Let me be careful in introducing this content. I DO think it is useful and healthy for us human beings to be reflexive, responsible and have an intention toward better ways of being. There are times I am abusive, neglectful or “off task” with my vocation into transformed humanity and relationships. There is privilege which cushions me from consequences and blinds me to my failures to enter into Godness. There is my inability to distangle myself (and my choices) from oppressive economic and political systems and my investment in them. Nothing that follows should be read as implying that I am perfect or have nothing to repent from.
But as a woman, a lay person, a flaming queer, a dole bludger, a single mother, a nutcase, a feminist, a tree-hugger, a feral radical (etc, etc, etc) I have often been conned into having a deficit view of myself, positioned as a “sinner” within my identity (in terms of faith or just in terms of society). I am ashamed to say I have often cringed and hated myself and felt genuine remorse about things that either were NOT SINS or that I had little or no control and choice over. So let me begin a non-penitential rite and I hope any of you that have shouldered guilt that does not belong to you will be able to do the same.
This confession then is not a “sorry” statement, far from it. It is a bursting out of the closet statement (or in biblical terms bursting out from under a bushel-Matt 5:15). I am sure I will have ample time on some other occasion to dwell on my genuine sinfulness.
that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (psalm 139:14),
that and any “fear” in it does not belong to God.
Love, the Creator and Love the Master Workman collaborated to plan and bring me forth (Proverbs 8:30),
and Love the Midwife caught and checked me over (see eg Isaiah 66:9 but God is about this profession several times)
I am made in the image of all three- Love and Love and Love
and so I am called to grow into my nature (Love),
and to find my destiny (Love) and to embody the reality of my being (Love).
I can claim this in so far as I live with respect for my sisters and brothers, human and non-human -earth, sun. stars, ocean, flame, music, animals, plants, ozone layer, galaxies and all there is, was or may be.
Coming together as God’s family, let us recognise the Divine plan that we should be diversely beautiful, powerful and social agents. Let us not insult the creativity of Godde by hating what we are.
And so I confess that I am not sorry
for having conceived children out of wedlock (and having unlocked wedlock and got away)
for “impure” thoughts that are respectful of boundaries and the safety of all parties,
for being a lesbian (and for finding this out the hard way- which was neither my choice nor my fault)
for being angry at times
for responding to authority at times with questioning, disobedience, anger, ridicule and activism
for being too tired to be a better activist,
for being a shy and underachieving person
for using too many words and failing to remain silent,
for loving my children more than I love anyone or anything else (beyond all reason),
for loving myself enough to sometimes say “no” to others, even my own children,
for being slow to learn and understand- because for some things teachers were scarce,
for anything I did as a child, when I was too small, scared, inexperienced and vulnerable to do better
for having depression,
for being broken and needing help again and again,
for taking charity when it was available,
for not always being able to pay for things,
for not being able to afford every advantage for my children,
for attempting suicide, and for sadly understanding the logical reasons why others have done this and weeping more for the fact they needed to try than for the fact they succeeded,
for not being “better” than I am, and not always being interested in taking advice on how to be.
All the peculiarities and weaknesses of who I am, will grow into compassion and wisdom through the grace of God. I am called to heal, support, affirm and challenge others around me. Like a newborn baby I will crave and demand sustenance for God for my growth (1 Peter 2:2-3) and She will always feed me for fullness of life. Amen
Feel free to tell me in the comments things that you are not sorry for (that perhaps you were taught to see as sin but have realised are not in the real sense of the word).