i have to give credit where credit is due,and i got the seeds for this idea from my good friend jim palmer, the author of "divine nobodies." the idea, at first, was to "stand before God" 100% "unzipped," naked if you will - but i have been praying over this for a number of weeks and i have to say, i just and not on board with this idea of having to stand before God "unzipped" - the reason is, it sounds like a christian sales job - let me explain.

one of the things we tend to do as "christians" is we try hard to develop catchy little slogans and then try to place some kind of twisted theology into it so we can "sell" the package to the public. take, for example, the idea that "God Loves You." simple, basic and true, so we "sell" it as our slogan - tell the world, "God Loves You" - well, let's be honest this is the biggest load of garbage we can sell anyone - God loves everyone, no matter what - so our faith is not based on knowing how much "God Loves You;" it is based on How Much Do You Love God. we like the "easy sell" slogans because we think they make us a "better christian" but they do not, they just make us cheap.

so, when i started to think about this idea of "standing before God unzipped" i realized that it was the same thing - i do not need to stand before God unzipped, no one needs to stand before God "unzipped." God sees us naked as we are, God knows all the parts of our life and all the problems we live with - so, to "stand before God unzipped" seems silly. but, when you think of standing before yourself and your community of faith unzipped, naked, the idea takes on a whole different meaning.

you see, God is not asking us to stand before him unzipped, but he is asking us to do so before yourself and others, our community of faith, unzipped and open. think of it this way, if you can not stand with your community of faith and share your most horrid secrets, your most inner feelings, every hurt you have had and how you honestly feel at any given time - then that community is not worth living in and if you can not express your heart to others, you are never honest enough with yourself to matter. the idea of being so honest, so open, so accepting of others is scary to must people, but it should not be to those of us who follow christ.

to stand unzipped before your mirror and in community is a way we can process our lives and open our expressions of faith to the world around us. to be unzipped before self, before others, before those closest to you, those who are your family in christ is exciting and scary. but i think it is the best thing we can do; it allows us to heal and to express love, forgiveness and grace. now, i am still in process with this, and i think i have been very open about my life and my hurts over the past - just look back at the archives - but i desire strongly to keep being unzipped before self, before all, to be myself and express my life in ways where healing can happen and faith can be found.

what i have found most interesting is that over time,and i believe so many others have the same reality, that when ever our lives are at a point of being hurt, being opened, when we are having our scabs picked and our stitches ripped out - what we have experienced is a community of faith that hurt us when we stood unzipped before them - so we turn and run the other way when it comes time to even think of opening ourselves to experience such pain again - i know, i have been there. but i believe we can never truly express ourselves as humans in need of healing unless we are unzipped before self and others.

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