Tainted Saints

And in line with my last post on bologna,I'd like to remind everyone that those lovely stained-glass pictures we carry in our churches and in our hearts are also a little bit of bologna.

One of my biggest concerns about church is that we go there trying to make ourselves look as much like stained glass as we can. Everyone's ironed. Everyone's doing fine, the kids are great, the job is good.

And if it really is, then by all means: Thanks be to God!

But most of the time, it isn't. Most of the time, we're struggling a little. Wouldn't it be helpful if we were more aware that the saints struggled too? For those of us who are familiar with the Bible, this might seem obvious. But a lot of our congregations aren't very scripturally literate, and we ALL need the reminder that God uses those who aren't perfect. God uses those who do crazy, ridiculous things. (This really is a cue for a hearty, "Thanks be to God!").

Our friend gracie (can I call you that? I should have asked permission before now, I've been doing it for a while...) is thinking about the purpose of sermons over at her place. Today I'm wondering if it might be helpful just to linger in the stories for a while. We've been theology-heavy, and I think the congregation is drawn to that (we're a highly educated group, generally feeling more comfortable with our heads than our hearts). Our congregation prides itself on a priest who gives smart sermons, but I'm not sure we need smart. We might need real.

And those glossy saints in our windows? They're not real. Peter would laugh (possibly at an inappropriate point in the sermon) if he could see how we're whitewashing him. Even Mary, whom I'm wild about-- she might have nagged a bit. Odds are not at all good that she was all sweetness and light.

We should start using the title "saint" for each other. We are, after all. Miriam-Webster assures me that the moniker is not reserved for those who have passed away. We could start using it when we really need to be reminded that we're the beloved of God. I can see it now:

when the kids track mud in the house:
Could you please get the mop, St. Annie?

when someone can't find The Important File:
Have you tried looking on the S: Drive, St. Linda

Sounds funny, but it's the truth of sainthood. The kingdom of God is a big ol' mess. I pray we can respect the sanctity of the shambles.

Peace and blessings to you,
St. M


  1. We are struggling a little? A little?? I will trade mine for a little!

    I wrote a piece about Mary and Joseph figting. I can dig it up if you would like. Email me and I can send you the link.

    Love this and I totally get it.

  2. Mrs. M (or, rather St. M)

    These last two posts were exactly what I need to read right now. You brought tears ot my eyes.

    Bless you,
    St. Iris

  3. This is an interesting take on things, I have no tact personally so I would tell you if something was wrong.
    I write like I talk, just to meet you , I will be by again.

  4. you are so right, Mrs. M! We don't have stained glass windows like the old fashioned ones in our church any more, but you made me think about the one I found on line. All the saints and holy people with the haloes. It's endearing.... but....

    thinking about an open thread on preaching sometime, I would love to hear people say what they need a good sermon to be.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins