God & Church are Not Synonymous: Pt 1

I think it’s taken me near 10 years to realize, that despite the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, most people assume church and God are synonymous. They are not.  They never have been.

It took going back through the memories of being inside the church system to realize I believed it once. It was never spoken out right, but it has always been implied.

When I started weaning away from the church system my brothers had really critical things to say to me over the smallest detail. Stupid things that have stuck with me like thorns under the skin since that time. But I think I get it now. I think they saw the way I acted at or towards church was synonymous in their mind to how I was acting or respecting (or lack of {in their mind}) towards God. Not even that  it was connected, but it was a directly linked together in a full embodiment. If I didn’t mark the sign-in sheet correctly I was mocking God, not the sign-in sheets.

I never realized that this side of Protestant Reformation that there was still such a direct correlation in the minds of the masses of church goers. I mean I know that’s how masses of pastor think. I know the people are trained to associate the two. However, I just didn’t realize how much that is the reality within the church system.

There has long been this thought that if someone leaves their local church building and gathering times, that they’ve walked out on God. For many this does happen, because there is no separation between them.

I can’t emphasize enough that God and church are not synonymous.

Sometimes it takes looking at history to realize, that something that holds a scared title isn’t always what it seems. For me, the most simplistic words that really spelled this out for me was when Jesus said: “If you were Abraham’s children then you would act like it.” (John 8:39)

God judges someone by their heart, what’s on the inside, the true character which we develop within ourselves, our true motives and intentions. God sees that clearly. If that’s how God judges us, is it any different for an institution or an assembly of people?

God knows that our true intentions and our heart cause for us to do all things that flow out of us. All of our actions. The way we perceive people comes from our heart and our inner being. I believe this is also true for any system, corporation, community, assembly.

Now in a matter of speaking, a system has no heart, no inner being. Therefore those who align themselves with any given system become the heart therein. Yet so often we trade our minds & hearts for a go-with-the-flow mob mentality. We create a system to unify and drive us to our intend goal, but often it’s not long before we sacrifice our own goals, our own drive for the sake (health and sustaining) of the system.

I see this is still the reality of something called church. I too was part of  that once.

This is the strange thing about “church”:
It starts by saying that you can have a personal relationship with God. But then the whole time is spent telling you how to interpret God, how to serve God, how to do these things through more solidly aligning yourself with the local “church” and its “ministries”.  This happens so much so, that for those who actually do learn to grow and interpret on their own, they do not become the prize pupils, but instead are consider the ones who need to be corrected, or even broken in.
My husband and I have heard multiple stories like this. We’ve both been in these situations. We know it happens everywhere. It is not an isolated event.

We also know this isn’t God. This isn’t how God works. This isn’t the relationship that God had in mind.

A healthy body works together. Period. A body with auto-immune disease attacks itself. This is not consider healthy or normal. This is considered to be something that is in need of cure and of treatments, as there is often no known cures for many auto-immune diseases. Maybe especially spiritual ones which go unidentified. 

This thing calling itself church attacks itself. Am I to believe that is the resemblance of the body of Christ?

500 years ago (and more) there was something that was calling itself The Church. It was taught that this was the one way to know God, to honor God, to get to heaven, to be safe in this life, to be a responsible admirable citizen of your country. The Church was the guardians to Truth, or so it was taught.

But there arose men and women who disagreed with this thing called The Church. They disagreed that this system was not doing what it said it was meant to do. They disagreed that this system was honestly, openly, freely leading people Truth and to God.
To them the cruelties of the opposing a well-established system were unleashed. There was no mercy for such trouble makers. We are not too far removed from this history.

As a matter of fact, we maybe standing in the middle of an era where history repeats itself. We maybe at a crux of guarding and regarding the sacred words and descriptions back unto their true intentions. System or no system, when a people want to know God and want to know truth, there is an unquenchable thirst for the authentic thing.

Yet we have seen in history that the artificial thing will defend it’s stolen/assumed throne. The price for truth is high. Very, very high. Yet for something so priceless, we’d be fools to settle for anything less than the whole truth.

We can no longer bow our necks and bear this a little further in history. We cannot continue to plow for a master who is not our God. We must consider who and what we are truly serving. What do we truly fear? Whom do we truly want to serve? Are we interested in God? Or are we interested in our own rewards and security?

God and church are not synonymous. They never have been.

But woe to you … For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
– Matthew 23:13

Loneliness: Struggles of Isolation

Loneliness doesn’t mean I’m alone; it means I’m isolated. I can be hanging out with people, or sitting right next to my own husband, and I can still feel deeply alone. For me, I can grin and bear it most days of attack. But not all days. And not everyone can.

The ironic thing about loneliness or isolation is there will always be those people who say “oh I’m here! you can talk to me anytime” …Anytime? How about the last time we hung out and we never talked about real life? How about last weekend when I had nothing going on, and I dwelt quietly in my own silence. “Anytime” seems like a pretty flexible word when it’s only heroically attached.

Besides…

Loneliness isn’t defeated by distractions.
To engage in friendship long term is something I feel utterly inadequate to speak about, and yet…these are they who we depend on. If someone wants to help defeat loneliness in another’s life, they must also help defeat boredom, incessant questions, empty chatter, and yes, isolation itself.
We must be a people who act like…well…people.

The last thing I want to do is create a formula to nullify loneliness. That would be the epitome of recreating the problem. Formulated relationships are isolating. Maybe that’s why it has little effect when someone says “I’m here for you” but then never is “here” so to speak. Or they’re around and yet still very distant.

Nothing kills like the silence of my closest friend. Nothing nullifies my worth, like my husband dealing with something on his own. Just when I thought we were a team. I’m locked out.  I’m on my own, waiting, alone. Isolated.
Marriage isn’t the key to escaping loneliness, and this is a myth that I long to dispel for those who sink headlong into this new arena. Loneliness doesn’t mean a marriage isn’t working; it means you’re human…very human.

I have a big family that I love, but sometimes there’s nothing lonelier than being in the midst of that group. When there’s an argument on, and I’ve taken a firm stance on the minority side of things… whew! It’s pretty lonely out on that branch. It’s isolating. And they’ll wait me out. …so they think. Instead…there becomes a rift.
They’ve forgotten all about the argument…or most of it… and I still feel the burn of scorn in my inner being. Oh God! What’s more isolating then pretending nothing hurts? Few things are. I won’t lie. I know a few things are worse.

I grew up playing a part. Being known as a title instead of having a name. That’s what happens when you have a parent working in public service. …That’s also what happens when you have a charming charismatic brother who all the girls think is hot. From one title to the next, I was pretty use to the shadows.

So something happened when I got out on my own. A freedom that I wasn’t use to. Some people saw me, and I wasn’t use to being seen or noticed. I wrote it off …for the most part. Yet it was fun too. And then… I got married, which was awesome! But it didn’t take anytime at all before I sunk back into a shadow. My man…the theologian, the musician, the science man, the darling religious dictionary.
And I…I grew up to be the distasteful hard-nosed confident woman who shares her opinion…her unwanted opinion… without even realizing that it was an opinion or unwanted. Here I thought I was making jokes, making friends, and stating the obvious.

I can be such a fool.

Loneliness doesn’t require a lack of people or contact with people. It only requires isolation. Sometimes it’s people and dear friend which are exactly they who bring it.
I’m sure I’ve been a villain as much as a victim. I am not careful. I am only sincere.

Instead of being or finding a cure, I try to learn to walk -long walks- in isolation without it fully killing me. What’s a little more death? I make it through. I live. I’m strong. …and people hate my strength. Around another corner will be another thoughtful person waiting to take me down… down into isolation. My fire swamp. I’ve lived there quite happily for sometime now. Why should I care what becomes of me?

One. Two. Three. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Repeat.

And yet… like many other human beings… I would theoretically like to be known, be seen, be remembered affectionately. Yet if my choice is self-inflicted isolation of the shadows or isolation of the strong being attacked for their strength. I hardly know which one to choose. I switch between the two like my life is a game of hot potato.

The hardest part is finding the strength to know others suffer this too.
Or so I assume. When you’re isolated it’s hard to tell.
I want be strong enough to say I suffer, not for sympathies sake, but because I fear someone else might think they are alone in their isolation, or that their loneliness is consuming and who can see them now?
It is hard to see from here, but sometimes I can still here a voice calling to me. Or I can still here my heart begging me to get up, one more time. Maybe if I feel this…maybe someone else does as well. Maybe I still have a voice that can be heard, that can help.

One. Two. Three. Breathe…

Walking through Depression

Perhaps all my growing up life I’ve heard about depression grimly. It’s a defeat, it’s shameful, it’s dark, it’s a weakness the devil can use. And I suppose I’ve felt all those things at one time or another, but now… Now I finding myself standing in the midst of a struggle I thought was over, and I am not cowarding to it. I’m standing in the middle of it, trying to understand why it’s back, how to cope, and what is to be learned here. In a sense I’m trying to make peace with my depression now that it has found me again and I am no longer a child. And why not?

Early this year, I listened to a man anxiously talk about “spiritual battle” and he tried to say if you have any weakness in you, you need to pray it away, because the devil will use it against you. I remember for a nano second this shook me, and then I told myself…yeah, that’s not how God works.

God uses the weak to overcome the strong. So why should I fear my depression? Why should I fear my weaknesses?

Hey, I’m not a hero… I feel stupid to have to admit to my husband I have depression in my life. It’s been gone so long, I really, really thought I was free. And I was. I don’t know what this new occurrence is for, so I’m trying to tactful use to for my own humbleness.

I have to talk back to that voices in my head that say to me, “no loves you” “you’re worthless“. The first time I heard (again, but first time in my adult life) it scared me half to death. I was mostly asleep, and it woke me up. Where did that come from? I’m not worthless, and I know that.  I think I know that.

Depression is terrible, but it is temporary. It can be overcome. It will be. I have not prayed it away, because I need to know why it’s found me again. I need to know why God’s people suffer this. And I know…many others do suffer this, and they suffer it like I did years ago when I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was dying, everyday I lived through it. Everything felt defeating. It was horrible. But that was in the past. This time it’s different.

This time I try to fight by knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I try to fight by encouraging others to fight. My life is not my own. I am one part of a intertwined people, a generation, a heritage, a voiceless sea. Yet we are not voiceless, we can be heard. Our stories can become beautiful, inspiring, hope-filled, courageous, remarkable, lovely, dream worthy.

Too often people fear their insecurities or their weaknesses, but guess what? Everybody has them, and it doesn’t disqualify any of us from becoming great. Or becoming at all. We can still learn, relearn, retrain, cope, and reassess whatever problems come to us through those drippy leaks in our system. We don’t have to ignore or hide them, and we don’t have to display them on the table of shame. It’s just a part of living. A part that needs a certain amount of attention and detail, just like all our other traits, qualities, strengths, weakness, ect.

We can change. We can adapt. But we can do it in a natural and holistic way, that wouldn’t demand invasive reconstruction. We are they who are still becoming and discovering that thing which we were created to be. There’s no need to rush that. Here in the midst of the desert of life God often trains, sends, accompanies, protects, and meets with his people. In comparison to some, this is a hard place, but knowing it’s still close to God, it’s not so terrible.

But in case the sand is blowing your face, leaving tiny irritating  wounds, or the sun is scorching your head and your body feels dry, almost lifeless, or if you’re in the night, dark, arid, mysteriously anxious & vulnerable …I get it. I’ve been through this desert before. It gets scary. But it’s not so bad when you know you are not alone. …and you are not alone this time.

I am here again, but today I am not afraid. I will overcome. I will be a light. I will cry and break and struggle …and I will win.  I will always win. Because I press on to know the truth, and because I fight for more than myself this time…and from here on out, I will always be fighting for more than me. And we…. We are overcomers.

 

Related Posts:
Silent God

Struggles

Hope For Today

Why the Wilderness?

I admit, I feel like I’ve been whining to myself. I’ve wondering if there’s anyone else who notices these things, and if there is does anyone do anything about it?
It was that inglorious moment of Elijah on the Mount of God complaining about being the only one left, and not understanding God’s answer.

There I was wondering why any great prophet of God would ever do something like “a voice of one calling out in the wilderness”. Is it that no one else will less so the prophet has to cry out to the wilderness? The trees, shrubs, or even cacti, are these the only thing left in God’s creation to listen to the message of God?

…And then I got it.

Only that Babylon-based systems needs the city life, depends on the merchants shipments, awaits the luxurious modern prerequisites, and stays cloistered in the “safety” of the known “civilized world”.

But the people of God have never feared the wilderness.
They travel, preach, wander through, live-in, explore, and discover throughout the wilderness. Generation after generation stories of God’s people of throughout the wilderness continue to emerge.
And isn’t the just like God? Right where we’re sure there’s nothing to be seen or found, there… that’s where God’s glory really shows up.

I get it now.

I’m not alone in this. I am surround by the great cloud of witnesses. Here in the wilderness. I live amongst the people of God. I exist in the midst of God’s story for this time, this generation, these people. We are here, in the wilderness, because God’s people are here (in the wilderness) praying to God for a word. A message. A sign. A single person to stand in the gap.

I get it now.

The unseen, the unnoticed, those who cry out to God assuming no one else will hear their cries… these are always the people who God has identified himself with. They are the wilderness people. These are the ones that God sends us to when we don’t know where we’re going.

It’s too beautiful to conceive when we’re attempting to view things from the wisdom of the world. Indeed it takes the wisdom of God to full see the beauty of God. …and it’s worth beholding.

Now I feel like I can stand here with a smile and say “Hey there…” in the midst of the wilderness, simply knowing this is the beautiful way God achieves those amazing stories that the Bible itself is complied of. How wonderful to be a part of those living today, seeking God, and searching beyond the known standard.

This maybe a beautiful day afterall.

Struggles

How far must we go until love is exhausted? Further than one can fathom in a single day.

I am watching a friend struggle and I am seated at a great distance away. I wish we could get there or that we could bring this friend closer, but patience does not fail. I wince with every new injury and I sigh with new tears. But he’s alive and so I’m still happy.

I know about addiction. Although chemical dependency has not been my field of struggles, I know about darkness. I know about being alone. I know about feeling like you’re in a hell, and somehow the world continues on without noticing your struggle or you. I know about sinking. I know what it’s like to have good advice and good intentions being your prisons walls. I know about fear, hopelessness, persevance, anxiety attackes, lonely walks, bouncing prayers, the endlessness of days and nights blurring together. I know about these things, and I do not fear them like I once did.

I know I can look back know and see a spirit within me that was fighting things other people couldn’t see. There was a spirit in me that was fighting when my body was being wasted with bad choices, bad mindsets. Freedom was calling me, and something within me dragged me to place in need to get to in order to begin healing and rehabilating my empty shell. I don’t know how I made it through alive, when I look back, except that there was a spirit within me that wanted more than I’d yet experienced at that point.

I made it.

I made it to today. I’ve made to the point of both compassion and hard love. A place where I can remember my story, and understand the persevance has given more than the gift of life, but perspective and character as well. I need these traits as I walked into a new chapter of my life.

I need perspective and character as I watch another friend struggle in a place far off that we can’t yet get to. I need to know how I, myself, made it out alive and how I can believe that same spirit can bring life to another. I need to know that even prayers that seem to bounce off the ceiling make some difference. I need to know this journey is a long one, and I can pace myself for the long haul. Because that’s what Love is capable of. It’s not just a distant prayer, but love is also joining one in their suffering.
We wrestle not against addicts and broken men, but against principalities and powers of the dark world. We wrestle because Love compels us to know “the least of these” is the face of Jesus. If there’s a chance that love can make the difference, then I am compelled to share the love I have for one who looks, to me, like Jesus. Maybe it’s not the miracle we’re looking for right now, but maybe its a first step. I think I can do that.

Come home. You are loved.

Why I Stopped Reading Most of the Bible

In my life I like to reconsider where I am and what got me here. I am here because I left another time and another place, rather literally. I’ve known what it is to move around a little bit, live in a new house, new address, new town, and smile your way through it. Several years ago, I moved home to the land of my brothers. It was time to change my scenery again. Honestly I came “home” in broken up and confused internal state of being. I certainly didn’t hid it perfect well, my disappointments and failures were known, and those around me noticed it well enough to label me as non-Christian, or fallen, or such things. I didn’t really mind at the time. I wasn’t happy with the whole program anyways. I’d come from the disillusions of an exhausted Christianity that was found wanting still. I’d learn all there was to learn. I’d done ministry. I’d failed ministries. I been known; I’d been ignored. I’d been played by the synthetic church-systematized machine and left out in dumps to find my way home… whatever and wherever that was.

God and I were at difficult place. We still acknowledge each other (so the speak), but I wasn’t really sure about the true character of God …and church systems & programs made me less & less sure. I made the inglorious move of vacating the buildings. I caught some hell for it (and still do). But I couldn’t scour through the synthetic to find enough air of truth. It was suffocating and I was totally willing to take hell over artificial perfection, which was indigestible to my soul.

I was really upset about how Christian represented God, and I couldn’t come to grips of who God was. I severed our relationship down to understanding God as Creator. I severed prayers to midnight debates. I severed the scriptures down to minimalist the Gospels only. I was definitely waiting on God to prove something. I didn’t know what but something.

Slowly I went from God only being the Creator to understanding that any creator is an artistic and even personal being. Personal remind me that the Holy Spirit is consider to be our counselor and friend, and I wasn’t going to deny that… we had some good times together in our past. Then Jesus… this was difficult. I mean, if someone wants to be Christian, as opposed to being Jewish or something else, Jesus is a necessity, but all these people who were this title of Christian (as comes from the naming Jesus Christ) really just weren’t what seemed to express Jesus. As a matter of fact, most of these people couldn’t quote Jesus some much as 5 quotes from Jesus. I heard about what St. Paul said, but Jesus was a foreign to his own religion.
Nonetheless… if Jesus matters so much, he’d have to prove it. I absorbed myself solely in the Gospel books which held the accounts of Jesus’ life, teaching, and story. No one else got a say one what this “Christianity” thing was about. It was me and Jesus going toe to toe, eye to eye. If Jesus couldn’t provide a legitimate Christianity then I was done here.

It wasn’t an over night process. Really it felt like it took forever. I had always liked Jesus before, but this Christianity stuff is so synthetic, that I serious couldn’t tell opinion from truth from ignorance. So there we were 8 months in the Gospels, over & over & over again. It took a few months to read it without Christianity-evangelical-super-filter interfering with what the words & stories were actually trying to convey. …a few painful months.

Somewhere along the line, it started to come through. I remembered that familiar silhouette of the Good Shepherd I’d heard about as a little kid. The one who likes kids, who care about the little guy, who has time for those who don’t even get recognized as important, the Good Shepherd who goes out and finds that one little straggly sheep. I remembered him. I still liked him. We began a new sort of relationship.

I realized Christianity is a religious culture didn’t have a lot of Jesus to offer, just to be really honest. To spend so much time solely in the Gospel books and just continuous read about Jesus over and over and over again. I notice a lot of things that I really loved about Jesus. Things that were lost to the systematic machine that calls itself “church”. I realized by following the rules and regulations of man-made traditions I nearly lost an age-old friendship, and the devastation of all of this has never faded to this day.

After months in just the Gospel books of the Bible, I knew I’d eventually have to step out and test the rest of the waters. I knew if Jesus could be real in the Gospels, then he’d have to be everywhere. They God that Jesus teaches of would have to be everywhere. I’d barely back to a reasonable relationship with Jesus and I knew I’d have to keep putting this thing to the test. I tip toed to the Wisdom books for a brief wandering, and then a plunged straight into the Prophet books, and then the History books. I avoided the most of the New Testament scriptures for a year or better because of the irrational abuses which we derived from them. I fell in love with the Old Testament and I made it my new home.

People had lied to me. They told me the Old Testament was scary, and that God was mean & cranky in the Old Testament. But I did find that. Spending 8 months in the Gospel books only made the Old Testament books all the sweeter. It brought beautiful tears that healed many relationship issues I’d been having with God, and it continued to unburden me from the man-made church traditions. I found God, and he was beautiful.

After a year and half or two years, I finally read not just the New Testament again, but Paul. Poor sweet St Paul had been so misrepresented by the church that I didn’t want to read him ever again, but I had too. It took Peter giving his recommendation to Paul before I even considered it (2 Peter 3:14-18).

These saints in the Bible were like old friends to me. I’ve grown up with the stories and scriptures from the smallest age, but I lost most of that when I realized how synthetic the church system is. If I’d not been willing to know truth and dig, I would have lost it all. I wouldn’t have realized how abused the Bible is in the hands of well meaning moralist people.

Unfortunately I can’t ever just leave things be. I had to know truth. I was willing to take the cost and condemnation. Precious friendships don’t just get thrown away and forgotten forever. Truth doesn’t just get thrown away and forgotten forever. There is a compelling need for more than man-made traditions and good-on-paper doctrine. To sacrifice Jesus to the modern Christianity is way too much to pay for a little hope and sparse community. Give me Jesus and keep your religion to yourself.

I need truth.

Many a Conflict, Many a Doubt

When I was a kid there was this beautiful old hymn, that imagine still exist today. The title was “Just As I Am” …forgive me for not remembering the composure’s name. It still have that song in my head sometimes today. It was beautiful and heartfelt. Unfortunately when it was played at the end of church service we knew we had twenty more minutes to stand and play hangman beneath the cover of the pew in front of us. It was a beautiful song, but was used cruelly to the point of having no meaning within the church buildings. …well none but twenty minute warning for a song that was only 3-5 minutes long. In the hands of the best evangelist it was a meaningless song that cried out for numbers and emotional abuse, instead of people and truth, but outside the building, on many dark quiet nights, it was beautiful to the point of tears.

How does this happen? How can something beautiful by nature become morbid, dull, and nullifying in the hands of well-meaning folks?

The modern day phenomenon known as “church” has an amazing filtration system for straining out gnats and swallowing camels. They’re especially trained in tactics, rituals, and hype. It’s always business as usual with a new Clark Kent disguise at best. To say we’ve lost touch with the root and who we are as a people of God would be like  eating a burger at McDonalds and expecting that you’re eating 100% grass raised organic Bison. The words “not likely” seem to be much too polite to even be a downplay of the reality at hand.

I’m harsh on mainstream modern Christianity for two reasons. One: I grew up on the inside, I’ve gone in as deep as it goes, or nearly. Two: I believed in it, once upon a time, but we never synced up. I tried. I failed. I moved on. And Three: I read my Bible, I believe in God, I say my prayers, and I can’t stand to imagine my fate being the fate of many thousands more kids to come.  People have told me you can’t change things from the outside, but the only people who said so where on the inside, so how would they know? They haven’t changed anything that matters, unless they want to take credit for the downfall which has perpetual come upon this thing called church.

I pray for something different than the hype and revivals of our forefathers.

When church systems and religious rules get involved I see less of God. They can paint his names on posters, but just because someone else wears the same name tag as my husband, doesn’t mean I will run and smooch that person.  On the other hand, if my husband isn’t wearing name tag, I will still embarrassingly kiss him publicly, because I love him. I know him. I recognize him in crowd. My heart is drawn to all our history together. His face is speckled with my memories. He is dear to me. I don’t depend on name tags and familiar places to recognize my great man in front of me.  I know him.  I love him organically (so to speak).

My personal time with my husband everyday contributes to our relationship in ways at no one else ever could or would.  There are things I can only know about my husband by talking with him, spending time with him, and an occasion arguing with him. …because it requires variances to know someone. How much more with God?

A song can hold outstanding beauty but if that song speaks of cherishing, but it’s only used to put the moves on someone… then the song loses its meaning. If the song is about bad days and it’s sung in happy tone, it loses its meaning and potency. If the song states how you desire to be honest, but is used to provoke reaction, then it’s disdainful to even hear.

There is a time for everything. But too often we don’t care to wait for the right time, now is the right time. Our inconsiderate use of beautiful gifts make everything ugly.  Our get it right with Jesus in the next hour and we’ll send you this guilt free card, system isn’t working.  A system that says a relationship with God is personal, but has no more idea of what organic means the McDonalds latest CEO, really doesn’t cause me to believe. It’s a camel I can’t swallow. Personal to me, doesn’t mean one super compact hour a week or a day. It doesn’t mean shooting off prayers I read from some book. It doesn’t mean singing my favorite song until I feel something. It doesn’t mean finding someone who has my husband’s name tag and saying “good enough!”  But that is the inevitable consequences of a system that promotes effectual goals, as processed food promotes the feeling of full but not satisfied.  Our bodies and spirits starve under these conditions while we develope fat and disease. This isn’t the truthful, personal approach I’d hoped for.

I know it’s crazy but when I hear a song or tag line that says we’re allowed to be free, I want that! I want freedom without lying fine print. I want to be free for more than an hour. I want to come to God just as I am already at anytime, and find God able to deal with that graciously, honestly, and maybe on an occasions joyfully. Like maybe God would be happy if we spoke even if I haven’t put dirt on my head and told him what a wretch I am. Maybe a personal God would wake me up on some morning and give me joy or peace, like my husband who might kiss me in the morning.  Maybe some nights a personal God might allow me to cry over those who have been cast off from this system like I have been, but they weren’t able to recover again like I did. Maybe a personal God might speak to me regularly even if I didn’t attend church buildings for the last 5-7 years. Maybe…

Maybe Just as I am could mean just that… at any given time. Maybe.