junk at the front

I'm trying to be thankful for the four hour stretch of sleep I got last night from 10:30pm until 2:30am. It feels so long ago now, but maybe if I focus on that hard enough I won't remember that the only other sleep I got came in a few thirty minute installments. I thought babies were supposed to eat less frequently as they got older. I will be employing Jen's Coping Strategy #1 today: Research your way out of the problem. Answers are power. Or something like that.

I'm sure all of you tune in here for the continuing saga of life with a newborn, but I have so much of this at the front of my brain that it always feels like I need to dump it all out to get to the good stuff in back. So here's some more from the front. My stress about our Christmas trip has been mounting since Lucy's birth. First, there's the anticipation of seven nights with Amelia sharing a room with us and Lucy, who now apparently wakes up every ninety minutes to eat. I can only imagine how well my now-three-year-old will behave during the day once she boards our sleep deprivation train every night. Then there are relatives to see--mine here, Justin's there. I believe that God gave me relatives to remind me of how unloving I still insist on being after all these years. One of my favorite things to get angry about is how judgemental other people are. It's hypocrisy of almost comedic proportions.

But it has me thinking this morning about this human tendency to get stuck in right and wrong mode. I think it's part of the normal development of, say, an eight-year-old, but many of us spend much of our adult life there. One manisfestation of this that's hard for me to take this year is Christianity as "joining the right team". It often becomes about how we can find the team that knows Jesus the rightest, interprets scripture the rightest and prays that others will see the light and join our team before it's too late. Some of our teams are very small. I wonder why it's so difficult for us to trust God with each other's journeys, why it's such a foreign concept for some to see the spiritual life as a journey at all.

To some in our world, Justin and I have left the right team, if we were ever on it at all, and are in danger of ending up with the wrong team, kind of like those partiers you hope your teen doesn't fall in with. So it's hard to talk about, which seems to work out since no one asks anyway. I wouldn't mind sharing with people if they wanted to know about where we're at, what we're thinking. But I'm not up for a debate or an arugment.

Richard Rohr tells this great story about a message he came upon that had been written in sidewalk chalk by a homeless person. It said, "I watch how foolishly man guards his nothing--thereby keeping us out. Truly, God is hated here". Rohr continues:

I understood anew why Jesus seemed to think that the expelled ones had a head start in understanding his message. Ususally they have been expelled from what was unreal anyway--the imperial systems of culture, which demand "in" people and "out" people, victors and victims. In God's reign, "everything belongs", even the broken and poor parts.

I'm done with needing in people and out people, worrying about who's more right and who's more wrong. It occurs to me that Jesus was scandalously inclusive about who belongs in God's kingdom, and if people aren't scandalized by who we're including, perhaps we're missing the whole point.