His Last Name – Uncollecting

So, a funny little tidbit from Deacon School: We talked about Jesus, and how Christ is apparently a title…. like one should say Christ Jesus as opposed to Jesus Christ. I said, apparently out loud, that I thought Christ was his last name…. cue the laugh track.

Seriously though! Who thinks about things like this?

A new friend brought me a beautiful gift, probably she doesn’t even know it, so neurotic am I, but she gave me a word. I saw it printed in old type on a faded and yellowed piece of paper – uncollecting.

And giving up things like Christ not being the last name of Jesus is sort of like uncollecting – this letting go of how I thought the story should end, of how I believed the world was made and maintained and created. Uncollecting.

It’s been rather shocking to me lately, how people are “coming out” re their political views. Trump signs are popping up and people are posting Idareyoutodisagreewithme declarations on Facebook. Maybe they think that in these last few weeks that one yard sign will make all the difference, that one post turn someone’s heart. I rather doubt it and am rather finished with Facebook debates that descend quickly into the lies we’ve built and believed and retold to divide each other into easily dismissable factions.

I think what we so often don’t see is that an issue like abortion isn’t black and white, many folks would have us believe that, sure – but what we don’t seem to address are the tens of thousands of children in foster homes, the kids living in poverty and despair. We don’t see what goes into making a decision like that. I think it’s rather easy to form an opinion on something you have never experienced. I am trying to uncollect my immediate reaction to someone who tags me as pro abortion, when in fact I am not.

The situation that we are in requires that we all begin to uncollect, and then recollect, trolling up and down the beaches for the bright shards of our shared humanity. We need to uncollect party rhetoric, need to uncollect name calling and fear mongering, uncollect our Nationalist view points, that somehow we are the only ones who matter, our needs are paramount in the face of the gaping yaw of the entire HUMAN RACE. We are seriously really upset about a man who wouldn’t stand for the national anthem? Tell me the last time you stood in your living room, the last time you heard those opening notes and leaped to your feet and removed your hat and placed your hand over heart — right. You can’t. Because we don’t do that. Our Nationalism is only for public display.

Jesus teaches that what we do in private is more important than prayers screamed from street corners, more important than that ever pointed bowing of the head before a meal in a crowded restaurant.

I don’t really like parables. Jesus doesn’t do a good job, for me, of speaking clearly when he talks such nonsense. I like straightforward, then I can agree or argue – but when I am handed, on the one plate, an exhortation to pray in private and not like a pharisee, and on the other hand to let my light shine — I don’t know what to do with that. Anyway. I digress.

I want to uncollect.

I want to let go of the need to control and to hang onto. I want to take the cover off the baby seat downstairs and give it to a woman I know who may need it. I want to hear the birds on that seat chirp for the last time and to hand it off to her. I want to uncollect my desire to be right. I want to uncollect my desire to have everything go just the way that I hoped it would, while I sit with the wind ruffling my hair mooning about being some hippie rebellion inciter.

Because I am really a small and lost person.

I am really a mom who is frustrated most of the time.

I am really a wife who doesn’t know what to do with marriage.

I am really a friend who is, at best, sort of available, mostly because my children are more demanding than I ever dreamed they would be.

These are my failings.

And we tell the truth here.

I may have grand dreams of uncollecting, but what they really come down to is a rather recent desire to decant, to pour off, because I am too full. A desire to let go. A desire to stop holding on so tight because my hands hurt with the clenching and I am thirsty.

I preached the last weekend we were together, I preached out light and about chaos. I preached about the chain that lies broken at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. I think it went ok. I think I can get better with practice, that my knees maybe won’t shake so much.

So, even though I am a pretender to the throne here, even though I am not really a dissenter, not really a disturber of the peace, I must acknowledge that part of myself. I must see that there is a part of me that is brave, but that I shutter her light, that I hold her back and down, that I put my hand over her mouth.

Tonight I met a man who made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

Tonight I learned that if a shooter enters my church I should probably run.

Tonight I relived my five year old coming home from kindergarten and telling me proudly how she did not cry when 30 students crowded into a bathroom and her friend cried during an intruder drill — how I saw that same false bravery, that same wish to uncollect what other people expect me to be reflected in her eyes.

Every Sunday I watch the altar set for communion, and then I watch as the “dishes are done”. I watch intently, only recently being offered the opportunity to touch these things myself, to learn how these things are done. I wish to uncollect the desire to do your communion dishes and find I cannot. I wish to uncollect a call to be ordained to the sacred order of deacons and find that I am unable.

How nice to be just me again, overstretched, unchurched, sleeping in on Sundays me. How perfectly lovely to let this go.

And yet, I cannot.

I cannot because the message of the gospels to RECONCILE is clear.

I cannot because the call to lay it all down, to UNCOLLECT,  is there.

I cannot because if I, simpering in my blogposting sphere, calling for rebellion and overturning and the breaking of chains — if I will NOT… Who will answer the call? If this one completely unprepared person will not stand up and refuse to be quiet – –

I cannot because my uncollecting cannot lead to continued disdain and deliberate misunderstanding that keeps you comfortable. Because I feel, silly though it may seem, that a battle is coming and that leaders are needed. Unfortunately I am rather good at bossing people, at seeing their strengths and sending them that way.

I asked, in tears, a few weeks ago – what else must I lose?

I fear that the answer may be everything. I fear that I may have to lay it all down — and then I realize that we all are called to do so, its just that I am here to remind you – your own Jiminy Cricket.

So as I uncollect, I will have to jettison my ideas, my thoughts, my wishes and my will. I will have to lay on my face and swear obedience to fight in this fight. I will have to pick up a new will, and, someday, a new and shining sword, a lance, anything that can be stuck upright in the air as I shout, to me, TO ME — and into battle we will go. Don’t be afraid. I am a champion uncollector, a sort of truth teller, a martyr in most relationships and not very present in the rest — but I see what is stake and will fight for reconciliation, justice, the dignity of every person.

I suppose I am not to be underestimated.

I am larger, better than I thought, 

I did not know I held so much goodness.



I love you still, even if you aren’t ready to uncollect.








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