I have this small, really hardly worth mentioning, prejudice. I’m not a big fan of churches that rent helicopters and drop Easter eggs during Easter. One day a couple Easters ago my friend Kelly Hall was texting me asking me about my Easter plans. I explained how I was planning a traditional Easter feast at my house called takeout. I asked her what she was up to and she told me that her church was having their annual Easter Egg Drop (along with a lot of other cool stuff).
“What????? Is that a THING?” Yes. It is a thing. I assumed it was a thing because Kelly is from Texas and everyone knows they do stuff big down there. But, who knew, it turns out this thing is rather common among large churches. Candy and tracts about Jesus are neatly packaged and dropped for all to enjoy. This sort of thing makes no sense to me; it makes me wonder about myself and in what way I am so profoundly broken that thousands of followers see the issue differently. It triggers my toxic shame. My tiny, black heart resents the money and manpower utilized on dropping Easter eggs for children who surely have grandmothers who would willingly do this same thing for free – including the tracts. Is it really worth the expense? Is there no better way to spend ten grand? Perhaps this is related to my childhood.
Once when I was four or five my mother dressed me up in Easter finery including hat, gloves, lace-trimmed anklets and patent leather shoes. Both the costuming and the church experience were new for me; I didn’t recall attending church with my parents except on these high holy holidays. On the ride to church, mom caught my dress on fire flicking ashes out the car window which felt pretty traumatic seeing as how I was the one going up in smoke. My brother thought it was great fun; my mom was mad I had rolled down the car window. I have this gut feeling that there is a correlation between my childhood church traumas and my feelings about Easter Egg Drops and such. I know that the little girl I was and in many ways still am needs the basics, not helicopters and Easter eggs. I will always need my faith served up simple – which is a far cry from saying it has to be easy or that I am not smart enough to understand profound spiritual conversations (which may be true but that is not my point). I need to know, that like my friend who forgives me 7 times 70 because she’s a saint, there is a place that understands and can love a girl like me. Many of us grew up knowing that what we presented to the world wasn’t the real deal. Putting a little girl in Sunday finest and going to church a couple a times a year does not a faithful representation of the gospel – or the family – make. It made me feel like an outsider in shiny shoes, a charleton. I just knew I didn’t fit in with these “regular” church folk. I have since learned I’m not alone. It is awfully difficult to make sense of faith when the reality of life is SO not matchy matchy. That’s why, I believe, that no matter what else church can and should and must be – Lord, may this be so – we must create safe communities where anyone can show up in no shoes, dirty shoes, and even shiny, show-off shoes and discover a place and people who practice the principles of loving God, self and others in all their affairs – even the messy ones.
Today – is there anything you’ve believed about yourself that hinders your ability to connect with God and others? Tomorrow, we will start unpacking some of the points Kathy believes are essential for transformational community building.