I write from my wounds and they don’t hear Jesus

I write from my wounds and they don’t hear Jesus September 20, 2013

Today I saw a tweet by a liberal (?), progressive (?), doesn’t-think-gay-people-should-have-sex-but-probably-changed-their-FB-profile-picture-to-the-HRC-logo-a-few-months-ago (yeah, that’s it) Christian blogger I once read and appreciated. It said,

If you only write from your wounds from an abstract “Church” and you no longer root yourself to a body of believers, I don’t hear Jesus.

I can’t help but think that many of the liberalish evangelical or post-evangelical bloggers I once followed and loved and even considered friends feel the same way. It’s strange, because I got my start as a writer in the evangelical blogophere, writing about my wounds. There was a time when writing about my wounds was freeing. When it made me feel like I wasn’t damaged goods for the first time in my life.

But I learned that there are conditions. 

You may write from your wounds, but make sure to end your blog post with a hopeful platitude.

You may write from your wounds, but you have to forgive and be gracious about it.

You may write from your wounds, unless it’s a popular, liberal evangelical/emergent blogger who’s wounded you.

You may write from your wounds, unless your wounds lead you to anger.

You may write form your wounds, but know that this makes your opinion on the things that wounded you less valid.

You may write from your wounds, but don’t let them lead you away from the Bible, the church, or from God.

Seeing that tweet was just a reminder that I don’t meet most of these conditions anymore. Many of the bloggers that once made me feel whole are now the ones telling me that I am damaged goods. That my brokenness is not welcome until I can fix myself up just enough to be presentable.

It used to hurt to feel like I was no longer welcome to speak from my wounds in the evangelical blogosphere. It still does, a little, if I’m going to be honest even though I’m pretty sure I haven’t qualified as an evangelical in quite awhile.

But I’m getting to the point where it’s okay.

I’m getting to the point where I’m no longer dependent on the evangelical Jesus that is too busy “showing up” in church buildings while the worship leaders play Hillsong to be present with me on days when I hurt too much to even imagine crawling out of bed to go sit in a pew.

I’m finding God elsewhere, and she is angry and wounded and strong. She is the spirit that empowered Jesus to stand in solidarity with the wounded. She is not bound to your church buildings.

You tell her that you cannot hear Jesus in those who aren’t rooted in a church, and she replies, “Your heart has grown calloused. You are plugging up your ears and covering up your eyes, otherwise you might hear and see and understand.”

She is a physician who is not here for the healthy. Write from your place of wholeness and privilege, rooted solidly and safely in your “body of believers.” Fine. But the God I have found is busy reaching out to the wounded with her own wounded hands. You won’t find her if you send away those whose pain is too big to fit through a church door.

You look at the wounded. You see a bunch of people who are tired, and frustrated, and angry, and bleeding, and rejected by the church, and crying out for justice. Then you say you can’t see Jesus and I wonder, don’t you recognize him? He’s standing right in front of you. 


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  • Abraham Kobylanski

    This is what all Christians need to hear, and unfortunately, the majority won’t listen to.
    I think if Jesus saw the Church as it is today, he would be kicking over all the tables and calling lots of people “broods of vipers.”

    • Korrine Britton

      I think that is exactly what He is doing through honest, wounded, brave people like Sarah.

  • ptedward

    Thanks so much Sarah… For your perseverance, your integrity and your ruthless honesty… You are a witness to the church of letting God be God and not insisting on protecting God. Thank you.

  • Jacqui Norman

    brilliant. One of the most damaging things that “the Church” can do is tell wounded people that Jesus is a “quick fix” for lifelong scars, and that failure to “be healed” must therefore be the result of insufficient faith in the wounded person.

    Some physical wounds are so awful that they leave a person’s face utterly different to the one they were supposed to have. The same is true of personality and sense of self, damaged by emotional or spiritual wounds …. no one would tell a burns victim that their scars remain because they do not have enough faith for their perfect, pre-damaged face to emerge through the scars!
    They fail to see that the new face has a beauty of its own.

  • James_Jarvis

    All too often God and Jesus are sold to us by pastors as if they were some-kind of miracle cure like you see on late night TV. As Bonhoeffer pointed out the gift of Grace comes at the cost of discipleship. To follow Christ is to allow the world to break your heart as the world breaks his. Sooner or later our broken wounds everyone. We are to share in the suffering of others as Christ suffers with us. This is the true meaning of the word made flesh.

  • Lana

    OMG yes this so much. This is exactly it. Even the progressive types, want me in church. shees.

  • Alice

    That tweet sounds rather self-centered. Just because she can’t hear Jesus doesn’t mean everyone else can’t. Most importantly, the purpose of sharing wounds is NOT all about you (the listener). Ideally, the people who share benefit just as much or far more.

  • Thanks for this, Sarah.