Failure & Fear…

A few months ago I set what I thought was a reasonable, attainable goal.  I wanted to blog at least once a week, every week.

As it turns out, I haven’t been very good at that.  In fact, I’ve failed outright.  My last post was at the end of April – four months ago!  If it’s possible to have an epic blog fail, this is probably one of them.

So, what happened?

It’s definitely not that I haven’t had things to say.  I’ve had several “blog worthy” ideas fermenting in my head, as well as numerous encounters/experiences that have helped me to see or experience the Divine in new ways.  I’ve seen Jesus walking around all over the place, so there’s been plenty to write about!

I could easily explain this away with the phrase: “I’ve been busy.”  But that’s a cop out.  While I have indeed had a full plate – camps and mission trips and retreats and meetings and vacations and planning sessions – I’ve still had plenty of time that I could have used to write.  And I squandered it…or ignored it.  Whichever it was, in the end it is all the same:  I didn’t get it done.

Some friends would hasten to my defense, but this isn’t about beating myself up.  Rather, it reflects some serious soul-searching that has taken place amidst the no-blog-writing and full-plate-having of the last four months.  In past years I’ve noticed some things about myself, and this blogging thing (or not-blogging thing, as it were) is really just an example of a larger pattern.

What’s really going on is this:  I’m afraid.

I am afraid of what I want most:  being a “real” writer.  I fear I don’t have the chops for it, don’t have anything worthwhile to say, don’t have the discipline or mettle to do the hard work required to get it done.  And, counter-intuitive though it may be, having two books published this year is what really brought these fears up out of the depths of my self.  There was definitely a swelling of joy when the Oh God! book came out, but that initial joy was quickly replaced by panic as speaking requests started to trickle in.

In that wave of panic, I just… stopped.

But my whole self is tired of this self-imposed holding pattern.  Simpler though it may be to avoid my fears, even my body seems to know that I’m not the best Lara I can be if I’m not reading and researching and writing.

So, this is me ripping off the bandaid.  In the weeks to come, I think I’ll be writing about “biblical origami” and some musings on the imago dei.  They are the two topics I’ve been thinking about the most as of late, though I’m certain other things will come up as well.  What I’m really hoping for is some accountability as I try to learn some discipline.  If you haven’t “heard” from me in a few days or weeks, shoot an email my direction and remind me that I need to write.

Because I do.

Scapegoats or Discipline…

Today I watched a news report about a man who was convicted of raping his own daughter and fathering four children by her.  The report included a comment from the man’s elderly uncle who said that the father shouldn’t receive the steepest sentence because he was a “good man” and the daughter could have “said no” or “gone to her mother.”

Made me sick.

But it brought to the forefront of my mind/heart the way that we are so good at blaming victims and addressing symptoms instead of digging deep in search of the root problems.

  • I don’t care how many examples there are of “professional panhandlers” – most homeless human beings don’t “choose to be homeless”.

  • I don’t care how many examples there are of “kids who are out of control” – kids don’t deserve to be neglected or abused.

  • I don’t care how short her skirt is – women and girls don’t deserve to be raped.  (and they certainly aren’t “asking for it”)

  • I don’t care how many kids she has by however many fathers – single mothers aren’t the root cause of poverty.

  • I don’t care how frightened or angered or appalled you are by homosexuality (whether its for religious reasons, or not) – people of other sexual orientations are not the cause of broken families and marriages.

If we want to find solutions to these very real problems, we need discipline.  Because without discipline, we won’t be able to stand looking deep within ourselves (individually and corporately)…at the darkness of greed and selfishness and judgment and rage and fear and lust for power/control that are really at the root of these societal ills.

Without discipline, we will find yet another scapegoat to pin the problem on and throw under the bus – and chances are so very good that the scapegoat will be one of the people already devastated by the problem at hand.

Without emotional & spiritual discipline, it’s easy to fall into traps set for us by commentators on both sides of the divide. And as long as we spend our energy fighting each other, the more time and space there is for injustice/oppression to spread. Let us be a disciplined, compassionate community that seeks out root problems instead of attacking victims & symptoms.

Because, without discipline, we are part of the problem.