Sunday, April 27, 2008

Knocking on Heaven's Door

"The church is a place for answers, not for questions."--Bree Van De Camp, Desperate Housewives.

I'm sure that this recent episode of Desperate Housewives was the most spiritually profound show I have ever seen on prime time television. No....really. At least it spoke to me where I am at. I would give a play by play but someone else has done a way better job of it here.

I am so impressed by the authentic portrayal of the characters. So often in film, religious roles get molded into typical stock characters and the bible is shown in a negative light.

The story of Lynette, searching for answers and having the door slammed in her face by her religious self-serving friend illustrates Matthew 23:13 (New Living Translation).

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either."

It's absolutely priceless, the scene in the story where the Minister finishes up his sermon about God's unfailing love and then as he directs everyone to the hymnal he is interrupted by Lynette's upheld hand wanting to (gasp!!!) ask a question!! Her friend Bree is so embarrassed because Lynette doesn't know the unwritten rule - church is about answers not questions.

I was also impressed, when Lynette called Bree on her fakeness and asked her to describe how her faith has gotten her through tough times. In the end the two women are seen reading the bible together on the porch. Searching together for answers.

The Lord has been challenging me to be willing to share my faith with my own circle of "Desperate Housewives". I have come to know and care about my neighbours of 10 years, as our children grow up together, as we participate in school activities and attend Tupperware parties together. It is through this togetherness that women talk and stuff comes out. It is in these early middle age years that women start to ask questions of life.

I am much more secure in sharing my faith than I was in the past. However, I have never closed the deal....never actually led anyone into the Kingdom, although I have been part of the process with a few.

I see myself as having gone through the door of the Kingdom of Heaven, but I've closed it behind me. I am too timid to open the door and call a few people in with me. Fearful because I've always seen it as having to tell someone what to believe or give them a repeat after me prayer that I'm sure I would forget the words to. I just can't do that

Now sitting on my porch (if I had one) and helping a neighbour find answers. That, I think I can do.


Mike said...

Beatiful Ruth. I envision that as how church is supposed to be. Also, the benefit of having a new pair of eyes and a new set of experiences has allowed me to see scripture in a completely different way that I have.

wanting more said...

Ruth...I share your timidity. I can remember this time (and I wince) when I was in junior high, and we were at this retreat...I was one of the only kids who was raised in the church, and there came a moment when they did the infamous alter call. So, a friend of mine from school went up, and afterwards, I was pressured into talking to her about Christ. I had no clue what to say to her...and I think if we ever saw each other to this day, she would still think I'm a freak. It was so awkward, and fake and rediculous and it has forever effected my ability to talk about my faith. I mean, with someone who was not raised in the church and is familiar with the christianese I am. Lately I am having a hard time refering to God as "The Lord," which used to be my biggest christian vocabulary word. Now, it just sounds funny., this being actually relevant to your post. I love Desperate Housewives, and I missed this episode! I share your feelings though, and am seeing more of this in film/on TV, etc... or maybe I'm just beginning to notice God speaking in ways that are not so near and dear to the evangelical church lately.

Delirious said...

I do think that your blog is like that elusive front porch. ;)

Ruth said...

Kari - I know you know what I'm talking about here because my line of thinking started when I read your "sinners prayer" post. I totally related but I didn't leave a comment because I didn't have the words to express it.

I think the Lord is showing me that the way we share our faith doesn't have to look the same way. I don't knock others who use those tools, it's just not me.

Delirious - thank you for saying that - I do want to have an inviting little spot here where people are welcome and quality discussions happen.

Nate said...

Hey Ruth,
I think that sitting on the porch, and just being there is more of what the real church is supposed to be like anyway. And reading this post made me realize something. Many times I wonder at where God has me. I am a resatuarant manager, and was recently transferred from one restaurant to another. When leaving, many people said to me that they would miss sharing their problems with me, because I helped them so much with my advice. I had no clue I was doing that. But it is helping people in a way that I never thought I would. God's doing, not mine.

Also, as my faith, and the faith of my wife grows, my surroundings are beginning to show my faith. We went from a sterile unchristian environment, to one where little sayings are in the wall, and bibles and bible studies are through out the house. Anyone who walked through would know who we are. I would not have been that comfortable with that just 3 years ago. But, it is nice that people know that about us, just by how we are.

dustin said...

I didn't watch the episode, but it sounded drastically different than what the show comes across as. I have to say that I would feel much more comfortable in a church that allowed questions than one that didn't. I have been in services where that has happened, and the church completely embraced it. Obviously you wouldn't want it all the time, but don't you think that is what happened when Jesus taught people? I mean you read constantly that Jesus was talking and someone would ask a question and he would turn that direction to respond.

Anyway, thanks for posting.

e.mel said...

Thank you for sharing this. I can totally relate, even though I didn't watch the show :)

And, yes, you are welcome to post my blog on yours (how do I post yours on mine???) so we can connect to eachother :)

Ruth said...

Hey Dustin - Welcome!!! It's always great to see a new face around here.

You are right about Jesus responding to questions. It was like he created an atmosphere that invited questions. I mean, we can't always have a question and answer period. A worship service is really not meant for questions. But what Bree really meant was that you shouldn't ever ask questions. You should just accept what was taught and don't rock the boat. It's one of those unwritten rules.

I feel that often, Christian environments oppress questions and produce pat answers. And it's not always the fault of the leadership. It's through our own fear of man and passivity that we won't break through the norm and throw out the question that's on everyone's mind. It's just so oppressive, you can cut it with a knife!! Does anyone relate to what I'm talking about??? "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom".

Mike and Nate - both of you have said this is how you envision church to be. I agree but what element of it are you talking about? Does it have to do with allowing an atmosphere of honest discussion?

Nate - your story reminded me of the scripture that says the Kingdom of God is like yeast. It sounds like you are just living a fruitful life and your yeast is touching the lives of others. It's not put on or contrived. That's really awesome!!

Ruth said...

Hi E. - It's great to hear from you and welcome to blogging! I would love to introduce you to all my great blogging friends so I will put a link up. I'm due for some housekeeping on my sight.

I just checked your site out and it looks like you have been doing some technical exploration and figured out the link thing. I like your Shelfari.

Livingsword said...

Hi Ruth;

I’ll be back later to comment on this article, just letting you know that I have tagged you:

Nate said...

The church I am envisioning is just a community of people that either know one another, help one another out. Eat over at one another's house, just be a group of friends, that all happen to follow God. Sometimes they discuss Him, sometimes, they just get together to have fun. But all in all, it is about God and drawering nearer to him, than anything else.

Happy said...

Hey, Ruth! You need to duck back over to Something Else and vote on the noun for your adjective for apples to apples! I'm dying for round 3 because I've got a great adjective... :)

One Voice of Many said...

Hey Ruth -
I've tagged you for a meme :-)


jennyhope said...

Praying that God will give you great boldness and open doors of opportunity for you to share the gospel!