But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3
I feel bullied. There…I said it. I feel like I have been walking around with my head down and my arms up over my head…you know…to ward off the blows. And I’m tired of it.
What have I done to deserve to be called a “hater”, a “bigot”? What have I done to deserve to be accused of kicking people out of the church? Do others really think that I hate people? Or that I want to destroy the UMC? Are there really some people who think that I don’t know how to love people…all people? Really…am I intolerant? Am I ignorant? I…Cathy Holley…lover of the underdog…pastor at the battle front…meddler of the mess?
For the last two weeks…yes, since General Conference 2019…I have felt bullied. Now I know this will ruffle feathers…after all I’m not the one being excluded from the church…I’m not the one being told God doesn’t love me. Whatever. But…allow me to define “bully”: to seek to harm; to intimidate; to browbeat. Ah, especially that last one…browbeat. Thus, the raised arms above my head. Just stop…please…
So what…I supported The Traditional Plan. Why does that mean that I don’t know how to love people? I minister to people who are perhaps more broken than most…addicts, those living on the edge. It doesn’t matter what their race, gender, or sexual identity is. Jesus draws them here…I love them where they are. My motto is “Life is messy.” So I do what I can to offer life support…and the Ultimate Life Support is Jesus. He is the One able and willing to come in and clean up the mess…anyone’s mess. I believe this with all that I am: that we all have mess…sin…that needs to be cleaned up…and this is the start of transformation. I know…I have been transformed…I needed to be transformed…and Jesus is the Way of transformation. No apologies for believing this. It is the Truth that gave me new life…abundant life.
I have done my best to not vilify those who didn’t agree with me. I have ministry partners who don’t share my beliefs, but I have chosen to love, respect, and accept them and to continue to do Kingdom service with them. Even so, I have always tried to be true to the Word of God as best as I can. I’m not perfect…far from it…I sin way too much for my own good, of that I am sure. I certainly, however, keep striving for holiness, relying on the Holy Spirit and God’s incredible grace to keep moving forward onto perfection.
So yes, I am weary of being bullied. I am weary of feeling that my beliefs are somehow “less.” I am weary of battling this. all. the. time. I say that, knowing that the battle isn’t close to being over. But I have made a choice…to run to my Lord…my shield…my glory…the lifter of my head. So with my head lifted up, my arms down…I walk forward, trusting the Lord…serving Him…and loving His people. Please join me.