Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Hope You Find Me: The Night Women Took Another Step


"Yes, hi!  Is Sandy available, please?"

"This is she.  May I ask who is calling?"

"Of course!  My name is Kristin and I am a volunteer with Geauga County Democrats.  We are so excited here at the office celebrating Secretary Clinton's official nomination and..."

"Oh, I know!  Isn't it wonderful?  I was just watching myself."

"We were too, we were too.  And actually the reason I am calling tonight is to invite you and your family to a fabulous event on Saturday.  Hillary and Tim's first appearance after the convention.  They..."

"They are coming to Ohio?  Right after all of this?"

"They sure are!  Right down the road. I hope you will be able to join us.  It promises to be a great rally!"

"I get to be there?"

"If you would like.  I am happy to give you all of the information."

"Yes.  Yes.  I wouldn't miss it.  My mother was born before women could vote and I..."  She trails off.  She has no other words...

"So, you'll come?!"

"Of course, my goodness, of course.  I wouldn't miss it.  Are you going to go too?"

"Absolutely.  I am going to bring my daughters."

"And I'll ask mine!"

"Please do.  That's a great idea.  I'll look for you."

"I hope you find me.

"I did tonight."


And just like that, July 26, 2016 became a day I will never forget.  A day I sat in a tiny democratic party office in what, to me, still seems like the middle of nowhere.  A lively, yet kind place in a very red county in the historically battleground state of Ohio, my new home.

Hung merely 96 years ago...we've come a long way, baby!

(this conversation is based on an actual conversation I had with an 81-year-old woman on the evening our country nominated its first female presidential candidate.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It's About God

Two Sundays ago, in church, I found myself with, what seemed at first, a silly semantics problem.  As everyone else sang, "Our God saves" over and over again for more times than I could count, I just couldn't.  Instead, I leaned into my husband and whispered what I couldn't contain.  I said to him, "It should just say "'God, You save.'"

He grinned and inadvertently egged on my already cooking brain.

I thought about this all day, during the rest of the service, at the store, in the garden, during dinner.  Does the word "our" work in these types of songs or not?  Sunday worship is collective.  So "our" is accurate, right? But, if we say "our God" doesn't that imply that He is not everyone's God?  Regardless, it had spurred my thoughts for sure.

For example, my sister and I can say, "That is our dad up on the stage." He has no other children.  He is no one else's dad.  He is ours, not yours.  He is our dad.

So when we sing, "Our God..." isn't that intimating that there are also other gods?  Or that there are people for whom He is not God?

I believe in one God, one overarching power.  Maybe you do too.  Maybe you call Him God, like I usually do.  Or maybe you call Him/Her "Spirit", "Creator", "Lord", "Mother", "Father", "Universe."  Please call God what you will.  Where I have written "God" insert your own name for Him.

Christianity believes in one God.  A God that reveals Himself in three main ways: Father (Creator, Sustainer), Son (Friend, Brother), Spirit (Counselor, Comforter).  But one God all the same.  A God that also reveals Himself through nature, love, words, music, art, religion, relationship.  The list could be as long as the experiences we have.

As a result, we each (every single one of us) have come to know and understand different things about God. What you know about God is different than what I know, than the Pope knows, than John Stewart knows, than Oprah knows.  And just by being on this Earth, living the gift of life, we all know something about Him. Whether you acknowledge Him or not.

Collectively, we know God better than we know God on our own.  Often, the core of our being is screaming to share what we know, what we have learned.  We reveal what we know in a similar way to how God reveals Himself: cultivating nature, love, words, music, art, religion, relationship.  Read books?  Listen to music? Explore nature?  Felt a feeling? You have seen God.

I am not saying that you believe one version of God and I believe another.  It is not your God, my God, our God.  It's GOD.  God is so wildly huge and amazing it takes all of us (and more!) to even begin to comprehend Him.  God is bigger than what you know, than I know, than the Pope knows, than John Stewart knows, than Oprah knows.

God is God is God is God.

No matter what we believe, what we say, how we think, or how we act, God remains the same.  Everyone is studying the same "God", "Spirit", "Creator", "Lord", "Mother", "Father", "Universe."

Everyone.  Some more obviously or actively than others.  But everyone.

So that other morning when we (well everyone else) sang "Our God saves" it felt wrong.  Like the church I was standing in, or this "Christian religion group" I am in, was trying to claim God as theirs and theirs alone. Or claim Him in a different way than everyone else.  But you can't.

We all cry out to the same power.  The same universe.  The same spirit.  The same God.

God saves, God loves, God gives, God forgives, God lives.  It's not about us or them, what's right and what's wrong, who is in or who is out.

It's about GOD.

And then I began to wonder...Have I been selling myself (or worse, God) short?

Trees, light, perspective, hope.  All of these, for me, point to God.