Why my husband is intolerable.

I wrote a blog last week. I hated it. I was the same old tripe that I’ve raged on about for years. Don’t get me wrong; I stand by every word that I said. But the truth is: the institutional church does not care one iota about the ravings of a wounded minister’s wife. Why? Because: money. Because: tradition. Because: power. I’m over it. I’m done writing about all that. They can continue to kill all hope for authenticity and continue to make Jesus a brand. God be with them.

Today, I want to talk about another raving lunatic: my husband. He drives me crazy. I mean that in the literal sense at times. Here is something that we struggle with that perhaps is just us. I hope someone out there can relate. During this no man’s land of being without a church to feed us (again I mean this literally and metaphorically), we’ve been given some very curt criticisms about our online personas. “Don’t post too much.” “Don’t talk about your pain.” “Don’t address that.” All good advice if you want a job, right? Our public image says so much about who we are. Our digital self is a description of how we function in our real life… right? And since my job…my real life daytime job… is marketing, I know the absolute truth is that digital image matters in real time. No one wants an employee who rants on and on about polarizing politics online. We either want silence or submission or pictures of puppies.

Enter the Blanchards. (I’m a slow learner, I guess, because I still share most of my opinions on social media.) The Blanchards share our “truth”. (Gosh I hate that phrase. Of all the stupid things American’s say, that is the worst. The Websters are rolling over in their graves.) The Blanchards are open about who we are. This was a blessing to churches ten years ago. Today, this kind of authenticity is a curse. “Don’t question the establishment. Don’t make others uncomfortable. Don’t challenge people in digital spaces. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Be the semblance of all joy all the time! Accept everyone….actually don’t do that. Just don’t talk about it. That’s better. Be silent as the grave even as the ship goes down. Congratulations on not upsetting anyone on Facebook!”

As a social media content creator, even my philosophy is “Never go viral unless it brings in money’. Today if you go viral for something deemed negative, you lose your job.

This morning while discussing my vacation time and PTO my husband was adamant that a week was nine days. In his computer-like mind, he made complete sense. He sounded like a crazy person from my end of the bedroom. To me, when discussing PTO, a week is 5 business days. It was a stupid argument, and at one point I had my finger on the phone ready to call the mental institution and guys with the little white van. He gets irate when people don’t listen to his logic. This is a trigger for him. I get irate when computer-people (generally enneagram 8s or 1s) cannot have normal conversations and infer without having to get out a calculator. It was a stupid argument.

I’m not alone with my irritation with the people God granted with precise computer-like brains. I DO respect these folks because they have a tendency to constantly seek clarity. They have a high sense of justice and fairness. They are achievers and perfectionists. They ask questions and expect answers. They enjoy being held accountable and having a standard to reach. They call-out inconsistencies, and people who are sneaky, lazy, and/or practice faulty logic or ethics absolutely abhor them. I know this. I’ve seen it happen to my husband and my daughter who is a lot like her dad. Most people hate being held accountable.

If you have read this far you are probably wondering why on earth I would write a blog like this. I wrote this for 3 reasons.

  1. Our entire culture hates this kind of person, and it is our downfall. It isn’t just unhealthy institutional church leaders that hate these people. It isn’t just me that gets irritated with people like my husband. I see resistance to status-quo questioners in my job. I see it in politics. I especially see it on social media. If you make an authoritative statement grounded in truth OR question the logic of the common accepted narrative, expect extreme push back. The sensitive policing trolls will pounce. Our culture abandoned the ability to accept other viewpoints and go about our days around a decade ago. We certainly no longer encourage dialogue. Today we allow people to be destroyed for holding others to account, for asking too many questions, and for simply saying black is black and white is white. We are no longer allowed to question anyone’s ambiguity or feelings. This line of questioning is deemed as an attack and the ultimate demonstration of hate. Logic no longer matters. Feelings are our god and guide.
  2. You are a brand whether you like it or not. Social media has made all of us our own personal brand. It has allowed us to market a digital persona and make money off that if it is deemed worthy and pleasing. Follow that through. What exactly are you marketing? There is a reason why it is important Cheerios maintains their happy yellow box. You know it when you see it in the cereal aisle. That branding is maintained for the sake of the customer so Cheerios continues to make money. Who are you serving if you are maintaining a brand? Who are churches serving if they make their ministers a brand or… Jesus into a brand? Forget about posting anything of consequence ever again. Pleasing the customer so you can maintain a bottom line is all that matters. If you have chosen to be an media influencer, fair enough. If you simply want to live authentically, sorry. You are now a servant of your bottom line and your customer base. The ship has sailed for authenticity online especially if you are a natural questioner and take note the titanic is going down or want to maintain a job.
  3. We will go down with the ship. I will be the first to tell you how much I hate having to dissect every conversation with my spouse. It exhausts me. I’m positive that I exhaust him. But our family desperately needs him. Not because I am weak. Not because I cannot make it on my own. We desperately need him because he keeps us focused on what is true, relevant, and actually my busy days are a million times more successful because of his brain organizing life constantly. When you silence the questioner, the logic seeker, you will go down with a ship that may be pretty and fun, but it also may be a ship that forgot to replace a broken valve… or whatever ships use to be functional.

Because I’m a Christian and because I care deeply for the church, I find it important to remind you (See, you didn’t think I wouldn’t take this full-circle did you?). There is a reason Israel as a general rule hated the prophets. There is a reason why John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. People have always hated the account holders. From the beginning until now, we have silenced the questioner, the logic seeker, and the folks who remind us of our purpose, of real TRUTH. Don’t hear me say that my husband is a prophet. Hear me offer a warning. If we silence people who have a logical bent or a sincere question, we put ourselves at risk. If we stop listening to truth to maintain the comfort of the cabins, we put the entire ship at risk. Lots of churches and organizations are willing to do just that for the sake of their customer base and bottom line.

Does history ever bode well for questioners?

Does what follows ever bode well for the silencers?

Baaaaarack (no, not THAT Barack).

Meet Baarack. Baarack was found in the Australian bush recently. He was so burdened by his coat that he could barely stand. In fact, he was found lying down and the gentleman who found him thought someone had just discarded a load of dirty smelly wool. Baarack was weighted down with an extra seventy-seven pounds of wool. Had he not been found and cared for, Baarack would have died within days, plain and simple.

I don’t know a whole lot about farm animals. From my tiny bit of research, I discovered that not all sheep require regular shearing. Many breeds of wild sheep drop their coats in the spring. It is believed that most sheep, being domesticated for 10,000 years now, have been intentionally breed to grow thicker and thicker coats. In essence, we did this to poor Baarack. In our efforts to do a good thing, provide cozy blankets and coats, we bred sheep who if not cared for properly will die under the weight of their own quality product.

Baarack had disgusting swarms of insects growing in his wool by the way. The filth that he was carrying with that wool that had grown over his backside…let your mind wander. Did you know that if female sheep are not regularly shorn their babies cannot nurse properly and will die? So, not only does the parent need shearing for it’s own health, but the children suffer if the parent isn’t properly cared for. The videos of the arduous process of shearing Baarack are fascinating (and gross). You can imagine, Baarack was fairly miserable during the shearing task and needed intense medical care after being freed of the wool. He had to learn to walk again.

The notion that we did this to Baraack really pains me. In our good intentions to make thicker and more affordable coats, we bred sheep desperate for the radical and regular care of a skilled shepherd.

(I once had a friend tell me that I over-spiritualized things. I believed that for a hot minute. Then I was unbelievably grateful that I DO spiritualize a whole lot of things. Sometimes a sheep is just a sad sheep, but even a sad sheep can teach us big lessons. I like that my mind naturally looks for lessons. Moving on back to Baarack…)

Baarack reminded me that in our efforts to produce a LOT of good things with good outcomes, religion has essentially created heavier burdens for all of us to carry. What makes me giggle is that a whole lot of us don’t see that we are bound by religion. A lot of people in my particular heritage will argue with you for hours about how they are not religious.

Church, we’ve weighted ourselves down and we’ve weighted our people down, and now there are a whole lot of Baaracks wandering the hills trapped under loads of guilt and confusion and non-essential “needs”. Many Baaracks are so blinded by their wool burden they have wandered looking for freedom, authenticity, and salvation in the hills.

Christians learned a lot of lessons over the last three years. We don’t need a building. We don’t need a paid pastor, preacher, youth guy, children’s gal, worship team, leader, dancer, band, bounce-house, Superbowl party, annual retreat, lock-in… the list goes on and on. You don’t need it, and if your spirituality requires it, you are definitely missing something that those things won’t ever provide. None of those things are bad things. Not one. But I fear in the age we find ourselves, these ‘good’ things have burdened us all in ways that are not helpful, and we desperately need a Shepherd to shear us all down. Shear us down from financial burdensome buildings and salaries, shear us down from consumer driven church cultures, shear us down to the absolute basics…

Christ and Community are all we need. Can your faith survive that shearing?

Note that Baraack went through some great discomfort to be healed.

May our faith be strong enough to withstand our required shearing.

May we trust the Good Shepherd to know what He is doing.