I’ve been around the church and church workers my whole life. It’s what I started writing about on this blog, more or less. It has influenced my thinking from Day 1. More specifically, it has always been LCMS Lutherans that I’ve been immersed in. And for years, my first-born there-is-only-one-right-way-to-do-things tendencies have cemented my thinking in LCMS doctrine. I can’t always write it out clearly but I know it deep down. And for years it has been a source of pride. We have it right, you have it wrong. Clearly. I never looked at this pride as sinful because I was always using the plural pronoun “we” instead of singular “I.” If it’s inclusive, it’s not pride, right? Um, no.

The biggest problem I had with my thinking was I followed it without question, because it was how I had always been taught. I never thought about “why” we did things a certain way. Little by little that unquestioning resolve was chipped away through my teenage years, through college, through my relationship with my husband (nothing like marriage to help you see where your foundations might be faulty!). And quite honestly, I thought I had shaken off the fluff and landed on a bedrock of truth. But there were still elements of it that I didn’t question.

More specifically, I’ve always agreed with our Lutheran teaching about keeping the focus in worship on Christ. Kind of a no-brainer, right? It’s not about us, it’s about Christ and what He has done for us. I could still listen to some of the contemporary Christian songs that didn’t focus so much on Christ and shrug it off. I could be annoyed with the happy-clappy preachers but in doing so fell back on my pride issue. They are wrong, we are right. Then our world fell apart and suddenly the obnoxious shallowness of the music made me angry. The writers and preachers who claim that victory in Christ is achievable in this life sent fire into my belly. I thank God that I was raised to understand that Christ is the center, that this life is not the end, and that we are helpless beings in need of a Savior. They just don’t get it. And the anger that welled up in me came from understanding that there are people out there who haven’t been raised in the faith, who don’t understand much about God, and who are going through terrible things in their lives, too – and they are listening to this garbage!

We who grieve tend to be quiet about it. We don’t go into situations with new people and lay all of our troubles before them. Sometimes I wish we could, because I want to go to the people who have been shattered by the hurts of this life and just sit with them and cry and tell them it’s ok to be hurt. That God still loves them, and that He is sitting with us and crying too. We don’t have to provide proof through a stupid fake smile that Jesus loves us. And this attitude in some Christian circles that the evidence of faith is having an easy life – oooh, it makes me want to scream!

I take comfort in the songs that remind me of Christ’s love. Pure and simple. I’ve found myself singing along to the radio when “Light Up the Sky” by the Afters or “All of Creation” by Mercy Me. “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns holds more meaning for me now than ever before, despite the fact that I’ve been listening to it for two years. And there are countless other songs that I’ve listed both here and on Caringbridge that have filled me with hope during this time. But boy, when the songs about having a good life and making good choices and all of that come on the radio, my blood pressure rises. I’ve learned to turn the station or just turn the radio off.

At the moment none of the songs that bug me come to mind, probably because I don’t listen long enough to actually learn them. Anyone have a song that bugs them?

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