Pregnancy, birth, and a new kind of Christianity …

Because the image of pregnancy is so important in my upcoming book, a friend (thanks, BC!) suggested we invite the world’s true experts on the subject to share their reflections. Some beautiful replies have already come in.
These thoughts seem especially relevant in the days leading up to Christmas, as we remember a very-pregnant Mary journeying to Bethlehem to give birth.
Kathi Warmelink offers this …

In the end, it involved trust and surrender in order for the process to evolve and complete.
I remember 2 very contradictory and real thoughts going through my mind at 2 separate moments during the birth. The first was “I don’t think I can do this!” The pain and overwhelming intensity of the contractions were more than I thought I could endure. But I did. My baby was born and then came my second thought, “I can’t wait to do that again!” There is something so euphoric, so joy-filled, so completely indescribable about the work involved in bringing forth life and then being able to simply revel in that life.

She then tells the story of walking out of a church service when one-too-many pat answers was given, launching her into a time of questioning:

I became pregnant. Pregnant with a longing to understand what living out my faith really looked like. Pregnant with a longing for an holistic spiritual experience.
I began to devour information. Information on the life and culture of Jesus, on living intentionally, on social justice, on war, on resisting the empire and its culture, on interfaith dialogue, and on why these issues are so important to Jesus. And I began to realize, as Phylis Tickle describes it, a Great Emergence is taking place within the church, and why it must.
As I began to share some of these things, I found a new community that embraced an open conversation. I also met others who resisted this idea of a faith that evolves and ebbs as it grows and transforms. I kind of feel like I am continually going through periods that feel like labor – those times where I think, “I can’t possibly do this anymore”. The scrutiny is too hard. Being misunderstood is so painful. And then I find myself giving birth to this new idea, this new life, this new kind of Christianity. A Christianity that defines itself most by love, and less and less by having all the right answers. A Christianity where I am reminded that I, too, must hold my hands open in love, rather than clenched in defensiveness. I am finding that in all of life, the things that bring me the most joy, the most fulfillment, almost always follow a period of intense wrestling, soul searching, doubt, despair. Labor.

Amen, Kathi. (Please read her whole post here …)
More responses to come in the days ahead.