Monday, May 17, 2010

Chief of Hypocrites

The other day I was going to write a blog entitled "What Bothers Me About Books Today", or something a long those lines. I was going to rant and rave about all of these books that I see at bookstores lately and how terrible they are. Particularly non-fiction books for Christian women.Don't get me wrong. Not all of these books are terrible. I've enjoyed a few of them actually. I thought that Captivating was wonderful. But I can't help but get angry when I see these books at times. They have titles such as "Who Holds the Key to Your Heart", "Feminine Modesty", "The Quest for Meanness and Quietness of Spirit" (No I am not kidding about these titles.) or they are intended for mothers. The most common I find are the ones that talk about romantic relationships. How to find the perfect Christian husband of your dreams, how to keep the perfect Christian husband of your dreams, or what to do while you wait for the perfect Christian husband of your dreams. Basically it's saying "a good Christian girl must get married and have lots of good Christian babies and then you will be fulfilling God's plan for your life. And if you haven't found him yet, it's OK because you will someday or something is wrong with you." Did you know that I actually saw a book in the Christian section called "How to Avoid the Ten Mistakes Single Women Make"? Yeah. You read that right.

Oh I'm sorry, I thought I was defined by my relationship with Christ, not by my martial status. My apologies, I'll get on that right away.

EXCUSE ME????? I don't think so.

So I then get on my high horse and rant and rave about how it's OK to be a single woman. We can have jobs and have a voice in our churches and communities. I know several strong, adult, Christian woman who have never gotten married and probably will never be married, and there is nothing wrong with that. Women can be independent and confident without a man in their lives and be perfectly happy. Afterwards I go blast "Independent Woman" by Destiny's Child from my car stereo.

Do you know what I do the next minute? I go to a late night showing of Letter to Juliet and sigh and act giddy as a school girl over a Hollywood made love story and wonder "when is it my turn?" This makes me want to run into my room and hide and never come out again because of how much of a hypocrite I feel like. Because during those two hours and the short time after I have become one of those girls. The type that has their head in the clouds and dreams of their handsome prince coming and taking them away to live happily ever after. I blame too many Disney movies when I was a child.

The apostle Paul called himself "the chief of sinners." I would say right now I am the "chief of hypocrites." I love the passage in Romans that says "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do." (Chapter 7:15) Paul goes on an on about how he wants to do good but he can't, and he doesn't want to do evil but he can't help but do evil. It's exhausting, and so true! I'm not saying that being a hopeless romantic is a bad thing, it's not. But when you claim to be an independent woman who doesn't need a man, and then swoon every time characters like Mr. Darcy, Jack Dawson, or Edward Cullen pop up... you feel a bit like a hypocrite.

Brennan Manning in his book The Furious Longing of God says:"There is the "you" that people see and then there is the "rest of you". Take some time and craft a picture of the "rest of you." This could be a drawing, in words, even a song. Just remember that the good chances are it will be full of paradox and contradictions. " 

Aren't we all like that? "Full of paradox and contradictions." We say one thing and we do another. It's part of our nature and entwined into our very being. I can't tell you how many times I talk about how we as a Christian community need to learn to be honest with each other about our struggles and thoughts and doubts, but how often do I myself keep my heart and mind locked up and don't let others in? Or when someone does reveal a struggle I shy away and don't know how to handle it? We talk about accepting others but when someone disagrees with us we shun them? We talk about not being judgmental and then when someone is "judging" another, we start to judge them? 

"Full of paradox and contradictions."

So what do us chief hypocrites do? Us independent Christian women who secretly wish for a prince charming? Us wanting a community of honesty and transparency but are not willing to open up ourselves? Those of us who want acceptance but don't know how to accept others?

Brennan Manning had another quote in The Furious Longing of God that I loved. "All I have learned through trial and error is to stay alert and aware, especially God smiling at our silliness. " I love that, God is smiling at our silliness. We are being silly aren't we? When we focus on the hypocrisy of our nature and make such a big deal of it, God is smiling at our silliness. Are we being silly? Maybe. 

That's the beauty of Christianity. Even when we are being silly, or being hypocrites, Jesus still loves us. How? Who knows! But I know he does, and that's ultimately what matters. Brennan Manning calls it the "ragamuffin gospel" and says that it is for the "people who's cheese is falling off of their cracker."

I like that. I am a hypocrite who's cheese is falling off of her cracker, but knows that Jesus loves her.  :)


  1. woot woot for the feminist rant. love it, babe, but love you more!

  2. My mom bought me "How to Avoid the Ten Mistakes Single Women Make" for my birthday! I decided to be a good sport and flip through it. I loved how it was written and it was so true about women! I should have read it a year earlier, God helped me get over some of the mistakes last year so now I am fine in many areas. The book was fun to read and it showed me how far I have come. As for "Letters to Juliet" I saw it this weekend and hated it! I thought it was so predictable and it didn't make me yearn for a husband at all. I kept thinking how much harder life is than the movie wanted to make it seem. Nothing is so easy and magical. Nor was the grandson all that magical- he seemed grumpy and difficult and his nice moments didn't really make up for it. I think you can want independence and marriage at the same time without being a hypocrite. You are allowed to have different kinds of seasons in your life. Even if you never marry it is fine that you have both desires in your heart. Don't worry about it ;) -Cat


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