alyssacogswell

Rebel. Wife. Millennial. Walker of the Way. News and TV junkie.

Category: Christianity

Sestrahood.

orphan-black-finale-review-season-5-episode-10

Orphan Black, BBC America

Great stories are those which focus on the pure essence of its characters- not their sexual orientation or past mistakes or race or gender, but the heart of who they are and how they deal with the situation they’ve been placed in. In Orphan Black, we saw all of these different yet genetically-identical, beautiful women come together under one banner for one cause to aim for one result: Freedom. Freedom of their bodies, their lives, their families. I want to digress here to talk about how this is an example and image of the Church. I guess between that and Dunkirk, we’ve seen good images in secular places for reflections of the Christian Ideal. All kind of people putting aside their personal preferences to work together for one goal. This is special, rare, beautiful and the mysterious purpose for human kind. For men, it’s best exemplified by the military. For women, it’s best exemplified in sisterhood.

In the sisterhood of Sarah, Cosima, Allison, Helena, Beth, and even Rachel and Krystal, we see blind trust: We have this one thing in common, so we have to trust one another because it is our highest priority. We only have one chance to do this thing. This kind if trust is so hard to give, to relinquish, but it is essential. This is also something missing from the Church. Many of us are skeptical of each other: Are you sincere? Do you really love God or are you here just to look good? Do you actually care about the least of these? We all have our past scars and doubts. For me, they sound like ‘How can I know your teaching is sound? Do you just want to sell me something? Yes, we are people of Joy, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like sunshine at all times. This facade makes me not trust you, because I can sense your pain just under the surface and your unwillingness to be open about it.’

How do we go forward in blind trust and deal with our doubts about others? Lord knows, the Sestras have their own issues but the best thing they do for each other during these times is to love one another. That looks like giving space to sort through things and then prodding with gentle questions to call Truth out on the carpet. They are good enough friends to be comfortable with conflict, having faith they will still be close at the end of the day. This is how we should behave in the Church: Give people time to work things out with god, but be willing to gently address them in love.

None of the women see another as a threat. They appreciate each other’s strengths, interests, and stories. What if I did this? What if I felt confident enough in my own worth to not feel threatened by others? What if I started loving and appreciating relentlessly? Why do I feel like my importance in the Church hinges on how good I am at creative pursuits, how OMG-friendly I am, how popular I can get with the right friends? God’s house is ever-expanding with room and importance for everyone. We are all on the same level with no room to outshine anyone else. We are the most free to be ourselves here. Let’s make it the same way for everyone else.

I love Orphan Black because of how it has empowered me. I have seen women band together and kick the system’s ass and use that victory to help others like them. I have seen women who were hard or not touchy-feely (like myself) unapologetically love one another, support each other, be vulnerable in a way that I hunger for. I have seen true sacrifice from all of the women on the show and the sacrifice has paid off for the betterment of them all. I feel like now I can dress how my punk soul desires, take no bull, be fearless and still love others and be kind. It’s okay to be hard or cool as long as I am genuine and show my supportive nature and willingness to help others. It is okay to not fit the stereotypical, happy-clappy, “I just LOOOOOVE Jesus and my life is perfect!” image women in the Church are portrayed to have. I can be cerebral like Cosima, introverted like Sarah and still be loved and appreciated. I can be wild like Helena and be infinitely cherished. I can be eccentric like Allison and be valued as much as everyone else. And I can be a driven business woman like Rachel and still be accepted. This is my dream for the Church.

What if We Never Looked at Clocks?

What if never, not at one single time in the day, did we look at clocks? What if the thought of “time” never crossed our minds, never made us hurry? Would we be more content in the present? Would our minds constantly be busy, thinking about to do lists? Or would we be more apt to sit and think. Would we know what we had to do, but simply do it when we got to it?

What if we just lived contented, right in the precise moment we are. We are. Think about that. We are. Full stop. Sentence completed. The only time we truly have is this moment, right now. The breath in, breath out. And we go again; in, out. We had another moment. Was it a good one? Did you make the right decisions? Did you make the most of that moment, that breath?

The thing about breath is that it unites us. Argon, an element in the atmosphere, is not used for our bodily processes, so we breathe it in and breathe it right back out. The same air we breathe today has particles which the past has been breathed; breathed by Gandhi, George Washington, Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Plato, Socrates, the first humans. We are all connected in this one breath. And when I think and realize how many people have breathed this same breath before me, I freeze.

God is I AM. That is all; His name needs no more clarification than He is present. He is timeless, because He is always I AM, not I WAS or I MAY BE. But His character has been defined as one ageless, unchanging entity. And time, these moments, these breaths, are small glimpses of God, to show that He is always with us in the time. This concept is so large, that I cannot even grasp the minute part I wish too. But I do realize that even in this gift, God is physical. God gives us the physical particles of the air to be the same ones his Son breathed while on Earth, while being with us for a time. And in this, also encapsulates one of His other names: Immanuel, God with us.

What more could we need to show that God is always with us. He is with us because He is outside of time. He is with us as His names claim. He is even with us in the air we breathe.

The Holy Spirit Is.

The Holy Spirit is…what pulls the Sun up from the East every morning.
The Holy Spirit is…what awakens trees out of their winter slumber and into the rebirth of Spring.
The Holy Spirit is…what makes the creek bubble with joy.
The Holy Spirit is…what creates the rainbow in a prism of clouds.

The Holy Spirit is also…what illuminates the Son for us, so that we can better see Him.
The Holy Spirit is also…what persuades us to do good.
The Holy Spirit is also…what whispers to us when we are in the desert places.
The Holy Spirit is also…our water to drink.

The Holy Spirit is…Immanuel, God moving among His people.
The Holy Spirit is…Christ on Earth.
The Holy Spirit is…what connects and moves us all as the Body.
For this Spirit is what makes this Body move and breathe: alive.

Why Pope Francis is a Paragon.

Ever since he assumed the post of Bishop of Rome last spring, the world has been enthralled with Pope Francis. The press follows his every move, showing a man who truly follows what he believes.

 

Have we seen a Pope like him in recent history? Who was the last Pope to love on people like he does? Why are we so fascinated with him?

 

My friends, we all probably know why we are fascinated with him, but have we looked deeper?

 

On Monday, the Pope stopped his motorcade to see and love on a disabled woman, who cannot breathe on her own, much less travel far from home. One friend of the family was quoted as saying, ““Today we can say that Christ stopped in Sibari in the vestments of Pope Francis.”

 

As Christians, we know the passages where Jesus says “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have also done it for me”, “Let the children come to me,” and  to “Love one another as I have loved you.” At the risk of repeating thoughts which have already been said dozens, if not hundreds and thousands of times, do we live this out? Would people say of us, in our everyday lives which is our mission field, “Today I can say that I saw Christ in the person of _____”? There have always been examples of Christ’s love, Christ’s compassion, and behavior a true Christ-follower should have. But for my generation, the generation of Millennials, Pope Francis is the most visible, internationally known example we have. And I think we are being moved by his example.

 

Huffington Post has a slideshow at the end of the article about Francis stopping to see the disabled woman about different times when the Pope has shown Christlike behavior. There are many moments in the slideshow where he is doing things I frankly would be afraid to do. In one shot, he is praying over a man with bubble-like tumors on his head. He accepts and even encourages children to interact with him. He has taken a vow of poverty (as much “poverty” as a Pope can realistically live within as an international, visible figure). He loves gay people, and says who is he to judge. He desires for the poor to have opportunities to make a better living and for the selfish rich to give their money away, to make things fairer for all workers.

 

The Catholic Church did a wise thing in electing Francis pope. All of these concerns, about gay people, about fair working environments and markets, about looking for people who really live out their faith, especially faith in Christ, are addressed and assuaged in this one man. We are a generation of cynics, crying out for someone to show us authenticity, to show us that peace is possible, to show us that living like Christ can be a daily lifestyle, not just something we are free to do in a foreign country. Our hearts and spirits are broken, because in most of the Western world at least, those who proclaim Christianity are for things that are anti-Christ. Many are for Capitalism while, yes fair markets are good and choice is good and being able to start businesses on your own is good, it does not look out for the worker, who is also the consumer. Capitalism is, in fact, a form of slavery in both literal and metaphorical terms. But more on that at a different time.

 

Pope Francis motivates me, my husband, and many others I know to live more like Christ. To truly live more like Christ. We are all busy, and in that busyness we get tired, worn down, and selfish. We must, must, take time to rest. Take time in the Gospel. Take time to think about the small simple things, so that we can see Christ and God’s Grace in the everyday.

 

To be a Christian is truly to be a rebel. Christ himself was a rebel in his society. Even if we live in a “Christian” society, acting like Christ is still different and noteworthy; why else do we pay so much attention to the Pope?

 

Don’t be afraid to be a rebel. Don’t be afraid to step out and do the unordinary thing. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Loving on people is perhaps the scariest thing one can do, because we must be vulnerable and gentle; the exact opposite of how we are usually shown to live life. It’s okay to be afraid. He will go with you. Have faith.