Jealousy by mail

I was super stoked about my postcard from a person who is a member of an online group I belong to.  It was a surprise – we’d not been in communication.  There is a file where group members can share their addresses if they would like to get mail, so I left mine.  (I’ve covered up our addresses here with cough drops).

I thought it was really cute and inventive. The postcard has washi tape with botanical images on it, and rubber stamp markings. There is also a tiny envelope! How creative!


This is what was inside.


The cleverly designed thing folds out into a strip with washi tape with constellations on it.


…but now I feel left out because of all that this person got.  She posted it on the group page and tagged her, so I know it is from her.


…and here is a picture from another person – more stuff that she got from this member.


Both say it was a surprise – that they weren’t already friends with her.

I’m really jealous.

Which is a terrible thing to feel because it wasn’t like she promised me anything at all.  I should be grateful, but in comparison to the other people’s mail, I feel sad and jealous.  And I hate feeling like that.

They had no way of knowing that there was any inequality.  But I’m sure there are others in the group who didn’t get a letter and they are wondering “why not me?”

It is something I wrestle with on my personal page.  Do I share pictures of a party I went to where some friends weren’t invited? They will know they were left out.

I remember in school we were told to bring enough (of whatever) for the rest of the class – or don’t bring it to share at all. We had to include everyone.

I hate it when my friends invite people in a shared group to go to a new restaurant or experience, and don’t invite me.  I know they didn’t invite me because they either don’t tag me on the invite – which I can see because I am friends with them, or because they post pictures of the “good times with good friends”, and I wasn’t there.

I hate it.  And it keeps happening. It happened all the time with the SCA “household” I was a part of. It is part of why I finally left. It made no sense for the head of the household to question why I wasn’t hanging out with the others. He implied that my husband was controlling me, that there was something ugly going on. Yes, there was something ugly going on. The head – and his wife – and other members of the household – didn’t invite me to these gatherings. Over and over and over. How could I hang out with them if they didn’t let me know? I was especially hurt when they decided to take a jewelry making class together and didn’t invite me – knowing that was one of my interests. But to then think that I wasn’t social with them because I was in an abusive relationship? Insane.  

And last night I’d finally had it and cried big ugly tears and I still don’t feel better about it.

Social media isn’t social sometimes.  Sometimes it just lets you know how much you are missing out on.  It feels like bullying.

Think before you post. Think about the feelings that will get hurt. Think about who you are excluding. You don’t have to share everything.

Do I invite everyone to events? No. But I’m discrete about it. You don’t have to invite a whole group to some happening. You may not want a large group. You may like certain people in the group more. But be mindful that you don’t let the people who were left out know that they were left out.

Now, I can’t control if other people who were invited tell them inadvertently and thoughtlessly. But I try to do my part.

This message is for many, but not all.

There is something that I came across in the Gospels that doesn’t make sense. Is Jesus for everybody, or just some people? Is his message for everyone, or just a select group? Did he come for all, or a few?

At times, Jesus seems to be misdirecting people. He had just given the parable of the sower. It is here –

Matt. 13:1-9
On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3 Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. 4 As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep.6 But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. 7 Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. 8 Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown. 9 Anyone who has ears should listen!”

But his disciples – those people who he handpicked to help him and to spread His words, are confused. They wonder why He is using parables.

Matt. 13:10-15
10 Then the disciples came up and asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. 12 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.13 For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You will listen and listen,
yet never understand;
and you will look and look,
yet never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown callous;
their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn back—
and I would cure them.

This seems to not be inclusive at all, and in fact excludes some people. Aren’t all supposed to be cured? Isn’t the message for all?

He explains this parable to His disciples later –

Matt. 13:18-23
18 “You, then, listen to the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. 20 And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.”

Then He tells another parable. This one is one about sowing seed as well.

Matt. 13:24-30
24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this!’ he told them.
“‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ the slaves asked him.
29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.’”

His disciples still don’t get it. They’ve been given the template for understanding one of the parables, but they can’t make it fit for this one.

Matt. 13:36-43
36 Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.”
37 He replied: “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!

If his disciples can’t get it, even after having it explained to them, then what is the chance of anybody else understanding it? He used parables all the time, and explained them later. Sadly, those explanations aren’t recorded. Why? To further hide the message?

Mark 4:33-34
33 He would speak the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand.34 And He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, He would explain everything to His own disciples.

Matt. 13:34-35
34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and He would not speak anything to them without a parable, 35 so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
I will open My mouth in parables;
I will declare things kept secret
from the foundation of the world.

Now, from this next verse, it seems that Jesus chooses who knows Him, and through Him, God the Father.

Matt. 11:25-27
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. 27 All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.

Then, during the Last Supper, Jesus says something really interesting. In Matthew and Mark he says it is for “many” – not all. In Luke, he just says it is “for you.” The Last Supper is not in the Gospel of John.

Matt. 26:26-28
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.” 27 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14:22-24
22 As they were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.”
23 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, and so they all drank from it.24 He said to them, “This is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many.

Note that in this Gospel he doesn’t say “for the forgiveness of sins.”

Then lastly, we have –

Luke 22:19-20
19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

So, if Jesus’ message and sacrifice isn’t for everybody, then why do Christians get so upset about people not being Christian? From these verses it appears that it means that they haven’t been called to hear the message or be part of the new covenant. If so, then it isn’t for Christians to push the point. Sure – tell people about who Jesus is.


If they get it, then they were meant to. If they don’t, then it means they weren’t meant to.

This approach seems to me to be the most Christ-like of all. Don’t push. Let people approach you. Jesus never pushed His agenda on anybody. Neither should we.

(All Bible quotes come from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, using the Bible Gateway website.)

Jesus in a box.

They’ve locked up Jesus.

This isn’t just symbolic. It’s for real, on so many levels.

Look at this.


For those people who weren’t raised in a Christian tradition that does this, I’ll explain. This is a box for the reserved sacrament. This is the extra Communion wafers and/or wine. They have extra so that people who take Communion to homebound church members have something that has been blessed by the minister.

They put it in a special box after it has been blessed because they honestly feel that the bread and the wine actually become the body and the blood of Jesus. Literally. Yeah, I know. Kind of creepy, but there you go.

Now, the box has a lock on it, so not just anybody can get to it.


These are the same people who put limits on who can take communion. You need to be a member of that denomination or at least baptized as a Christian. They don’t quite get that Jesus didn’t make any such rules.

Jesus is available to all, for free, everywhere and at all times. He isn’t limited or locked up.

The reason they control access is because they want to control Jesus. They think they have some sort of exclusive arrangement with Jesus, that they are “in.” They don’t get that when they start putting limits on who is worthy of receiving Jesus, they aren’t “in” at all. They are as far out as possible. They haven’t gotten the message that Jesus makes everybody equal. With Jesus, everybody is in.

Maybe they are afraid of that. Maybe they fear that if they let “those people” in, whoever they are defined as that week, then that will take away from their own worth. Like the only thing that makes them special is that they make others not special by excluding them.

But this isn’t Jesus. It isn’t who he is. You can’t put limits or locks on Jesus, because he’s so much bigger than that. Death couldn’t stop him. Neither can silly rules.

Imagine their surprise when they realize that Jesus isn’t in the box at all. He never was. He’s out, in the world, in disguise as a shoe repairman, or as a car mechanic, or as a teacher, or as a lawyer. Jesus is hiding in plain sight in every single person who has made a space for Him in their hearts. Jesus is here, right now, with us.

How’s that for thinking outside of the box? There is no box. Jesus is the ultimate escape artist.

On communion for non-baptized people.

I was talking to a friend a few months back and I decided to mention that I’m opposed to people having to be baptized before they get communion.

To say he was opposed to my idea is putting it mildly. He strongly feels that people must be baptized before they get communion, and anything less is fraud. He got a little hostile in his response, and very defensive.

He compared it to when his sister got a mail order ministry certificate and a journalist press pass. She didn’t go to school for these things, so she is saying she is something she isn’t in his opinion. To him, to take communion without being baptized is to say that you are a Christian when you aren’t.

Who would be hurt by a non baptized person taking communion? Who is defrauded? What would be taken away from a person who was baptized if a non-baptized person took communion? And what is the definition of “Christian” – someone who has had the sacraments, or someone who acts in the manner of Jesus?

He got really angry about this topic. I’m starting to learn that anger is a sign of fear, and of a sign of feeling a lack of control.

I wonder what he was so afraid of. I wonder why he feels a need to control who gets communion. Perhaps one day I’ll ask. Perhaps one day I’ll be brave. I’m not sure how to explain my view on this so I’m still working it out. It has taken me several months of working on this to get to this point. I probably have more to say on this subject later.

Baptism is a public declaration of membership into the Body of Christ. Communion is remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made and it is reuniting with him, so that he abides in us, and we in him. It is reuniting to the vine, as we are the branches and we cannot bear fruit if we are not connected to the life-giving vine.

If people can be baptized as infants – this decision is made for them – then why do others have to be baptized to take communion? Baptism is a passive action in denominations that allow infant baptism. Communion is active – you have to intentionally do it. It is something that can’t be done to you or for you. I feel like the very act of wanting to take communion means that you were called to it.

There is a Christian author I like who is named Sara Miles. Her parents are atheists and she was raised to be highly skeptical of organized religion. Sara decided to walk into the church near her house one Sunday. She went in, participated in the service, and when it was time to take communion, she did so. This was a church where you have to get up to go get communion – it wasn’t one where the plate comes by you while you sit in your pew. You have to make an effort. She felt called to take part in this sacrament.

When she took the bread and the wine, she got “it”. She got it harder than people who have been raised in the church. She got it harder than most people who go every week. She met Jesus there at that altar rail, and started a food bank. She realized that it is all about feeding people, about taking care of people. That it is all about love and healing and compassion. Nobody is turned away, and nobody has to “prove” that they are poor. Anybody who wants food gets it, and it is real food, not canned.

Here’s the point. She wasn’t baptized. She continued to go to church for a year before she decided to get baptized.

What if the minister had said beforehand – by the way, you have to be baptized to get this? She most likely would have stayed in her pew, feeling like an outsider. She wouldn’t have had that conversion experience. The food bank wouldn’t have started.

Part of the reason you have to be not only baptized but Catholic to get communion at a Catholic church is the idea of transubstantiation. Transubstantiation means that you believe that the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus. The problem is that the majority of Catholics don’t even understand this or believe this – but they still get to take communion.

But forget it if you are from another denomination. I wrote a local Catholic church once and asked if I (at the time an Episcopalian) could take communion there. I was sent a link that explained that because of “the sad divisions” in the Body of Christ, only Catholics could take communion at a Catholic church. The part that drives me up the wall about this is that it is because of rules like this that we have “sad divisions.” Get rid of the rule and stop being sad.

Look at the story of the loaves and fishes. Jesus blessed what was offered, and broke it, and it multiplied. This is a miracle, but it is also real. It is to show us to not be stingy with our gifts. The same message is throughout the Gospels. Give what you have away. Don’t hoard it up. Let your gifts (which are freely given to you by God) be multiplied and then give them away.

God gives us what He gives us because he wants us to give it away to others. It isn’t for keeping. The light of a candle is not diminished by sharing.

So why has the church put a rule on who can take communion? How is the church hurt by a non-baptized person taking communion? Let’s turn that around and ask what is the harm in refusing communion to someone who isn’t baptized? Everything.

We are called to welcome the stranger. We are called to build bridges, not walls. Anything we do that excludes is bad. We are to gather up the lost sheep.

I remember one time I was on a road trip with a boyfriend. We were both kind of hippy-looking, with long hair and tie-dye t-shirts. We stopped at a truck stop to get something to eat and to use the bathroom. Out of the blue, a huge gruff man came up to us and told us that we weren’t welcome there. He was a customer, not an employee. He made it very clear that we weren’t part of the mix of people he expected to see there.

I feel like we are doing the same thing to people when we say they can’t take communion unless they are baptized. We are saying that we are in a special club and it is very nice and you can join too but only if you do it our way. We are in, and you are out.

I don’t want to be part of a club that does that.

I feel that if a person feels called to take communion, they should take communion. Who are we to stand in the way between a person and Jesus?

Now, it isn’t like they check baptism records at the door. It isn’t like there is a mark on you that lets others know that you are part of the club. There isn’t a secret handshake. So you could take communion and not be baptized, but that isn’t the point. The point is that officially, you aren’t supposed to. And that is hurtful.

And it isn’t Christ-like.

The Christian church has to stop acting like it is part of a special exclusive club where we’ve won the game of musical chairs. So sorry – we’ve got it and you don’t. Too bad.

That isn’t what this faith is supposed to be about at all.

If church isn’t about love, and I mean real, deep-down, honest to goodness nonjudgmental welcoming love, then it isn’t really what Jesus died for.