Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thanks for listening!

Maybe Corinne was
 just exhausted...
More thoughts about the movie Higher Ground... (If it feels like you’re diving into a story midstream, then read my previous post.) 1. It could be that Corinne, the main character in the movie, just needed some Prozac. I’m not advocating across-the-board drug use for the problems in people’s heads, but ... sometimes it is just what a person needs to push them over some mental hump.

And now that I’ve probably pissed some of you off by recommending better living through chemistry, I will also say that the more I have thought about this, well... the more I have thought about it. Part of me thinks that a lot of her problem might have the church she was involved in. 

This is not a direct criticism of the church itself. It was a sweet group of people – sincere and loving. Of course some people would have seen them as unnecessarily conservative (Corinne is gently discouraged from “teaching the men” and from wearing slightly revealing clothing.) It does seem extreme, especially if you’re not familiar with this kind of church. Some people like that kind of thing, but that is not the issue I am addressing.

You see, what I think made it hard for Corinne was the emphasis that style of church places on the experiential... which is fine for some people. But for others, maybe not so much... 

It is true that my own life is ruled by feelings in many ways – on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, I score a solid F, as opposed to a T. That is, FEELING over THINKING. That said, I do end up doing a lot of things I don’t feel like doing, but that my mind tells me I should... like working, oooking, cleaning... even Bible Study and being nice to people sometimes, sad to say!

So I guess I am fortunate that I get to occasionally feel me some Spirit. That said, I don’t have the gift of tongues, which is totally a Spirit thing. I am trusting that this doesn’t mean that I don’t HAVE the Holy Spirit. If I understand correctly, there is more than one way a Christian can be filled with the Spirit... one involving the everyday presence of God that lives in our hearts, shows us what’s true, and comforts us in times of trouble... the other being a quick shot of Spirit that fills a person for a short time to speak in tongues, speak or understand a language you’ve never learned, make prophecies, preach the gospel or do some other thing in a way that is above their normal ability. I’m thinking this type is more of a “feeling” kind of thing. Like a rush of feelings that pours through you, directs you.

...or maybe she needed
some Prozac?!
And I guess this is what Corinne was after? And while her church didn’t really believe in tongues, they definitely were what I would call a “touchy-feely” church, devoted to each individual’s walk with God and spiritual growth... which is good... but somehow, Corinne just wasn’t feeling like God was walking with HER. 

But is “feeling it” necessary? Or just something she thinks she is supposed to have? The Bible said that the Holy Spirit in your life produces love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And these are things any Christian can have... speaking in tongues and prophesying and things like that seem like... gravy!

Maybe it was the insular nature of that particular brand of church that stymied Corinne’s growth. While they did have excellent worship music, they were not likely to explore other forms of art as an expression of the story of God and His love and grace. She was not even allowed to speak out about her relationship with God in mixed company... and it turns out that speaking is something she is pretty good at... 

I don’t have any idea where I’m going with this... It wasn’t my intention to talk bad about Corinne’s church. I don’t think that’s what the movie was about... Rather, it was a story about one woman finding her voice... literally. Married as a teen, and an instant mother, a loving wife, immersed in a male dominated church... 1. she was depressed and mourning the loss of a friendship, 2. she was exhausted from taking care of all those kids and doing all the traditional wifey things, and 2. who was listening to her? 

Okay, so maybe it WAS the conservativism of the church with regards to gender roles that I should have been addressing all along...?! I don’t know. Actually, I do know that even if given the freedom to do so, many women don’t feel comfortable speaking out – preferring to just fly under the radar. So... maybe it’s a woman thing? Maybe lots of us need to find our voices!

Well, it looks like I have just chewed this topic up and spit it out... without coming to any real conclusion. But look at that – I’ve found MY voice... and this is me using it... Thanks for listening!

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