Wednesday, December 07, 2016

No more banging...

I closed down the Reveling in the Christian Book of Concord Facebook Group today.  Well, I deleted everyone but me so that I still had a chance to capture some of my thoughts there to repost here before the group is totally gone.

It is difficult for me to put into words, but the easiest comparison is that the group made me feel just like I was back in high school, unpopular and ignored.  I tried to ... no, wait ... I did beg for participation several times, but few were inclined to do so and my dream of having discussions about what you've heard, read, or thought about the Confessions never came to pass.  A couple of times there was a little bit of response, but no real discussion save for once.  Mostly, what I got back was some type of reassurance about my faith rather than a discussion germane to the BOC snippet posted.  This was especially irksome when I specifically wrote that I was not posting for consolation or assurance, but rather to give an example of how one struggling with faith might read the passage.  SIGH.

I think to have regular interactions on Facebook means you have to be a popular person, and I have never been that.  Just like I am the person who got ignored in high school, college, work functions, and church events, I am the person who got ignored when she bared her intellectual soul on Facebook ... even with over 250 members in the group, most who asked to join.  I mean, out of 250 folk, were every single one of them too busy to engage with a few thoughts about the Confessions or to post what they were reading so that others might share in the BOC joy, too?

Even with it being folk I knew, I could just keep posting and posting and posting.  I felt so terribly lonely and really rather leperish.  After writing yet another this-is-what-I-think post and feeling so terribly lonely and really rather leperish again, I thought:  Silly, Myrtle!  Stop banging your head against a brick wall!  So, I posted a good-bye post and my most favorite psalm.

Since I rarely cross post to here, I decided to save a few Reveling posts before they are gone:

Indeed, the human heart is by nature so hopeless that it always flees from God and imagines that He does not wish or desire our prayer, because we are sinners and have earned nothing but wrath. Against such thoughts, we should always remember this commandment and turn to God, so that we may not stir up His anger more by such disobedience. For by this commandment God lets us plainly understand that He will not cast us away from Him or chase us away. This is true even though we are sinners. But instead He draws us to Himself, so that we might humble ourselves before Him, bewail this misery and plight of ours and pray for grace and help. ~BOC, LC, III, 10-11

I think this is a repeat, but it always, always strikes me when I read that last sentence. "...bewail this misery and plight of ours..." So often, when trying to talk about struggles, I hear: "you have to move on" or "that's in the past" or "it's time to get over it." Another line of pernicious response is: "focus on the positive" or "stop focusing on yourself" or "naval gazing gets you nowhere." [I HATE the phrase naval gazing.]

What I am trying to say is that when bewailing the misery and plight of mine—living with chronic illness and a history of severe sexual abuse—to others, I am often hushed. Misery is not all that welcome in communication. And yet, here, we see that misery is most welcome by God ... that He desires to hear from us. Not merely happy clappy prayers, but the words of our heart ... including our anguish.

That's why I LOVE the Psalter. It is full of the plight of human existence, the joys and the sorrows, the trust and the fear.

It really bothers me when folk tell me that Psalm 137 is not appropriate to read or share or speak. I think it is VERY appropriate because God is the one who inspired it to be written and to be included in the Word of God.

I read that psalm as one of anguish and petulance and fear. Here is this person in captivity who has been told to pray for his captors' success. I see him bewailing his misery and plight. "Are you kidding me? Here I am in captivity with no hope of freedom, watching my captors have everything I want. You want me to praise God? How can I do that in my misery? You want me to pray for my captors? Fine! You know what the prayer of my heart is? That my captor's babies be dashed upon the rocks."

And God would say, "I hear your anguish. I understand anguish. My son will soon be dashed upon the rocks for your freedom. I love you. Cling to that in your time of need."

But then, again, I am a Nutter about the Psalter, so maybe my thoughts about Psalm 137 are just that. Nuts.

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