

In Milgram's experiment, test subjects were told that they were "teachers" helping a "student" learn a series of word pairs.  When the "student" made a mistake, the "teacher" was ordered to administer an electric shock to the "student."  The shocks would increase in voltage, up to 450 volts--potentially fatal.  

The shocks were not actually administered in the experiment, but the test subjects believed that they were.  The "students" being shocked were placed in another room, where the test subjects could hear them cry out in pain, bang on the wall, complain about their heart condition, and then fall ominously silent.

Milgram found that about 60% of test subjects would continue to administer shocks after the victims fell silent, to the full 450 volt limit of the test.

Milgram's results have been replicated over the years and around the world with similar results.

What the research tells us: the majority of human beings will do harm to another, if ordered by an authority figure to do so.

Source

Zion National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Zion National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Pastor Stan Mitchell shared this story on his Facebook page this week:

Just spent a very stealth & quiet 5 minutes with a Southern Baptist pastor's wife whose husband happens to pastor a large church a few hundred miles from Nashville. Their son who is gay, now lives in our beloved City of Music and, lately, has been visiting GRACEPOINTE. She wept as she explained that of their four children, he was the most beautiful of spirit, the kindest, the most loving (she was obviously troubled by the reality that she simply could not capture his beauty with her hurried and pained words) and yet, and yet, they "destroyed him" with their faith. Destroyed him.

I will never forget and forever will be inspired by her request: "Love him for us. Love him the way he deserves. Love him the way we should have. Tell him what I wanted to and couldn't." My heart broke. I couldn't tell for whom it broke more - mom or son. I told her there was still time and opportunity for her to do this. She looked dubiously around the foyer of the hotel, teeming with her husband's ministerial peers, and said with the saddest of eyes, "Please love him." And she walked away. I have scarcely met a sadder human. Trapped. My chest physically hurt.

The Milgram experiment, in action, at a religious convention this week.  Authority says, "Destroy your child," and a mother obeys.

About a year ago, the Target bathroom brouhaha broke out in social media land.  And when that happened, I thought, "It's too bad that people are being hoodwinked into believing that trans people are a threat.  I'll let people know how trans folk and other LGBTQ people are at risk for abuse and suicide, and I'm sure people won't want to say hurtful things on social media once they understand."

I mean, this is what changed my mind and heart about the LGBTQ community: understanding that the narrative I'd heard was wrong, and that people were being harmed by that wrong narrative.

So when someone posts something homophobic or transphobic, my strategy is to post up some helpful articles from medical, spiritual, and social perspectives that counter the narrative of fear, and show the realities from a respectful, peer-reviewed point of view.  

My posts are most often met with, "the bible clearly says..."  

Then I'll generally say, "LGBTQ youth raised in highly rejecting homes are 8 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO ATTEMPT SUICIDE.  No matter what the bible says, we're doing something wrong if CHILDREN want to kill themselves over this."

You know the response I generally get at that point?

Silence.

I have literally never had one single person say, "Oh, wow, I didn't realize that.  I would never want to cause harm to someone who's already hurting."

Sometimes someone will repeat, "But the bible clearly says..."

And Stanley Milgram is proven right all over again: if authority tells us to harm someone, most of us will.

There's hope, though: because Milgram's experiment showed that NOT EVERYBODY WILL HARM ANOTHER.  

Lots of people will.  

But not EVERYONE.

And WE can choose to be the outliers, the ones who break the curve.

Canyonlands National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Canyonlands National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

The Handmaid's Tale wrapped up this past week, its climactic scene one in which the handmaids were ordered to stone to death one of their own who was charged with endangering a child.

The handmaids, rocks in hand, surrounded by machine-gun-totting guards, stand in a blood-red circle around the sinner, while "Aunt Lydia" harangues them about "God's love" and how this "love" requires them to kill their sister.

"The price of His love is sometimes high, but it must be paid!"  Aunt Lydia cries.

**Spoiler alert**

Completely defying the Milgram experiment, the handmaids drop their rocks and walk away, each saying the phrase that might become my first tatoo:

"I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia."

I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia, but I don't care if you want me to harm someone and call it love.

I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia, but I will not judge, condemn, reject, or in any way cause pain to the suffering.

I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia, but I don't care if your authority is six whole verses of the bible, 2,000 years of tradition, and the entire evangelical church in America.

Count me out for this one.

I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia,

but I will not cast the first stone,

or any stone.

I'm walking away.

And then I'm going to find the hurting

and set about helping them heal.

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rainbows and anniversaries

Very often on our anniversary, Andy and I travel to the Wild West (Fort Worth) to avail ourselves of museums, gardens, fountain-filled public spaces, our favorite frozen Bellinis, and free public parking (a thing the city of Dallas, for all its greatness, does not yet comprehend).

This week is our 30th anniversary and, creatures of habit that we are, we found ourselves this past Saturday afternoon, headed west in the usual heavy traffic that makes up I-20, destination: Amon Carter Museum.  

There were a couple of new exhibits that looked interesting on the website, but I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary.  I felt a bit bad that I hadn't been able to find something more meaningful for our anniversary outing, but we're going to Scotland and Ireland in September for the real party.  Fort Worth is nice in the meantime, and the Amon Carter has a bunch of Georgia O'Keefe paintings that I'm happy to visit anytime, so whatevs.

We came through the central hallway, enjoying the new exhibit of Gego prints, then headed into the main atrium to go upstairs to an exhibit of Polaroid photography that looked like fun.  

As I turned into the atrium, I gasped out loud as I caught a glimpse of a rainbow, up in the corner of the room.

This is Plexus no. 34 by Dallas-based artist Gabriel Dawe, heart-blowingly beautiful from a million different angles.

Of course, it's especially heart-blowingly meaningful because June is LGBTQ Pride month, and this week we're observing the one-year anniversary of the Orlando Pulse massacre, where 49 victims lost their lives to internalized homophobic hatred.  50 victims, if we count the shooter.  

I wrote about the rainbow that stood over us during the Pulse vigil last year, and how it comforted me on that day of terrible grief.  

I wasn't expecting a rainbow this year.  Not on a sunny afternoon in my go-to museum in Fort Worth.

But I wandered around under this rainbow with tears in my eyes, marveling at how beauty shows up in the ordinary and in the painful, as if it always exists, even when we can't see it.

Here's another unexpected rainbow moment from the weekend.

Sunday night, we were out at the Equality march in Dallas.  My friend Mark took this picture, only realizing after he posted it to Facebook that he'd caught a cross in the Texas Pride flag.

Of all the things I envisioned for what life would be like around our 30th wedding anniversary, I really never saw us marching in Pride events.  

But Love finds us, wherever we are, no matter how old we are.  

And it seems that at some point, if Love is going to keep growing (everything living must grow; if it stops growing, it's dead) then at some point, Love must escape from the confines of our own little lives and expand into Love for others, both our neighbors and those we may have previously perceived to be our enemies.

Our 30th anniversary this week coincides with the second anniversary of marriage equality for the LGBTQ community, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia SCOTUS decision that abolished laws against interracial marriage.

I like that it's not just about us this week.  

I like that we're celebrating that Love is Love for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

"I was always being moved toward greated differentiation and larger viewpoints, and simultaneously toward a greater inclusivity in my ideas, a deeper understanding of people, and a more honest sense of justice.  God always became bigger and led me to bigger places."  Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

May the moral arc of the universe continue to bend toward justice.

May every anniversary of love, individual and collective, open us up to greater acceptance, to more understanding, and to an ever-expanding flow of love in us, through us, and beyond us.

May Love grow beyond anything that we can ask, think, or even dare to dream.

This year, every year, 30 years behind us, 30 years more.

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powerlessness and "i hate you"

"Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to."  

Harriet Goldhor Lerner, The Dance of Anger

Zion National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Zion National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

"I hate you!"

Why do kids say this to their parents?

I was pondering over that with some friends this week, and it occured to me that "I hate you" is a way for kids to gain power in situations where they feel powerless.  

Kids are often unable to achieve particular outcomes in situations they face, but if they say, "I hate you," they may gain power over the parents' emotions.  If the parent feels hurt enough, the child knows, they may be willing to renegotiate toward the outcome the child is seeking.

  • Some parents will ignore the signal of anger and punish the child for saying, "I hate you!"
  • Some parents will cave to the pressure of "I hate you!" and give the child whatever they wanted to begin with.
  • Other parents will see past the "I hate you!" and be able to engage with the child in loving, caring connection, even if they can't renegotiate the outcome.

It really all depends on how families think about power in the relationship:

  • I have all the power.
  • You have all the power.
  • Power serves Love.  We will use our mutual power to serve Love.
Bryce Canyon National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Bryce Canyon National Park, photo: Andy Bruner

Kids are not the only people who say, "I hate you!"

Adults say "I hate you!" too.  Up until recently, when adults said "I hate you" it was expressed in more socially acceptable ways.  At this point in American political history, the line of "socially acceptable" is in great flux, especially in social media, but I think "I hate you!"--however it's expressed--is still all about that same feeling of powerlessness that children experience.  

People feel powerless, they feel afraid, and they say, "I hate you!" to whoever seems to be holding power over them.  

It seems like the more one side says, "I hate you!" the more the other side needs to one-up with wilder expressions of hatred.

I wonder if we could reframe "I hate you!" as a signal, and listen to it, what would it tell us?

If I see "I hate you!" as an expression of powerlessness, I start to find a way forward.

Instead of blaming someone else for how badly I feel, I can take responsibility for myself.  

No matter how many phone calls I make, I can't control Congress, the President, or the Texas State Legislature.  It's easy to get into "I hate you!" mode.

But if I think of "I hate you!" as a signal of my helplessness, perhaps I can deal with my helplessness in healthier ways: 

  • I can control what I give to my local foodbank.
  • I can control whether I show up at a march to be with the suffering.  
  • I can control what I buy, and whether it's fair to the people who produced it.
  • I can control my presence on social media. 
  • I can speak truth, even when my voice shakes, and make space for others to speak truth as well.

Like Mr. Rogers always said, when bad things happen, look for the people who are helping.

I think BEING the people who are helping can give us a legitimate sense of power in a situation that otherwise feels out of control. 

Again, I think it's all connected to how we look at power in our lives:

  • You have all the power ("I hate you!")
  • I have all the power ("Nanny nanny boo-boo!")
  • Power serves Love, and I will use my power in the service of Love.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

You heard the cry of our hearts
And You came down
Freely You gave us Your love
Showing us how

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

All that we do without love
It means nothing
Grant us the courage to give
As You’re calling

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
(As only You can love, oh God)
May we love, as You love
May we love, as You love

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shift happens to your boundaries

I have a lot of conversations with people around the topic of faith-shifting.  

One of the overarching themes that emerges, over and over and over, is boundaries.

We've identified for ourselves that a particular religious environment is toxic to us, but our family and friends still love it there.  

We don't want our daughter to have that subscription to the new Brio magazine that Aunt Suzie thinks would be great for her 15th birthday.

We actually used that copy of The Strong Willed Child as fire-starter for our first summer bonfire, and now Grandma wonders if we could pass it along to brother Jim.

We've stopped going to church, and every conversation revolves around questions of our eternal security.

Awkward...

I started to write a long blog post detailing the possible ins and outs, and then I deleted it all and just made a 2 minute and 45 second animation instead.

Enjoy! 

Share!

And happy, healthy boundaries to you!

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Lion and the prodigal

"Does that mean," asked Mack, "that all roads will lead to you?"

"Not at all," smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. "Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.” 

William Paul Young, The Shack

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, photo: Andy Bruner

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, photo: Andy Bruner

This weekend we watched the movie, Lion, on Amazon.

Lion is the based-on-real-life story of a little boy in India who's part of a loving family, gets lost, and can't find his way home.  He ends up on the streets, then in an orphanage, and finally is adopted by a couple in Australia.

As a young adult, he begins to search for his birth family, and with the help of Google Earth (God works in mysterious ways), finds his way home to his mother, still living in the same neighborhood he was lost from years before.

I was so grateful that I waited to watch this on Amazon rather than in theaters. I would not have been adequately prepared to deal with my catastrophic weeping in public.  It was a three-box-of-tissue event.

The young man in the story, when he finds his way home, is the same age as my sons.  My level of adoration for my children is a well-documented fact of life, and as I watched Lion, I was overwhelmed by the thought of losing a child.

And then the joy of finding that child again?

It was just too much to hold inside.

Utah wildflowers, photo: Andy Bruner

Utah wildflowers, photo: Andy Bruner

This story, though, the story of the lost son who gets found?  

It's been around for thousands of years.  Jesus told this story, and we call it The Prodigal Son.  We've read it, we've heard it.  But I think maybe we stop hearing it after a while.

It seems, I don't know, ordinary, that the Father leaps up and runs to his child.

Somehow Lion made it all so real to me again: the desperate sorrow of a child who's lost, the long search, and the infinite joy of home-coming.

I've been thinking about shame a lot lately, and how shame keeps us from true home-coming, from true healing, from the true abundant life we're meant to have.

In Jesus' story, the prodigal accepts the robe and the shoes and the ring and the party.  

How many of us, instead, refuse the Father's generosity?  

How many of us Yes-BUT the Love of God?

Yes, God loves me, BUT.

There's this sin I have to shake off before I'm really welcome at home.

Yes, God loves me, BUT.

If I don't keep doing everything just right, I've lost fellowship.

In the end, we make our BUT bigger than the Love of God. 

Our own unwillingness to release our shame horribly misjudges Love.

We are so consumed by our shame that we'll live, hungry and cold, in a ditch rather than enter the warmth and welcome of Home.

Maye we've heard the story so often that it doesn't seem possible, doesn't seem real, that Love could really embrace us just as we are.

Maybe we need to look again, and see what human love has to say about God's Love.

Imperfect though we are, we can't imagine turning away a lost child, for any reason.

And if we, in our imperfect love, know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we would go down any road to find our child, how much more would God do for us? (Luke 11:13)

I think we know the answer.

I think we know the truth.

Living in that truth requires that we release our shame and trust in Love instead.

We're not perfect, and Love never lets us go.  

It's as simple, and as complex, as that.

We stop making ourselves and our sin into the most important thing that ever was.

We accept that Love is the whole story: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

No more "yes-BUT."

Just YES.

Just YES, and welcome Home.

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