Hi, my name is Katie and I am a recovering Evangelical Christian. Lord, have mercy. Step 4: Make a fearless and searching moral inventory. I mean… deep breath out. Can we just repeat step 3 or something?
I can think of about, quite literally, a thousand different things that I would rather have done than this and I would rather list them in great detail. Why? Because coming face to face with the ugly side of our humanity… my humanity was gut wrenching. Or maybe it is just me who has shame… pain… fear. If so that is okay too, definitely going to make this a bit more uncomfortable though.
But this really isn’t the place to enumerate my sins and thankfully not even the time. Sorry to disappoint, that is next month. But for this task, I did the step in two parts. The first 4 weeks, I did a personal moral inventory. The last day, I spent scratching the dust on top of the surface of the moral inventory of the evangelical church/church as a whole.
Why did I split it like that? Aren’t I trying to shake off the chains of The Holy Rolling Church? Well yes, but how can I do that if I am not willing to subject myself to an even more intensive self scrutinization? Speck… meet log. In my eye…. brain… heart. And again, this isn’t about changing a certain denomination, this is about me and how I am changing. I don’t want to be right, I want to get it right.
So uh, making a searching and fearless moral inventory. Yeah. Not great for the ego. We live in the day of social media, fast albeit unverified answers, and a considerable amount of self-righteousness. I have witnessed it in my children, teenagers, college students, myself, people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and gasp… 90’s. Part of why we have become so polarizing, and now this is only my personal theory, is because we have started to believe the glamour we put on for everyone. If I am speaking from a place of believed moral superiority, I of course have the authority, divine right, the angelic halo required to guiltlessly point fingers at the rest of humanity.
At the end of the day, the figurative make up is supposed to come off. Yet I think what we have begun to do, is just cake on a new days worth until we have come to this point where we don’t even know what we look like anymore. It isn’t that we have forgotten what all we have done, but maybe that we have forgotten, minimized the pain it caused others. And we simply begin to plaster on a new layer many times while searching for someone who has done something worse to assuage our own guilt.
Don’t think that is true? Two words: Democrats and Republicans. Two more: Liberal and Conservative. Two more: Christian and Muslim. Two more: Old and young. Two more: Catholic and Protestant. Two more: City and Country. We look at others and point out what they are doing to the point of ignoring what we ourselves are doing/have done. And it is easy for others to see the hypocrisy we live, because our foundation is so dry and cracked it is apparent that something is being covered up. So the circle continues, we point at them… they point at us.
We actually have blemishes, biases, scars, and brokenness. We have hurt ourselves. We have hurt others. We have lied, hidden the truth. …. correction. I have blemishes, biases, scars, and brokenness. I have hurt myself. I have hurt others. I have lied. I have hidden the truth. I have hated. The pain I have caused is real.
Dr. Edith Eger, in an interview, said, “There is no freedom without responsibility. That’s anarchy.” This is the first step for me in taking responsibility, but this is also the place where I begin to receive real freedom. I don’t want inner anarchy, I want real peace. This requires I take responsibility for my actions, and this in turn helps me to live more compassionately— more compassion towards myself and more compassion for others.
Thoughts. Comments. Questions. All are welcome.
Music that spoke to me this month:
- My Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0xIuDGwwMWIkrhBI1b0hyI?si=UTxXTOG0QKy-XLtJeX_peQ
What did I meditate on?
- Luke 7:36-50
- Luke 24:36-39