Learning Out Loud

Isn't it funny, and by funny, I mean complex, messy, and chaotic, that so often the things that bring us comfort can also cause so many complications? The last 18 months, the phrase "unprecedented times" has been used more than I can remember and if I'm being honest, at this point, they bring up a negative physical response. Unprecedented times. I don't know about you, but I struggle with the unprecedented, with the unknown, with the chaotic! I like order. I like direction, having a sense of what's going on. Uncertainty leaves me feeling more anxious than I'd like to admit.

Yet, at the same time, I struggle with the idea of certainty or absolutes. As much as I like order and as much as I'd like "normalness" compared to the chaos and devastation of this pandemic, I also recognize the ways in which certainty has been used as a weapon against others. The other day while volunteering with a program for youth, some of the tweens were giving an update on their first week of school. One shared about being bullied. She explained that her classmate believes in the "original words" of the Bible and he used those to judge her and tell her she was sinful.

He was so certain that HE knew what the Bible meant and that it meant that the way she exists in this world was wrong. His certainty in his interpretation of scripture sliced at her like a weapon. Yet, with incredible wisdom and self-esteem, she pointed at the banner in the room we were in and said, "but I feel bad for him because he knows what the Bible says, but I don't think knows this." The banner reads: "God is still speaking."

We live in a world with spoken and unspoken rules, order, and expectations. The disciples knew these rules and the way things work and so did this boy, yet as this youth reminds us, God is still speaking. Maybe, just maybe, the order we expect, the way we believe things ought to happen, and the certainty we find comfort in isn't the whole story and what is still possible has much to offer us.

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