Friday, October 2, 2020

October 2 Friday Update

All right, starting off with Old Church Sermon Dissection! I was able to get through all of last week's, may this one be equally less-triggery!
  • Acknowledging that right now is a difficult time and turning to Matthew 11:28 (the "Come to me & I will give you rest" verse). Rest has been a historically difficult thing for me to find in church, as well as something I think evangelical churches struggle to preach. The most difficult part of that is truly letting go and not letting the weight of what I "should" be doing hanging over me.
  • Tying it into Phil 4:13, which is not about rest but accomplishment, so... I guess we're not actually talking about rest today. "Get some rest so you can do more later" is sometimes the only way I can justify rest to myself, but that's not, like, a healthy attitude.
  • Reminding and recapping that we are loved by God. Good!
  • Reminding and recapping that we should love God. Not hitting too shamey here, framed more as a natural consequence of understanding God's love for us. Good!
  • Circling back around to surrender and, for some reason, "here I am, send me." Still very much not about rest.
  • Interesting... He talked about finding balance in our lives after talking about God loving us so I thought maybe it was going to be about the balance between resting in God and actively working for God, which would be interesting, but instead he appears to be looking at the balance between "love the Lord your God with all your misc" and "love your neighbor as yourself," which... I don't know if that's a balance so much as continual reinforcement? Like what does he think it looks like to love God too much or love your neighbor too much? Guess I'll have to listen and find out!
  • Talking about what it looks like to love people, including the good stuff that gets missed in a lot of evangelicalism like "care for the poor." This is all pretty good so far.
  • Talking about agape as unconditional love from God that we should then be passing on toward humanity. Still good.
  • Going to 1 Corinthians 13. The first three verses have been my life verses for several years, partly because I've needed to claim it as a bit of a shield against the pervasive belief that bullies who "speak the truth boldly" make good Christian leaders. These verses make it pretty darn clear that that's not the case.
  • We're returning to "love your neighbor as yourself," and... it's kind of weird. I think the charitable read is that he's trying to steer us away from loving yourself taking precedence over loving your neighbor in a selfish "only me" way, but I get concerned about anti-love-yourself messages because an upsettingly high percentage of the church kids I know grew up to have exceptionally low self esteem and bad boundaries because we felt obligated to put others ahead of ourselves to the extreme. Talk about needing to find balance!
  • Huh, the reason to not worry about loving yourself seems to be because... other people might not love you? Not quite tracking this train of thought. Like if you love yourself, you might think you deserve love and then be upset because other people aren't loving. But I mean... you can absolutely think you deserve love because you think all of humanity deserves love just by virtue of being created in the image of God, and that doesn't mean you have to like melt down screaming that everyone should be nice to you.
  • Talking about being called to love each other even if we never get loved back in return. Again, I mostly agree with this, love shouldn't be transactional, although I do want to add that boundaries are good and necessary to put in place to take care of ourselves. But they're not intended to, like, punish people or "get what we're owed." Pastor doesn't want us to use the word "self-preservation," but I think that's actually an important piece of being able to love others as fully as we can.
  • OHHHH crap. Here we go, we've made it to the Remember How Much You Suck, Always portion of the sermon. "You don't deserve anything good," verbatim quote. Meant as a motivation to take Jesus' love for us and spread it around because he loves us when we don't deserve it so we should love other people when they don't deserve it. But wow, was it harmful for me to think of anybody "not deserving" love, that being fearfully and wonderfully made by God bestows no value upon us, that the small amount of sins I can manage to commit in the exceptionally short time I have on this earth are big enough and bad enough to completely obliterate the value of an infinitely good God in me. Ew. Ew. Ew.
Here's where I tune out for the week. Made it like 15 minutes in.

Pastors. You can't stand there and tell us word-for-word "You don't deserve anything good" and then be, like, startled that we don't feel love in the church. Like... it's right there.

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