Grace, Debt and Forgiveness

I’m a bankruptcy lawyer, and I practice in the Bible belt. That isn’t really a fair statement. Practicing law isn’t really what I do. It is who I am. In the words of Micah I am called to seek justice.  Although, I can’t tell you how many times I have been grateful that I’m called to “seek” justice – not necessarily to find it.

Still, when Rachel Held Evans sent out a call for volunteers to help launch her latest book, Searching for Sunday, I volunteered. Rachel’s books are about finding grace in the midst of condemnation and hope flying in the face of everything you thought you knew – and my clients need that.

He remembered that what makes the gospel offensive isn’t who it keeps out, but who it lets in. Nothing could prevent the eunuch from being baptized, for the mountains of obstruction had been plowed down, the rocky hills had been made smooth, and God had cleared a path. There was holy water everywhere.  Searching for Sunday.

My clients need to be reminded that bankruptcy was God’s invention. If you don’t believe me, try reading Leviticus. Then, over the course of a Testament and a millennium or so (give or take) he refined this concept of forgiveness until it became a concept called grace. The sad thing is that the clients who most need to hear this are the very clients who wind up in my office because they insisted on taking care of their children instead of paying their credit cards – or, to quote Rachel:

I became a stranger to the busy, avuncular God who arranged parking spaces for my friends and took prayer requests for weather and election outcomes while leaving thirty thousand children to die each day from preventable disease.  Searching for Sunday. 

I spent a long time trying to come up with a way to elegantly tie a post about this book with my usual law office centric kind of stuff. I gave up. If you are here reading this, you need to hear about acceptance and grace and questions and doubt and love and belonging and grace and forgiveness.

An African American man in a wheelchair followed and brought the house down when he approached the mic, waited a moment, and declared, “I’m black. I’m disabled. I’m gay. And I live in Mississippi. What was God thinking?”  Searching for Sunday. 

Rachel Held Evans has documented her journey from an evangelical, I’ve got all the answers, unquestioning faith to what I consider to be a more mature faith. This book is the second half of that journey, and in this book, she is trying to get her head around the concept of sacraments and at the same time find a church community that resonates with the answers she is looking for.

The church is God saying: “I’m throwing a banquet, and all these mismatched, messed-up people are invited. Here, have some wine.”  Searching for Sunday.

Her answers aren’t my answers, and they won’t be your answers. The questions and the journey, though, are universal.

All we have is this church—this lousy, screwed-up, glorious church—which, by God’s grace, is enough.  Searching for Sunday. 

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church, by Rachel held Evans.  (That is an Amazon link, but it is not an affiliate link.  I was given an advance copy of the book for review purposes.)


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