Stepford Christians

I’m a good church girl. 

I’ve been practicing a long, long time and I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it.  I know the right answers.  I know what to wear, what to say, how to pray, you name it.  I have the hymns and all the key verses memorized.  I blend in beautifully with all the lovely, shiny church people.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Or at least I did.  Until I couldn’t anymore.

You would think just having kids would take care of that.  Kids are loud and messy and slobbery and boogery and can be downright embarrassing at times.  But, the strangest thing is — we start teaching those babes before they can walk how to pretend just like us!  We indoctrinate, making sure we cover the bases of how to be a good little church girl or boy.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

One morning at church I saw a young girl come bounding joyfully through the sanctuary to her mom’s side after Sunday School with a huge, panting smile on her face.  Her mother abruptly turned to her and said,  “No, ma’am!  We do NOT run in God’s house.”  The girl obediently straightened up, wiped off her smile and composed herself.

The whole thing seemed harsh from my perspective.

Yet, I’ve done it to my kids, too.  Judged them, threatened them, spanked them, and worse. . .just for being kids and not pretending to be little perfectly-packaged versions of me.

Having kids seems to crank the righteousness competition up a notch or two.  Now it’s not just about how perfect I am.  It’s about my family, and my kids and how perfect we ALL are.

The discipline I use or don’t use.  Whether or not my kids behave.  The way they dress.  The activities they’re involved in.  The foods we eat.  Whether we homeschool or choose private school or public school.  What TV shows we let them watch.  What books we let them read.  The list could go on and on.

Good grief, we are so judgmental.

I have been guilty time and again of thinking myself vastly superior because of the way I do or don’t parent.  And I’ve also been put in my place a time or two by those who are doing something better,  causing me to regroup and redouble my efforts to “do better, try harder.”  Like a hamster on a wheel.

Maybe something doesn’t always happen to ruin one’s best-laid plans.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

But it sure happened to me.

What happened to me was autism.

While it is possible, at least sometimes, to teach so-called “normal” kids how to pretend to be as perfect as we want people to believe they are, it’s practically impossible to teach that to a kid with autism.

By the very nature of his disability, my son doesn’t really care what others think of him and it also would never dawn on him to even try to be somebody he isn’t.

We’ve had that boy in church since he was five weeks old.  By the time he was two, he was rocking their world.  Nobody had the slightest idea what to do with him.  I’m not sure I have the slightest idea what to do with him, even to this day!

At the ripe old age of six, my little boy was already being excluded.  At church.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of people at church who really genuinely love him.  Those who truly care for him have blessed us beyond measure.

But there’s a whole other group that he bothers.  A lot.

He’s loud, he’s aggressive, he’s odd, and he calls a spade a spade.  He doesn’t fit in like the other children.  He misunderstands why “the rules” even exist in the first place.  When church is boring that day, he’s not afraid to say it out loud.  He’s certainly not going to be deterred from running in the sanctuary, despite all my earnest attempts.

When individuals don’t fit the mold, it tends to make other people really uncomfortable.  Why is that exactly?  Is it because most of us are pretending to be something we’re not?  What are we afraid of?  Is such blatantly honest and open behavior a threat to the masks we wear?

The people behind the masks turned on me whenever autism took mine.

I couldn’t hide anymore.  I wanted to.  I sure tried to.  But autism yanked off my mask and threw it in a gutter somewhere, and I was forced to show who I really am.

I scared them.  My son scared them.  Our  reality scared them.  It didn’t fit their mold.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

I worry about my church. I worry about a lot of churches, the church at large.  Are we so caught up in our good intentions and our idea of what a “perfect christian” is supposed to look like that we are
stepford-wives-2004-teaser creating a generation of Stepford Christians?

You know, drilling them in how to act, what to say, how to look — and in the meantime just plain sucking the life out of everything?

I bought into it for so long it felt real to me.  But now I’m breathing again.  And I have no desire to return to the slavedriver of appearances.

There’s an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  I wonder if what we’re offering up in some of our churches is weekly spoonfuls of vinegar.  We preach and teach and offer our kids — and everyone who steps through our doors for that matter — a list of things they shouldn’t do or be if they want to be good Christians.  We make lists of all the “Thou shalt not”s and we look down our noses with a good “bless their hearts” at all the people who don’t quite make the cut of what we think righteousness ought to look like.  We talk about the sinners as “the bad people,” somehow implying that we’re the “good people” simply because we walked through the church doors that day.  We bring people in and give them a nice “do good” message to inspire them to “try hard” to live the way the Bible says, then give them a pat on the head for showing up and send them out the door.  We hammer the law and let grace fall by the wayside.

I’ve done it.  I was a full-fledged, willing participant.  But I’m not proud of it.

Especially now that I’ve been at the receiving end.  Vinegar.  Sour smiles and words meant to maintain “holiness” and “integrity.”  But words that, in reality, bite like salt in a wound.  Words that divide and tear apart rather than words that bind and heal.  Words of rejection instead of acceptance. 

I read a sermon the other day on John Ortberg‘s website.  He says that during Jesus’ day, when a Rabbi was teaching small children, he would  often put a drop of honey on their tongues as he read scripture to them.  The idea behind it was that he wanted the children to associate God’s word with the sweetest, most wonderful thing they could imagine.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

I love that imagery.  Somehow, despite a lifetime of mostly vinegar, I’ve been drawn to the honey of God’s word like a bee to a sage in full bloom.  It’s beautiful and life-giving.  It makes me want to sing and dance and be silly in my joy.  It makes me want to run through the sanctuary with a goofy smile on my face, bounding and leaping like a child with freedom in my limbs.  How many people would frown at that scenario?

If we truly want our kids, and the world, to know the truth of God’s love — which IS the gospel — then maybe it’s time for the old sourpuss stance to go.  I for one, want my kids’ church and spiritual experience to be sweeter than anything they can imagine. I want them drawn to Him.  I want them to find the gospel irresistible.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

So I think I’ll choose the honey.  After all, it’s waaaaay better on my biscuit than pickle juice!

How about you?  Any similar church-y experiences?  How about ideas on addressing authentic living in our local congregations?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  • Tracy Whitt

    Wow, so many things I want to say. This is wonderful. I used to be so concerned about how others viewed me, if others were staring, on and on, but just as you said, Autism happened. We all get stared at, we are judged, we are DIFFERENT. But I LOVE my different. I hate it that I can’t take my son into the sanctuary because he won’t want to sit, he wants to run too. I hate it that Christian friends have been the most unsupportive of our family, I hate it that my Christian friends stared at me when I told them of my son’s diagnosis. But yet, I am a follower of Jesus and I must forgive. I wish all Christians would read this post! I’ll share and see what i can do.

  • jroebuck

    Stepford Christian: A powerful way to describe what I have experienced at church as well. A Stepford trance is what happens when I cave into it and then I end up not experiencing God in worship. More honey and less pickles equals more of God’s goodness for us!

    • http://www.sheridacon.com/ Sheri Dacon

      Thanks for reading and sharing! So good to know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this!

  • Tamara

    There are always those in churches who are not comfortable with people who are “different” from them, always will be. I work for a church, and I am know there are many people that are not quite sure what to do with me. I do not quite fit the mold of a traditional assistant, I am sure. As someone who works in a church I also see the workings from the other side. I see ministers and assistants who struggle to meet the needs of the congregation. Who pray and cry over the decisions they have to make. Not all of the decisions are popular. I also hear that they would like to start “X” ministry to meet certain needs. The problem? People willing to do the hard work. I don’t mean there aren’t people willing, there are. But they are also serving is a zillion different directions. We are called to serve, but are we serving? Not only our own congregation, but those outside of our walls? I assure you, if you sat in any of our meetings, you would be surprised how many times we ask that question.

    But there is hope. You see, I get to see our Youth on a regular basis as part of the music ministry. Do you know what I see? I see them loving on the different people. Trying to include them, trying to understand their limitations and work with them. They are not perfect, sometimes they get frustrated and irritated. But they want to love them.

    I have my own theory on why our churches struggle in this area. As Christians we are called to serve and be a light. And love. REALLY love. Like, be willing for your heart to be broken kind of love. But that kind of love frightens us. We are afraid to be hurt. To cry. To weep. To let the walls that protect us crumble. To give what WE want up so that others can see Christ. Not that we want to be selfish, but we are by nature selfish creatures.

    To me, there is no normal. No one is normal. Who defines that? No one is like anyone else. If we don’t have obvious physical/emotional/educational struggles we have spiritual deficiencies. Areas where we are weak and needy. Our job as the body of Christ is to take care of each other, period. No matter if the struggles are physical, emotional, spiritual, addictions, bad choices, etc. I do see the struggle to do that. But I also see those that really, really get it and want to make the difference, and that is what I choose to hold on to.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Tamara,
      Thanks for reading and for sharing your church staff perspective! I agree that the problem is one of love. If we all loved the way Christ commanded us to, these issues would not exist. We have been very fortunate to have many people at our church who really, really love Travis and have blessed us in unimaginable ways. Unfortunately, we have also encountered quite a few who have rejected and excluded him. I know there are people who think that it’s unreasonable for a parent to insist that their child be included — but until someone has walked through the pain of having their own child rejected, it’s very difficult to empathize. Before I had Travis, I would not have seen it the way that I do now. My desire is and has always been to help create a loving, welcoming atmosphere in our church for people dealing with special needs in their families. These families deal with so much stress and difficulty on a daily basis, and they need exactly what you are talking about — they need the body of Christ to help them, encourage them, support them. We led a support group at church on Sunday nights for exactly this purpose. Unfortunately, I was told several months ago that my child could no longer attend children’s programming on Sunday nights, and so I could no longer serve in that capacity. It broke my heart and still does. Sadly, the special needs population is the largest unchurched group of people in our country. The numbers are astounding. And the reasons are because of what I shared in this post. They feel largely unwelcome and unwanted. My sincerest desire, after going through that kind of pain, is to offer hope and love to other families like mine. And to anyone for that matter who feels like they don’t belong or fit in. I am praying that God will provide a new avenue for me to do just that, which is part of why I have started this blog.

  • David Permenter

    I think that God has placed your son in your life and into our church as an eye opener and a kind of growth opportunity for all of us. I’m glad that the behavior you have observed hasn’t driven your family away from our church – a church that is made up of imperfect people who are only going to have the opportunity to improve in the presence of God if given the opportunity to do so.

    I haven’t spent a significant amount of time around your son, but understand the kinds of struggles volunteers and staff may be facing that they probably don’t have the training or prior experience to handle. I’m sure the our generation, children with Autism spectrum disorders were often kept out of those environments altogether, if not separated, which didn’t benefit anyone involved. I know that I personally have grown over the last few years by working with similar boys in the Boy Scout program. It is good for the (other) children and adults involved to better understand and grow themselves, not to mention the same benefits for the child with autism.

    People who complain or struggle with your son in our church may not realize or admit it, but his presence in our church is a blessing to them as much as they might be to him.

    • Sheri Dacon

      I couldn’t agree more, David! Thank you for reading!

  • ag

    Thank you, thank you.
    I am mom to a great kid who has an attachment disorder. He doesn’t look different, he doesn’t sound different, he’s able to do most anything a typical kid can do (and in lots of cases, he does it excellently!) But emotionally, he struggles. He argues with adults. He aggravates friends–even ones he really loves. He gets overwhelmed by his own feelings. I know the emotional turmoil that causes him to act this way–but I still feel humiliated over others’ assumptions about my parenting. I, too, have said “I can’t wear this mask anymore” …But it’s so so tempting to go back to the mask when I tire of feeling like the one mom who doesn’t have it all together. I appreciate your words. You encourage me to keep living authentically.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Ashleigh,
      Thanks for reading! Your son has a different diagnosis, but sounds a lot like mine. I am all too familiar with feeling like the one mom who doesn’t have it all together. But the truth is — none of us have it all together! And your comment fills me with joy — my hope for this blog is exactly that — to encourage others to live authentically!

  • Kimberly

    Sheri, I have just read each of your posts and my gracious did I enjoy them. Thank you. This was my favorite one as I relate to it sooo well. I think that we all put on those happy masks, not wanting to share our inner most hearts, struggles, and joys. So often we feel as if we are a failure when we do not have the perfect attitude, family, job or Christian life. Instead it is His grace by which we need to live. I need to keep reminding myself of this. I can make a great Pharisee, yet the Pharisees are who Jesus spoke most harshly to. I want to be reminded of this as people have reasons for things they do, for why actions are what they are. I find I now really enjoy people telling me things “like it is” instead of things I would rather hear. It is through these encounters that God often convicts me the most and I change. Thank you to all the pleole God has made who are like this. Thank you for your courage, joy and gift that God has given you in so many different areas. Blessings

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Kimberly, for reading! You are such a wonderfully authentic person and I’m glad to know you.

  • Kathy Spicer

    Very interesting subject. I have many issues with the main stream church as well, yet I understand that they are mislead. Generation after generation of Man-Made traditions being past down by well meaning folks have kept the truth buried. If you go back to the early church, before men started putting THEIR own rules and regulations in place, and see how they lived their lives, you would see a real difference. They lived their lives in a way that reflected the Father. But, the important point is, they did Not water down God’s Word, or His Commands. They understood that the Father put His commands in place, the Ten Commandments includes, as a protected hedge for us – because He loves us and knows what is best for us. After all – He did create us! Hence – Thou Shall Not…If one looks deeper into just the Ten Commandments they would see that there are Blessings that come from choosing to follow them.
    As for the rabbis putting honey on the children’s tongues – yes the Father’s Scriptures are sweet – yet they were expected to sit and listen respectfully. Otherwise they would not hear them to be able to place them in their hearts. Sadly, many mainstream churches feed their children “frosting” instead of the Father’s truth to try and keep them in church. This does not work, as the youth of America are leaving the church in droves.
    They are not taught To love the Father and His ways, they are merely entertained – which is superficial. I would encourage you to keep searching for the Father’s Truth. Maybe start with His Sabbath. What does His word say verses what man says it is. Blessings!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Kathy, thanks for reading! You are right that America’s youth are leaving the church and this is part of what concerns me most. I appreciate your comment!

  • Mia

    While I’ve been hurt by the judgey Stepford people in church, I’m also guilty of behaving like one myself. I’m trying to break free from that attitude, as it’s done nothing for my life as a Christian. Thank you for this article.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Mia,
      I know, right? I’ve behaved like one for years and it’s only in the past couple of years that I realized what I was doing. I’m trying to break free from it as well, and it is so much more liberating to live governed by grace rather than legalism! Thanks for reading!

  • Tammy Houghton

    Sheri,
    How wonderfully transparent your words are!
    Brian and I have had a saying for a while now, “we be who we be”!
    And it’s actually very freeing to be real. God doesn’t call us to be perfect.
    He challenges us to be transparent so that the people we interact with daily see Gods grace because He loves us for who we are!
    Love & prayers to you and your family!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Tammy,
      Thank you so much for reading! Your family is so dear to ours. I love the saying “we be who we be.” I think I’ll start using that one, too!

  • http://susandominikovich.blogspot.co.nz Susan Dominikovich

    I read Matthew 10 in The Message this morning and then Sarah Bessey pointed me here. All I can I say is wow God! Take heart: if my little corner of the globe is anything to go by, God is tired of the Pharisees living by the law and condemning others by the law and He is doing something. A big something. The timing of this post makes me even more convinced. There are still many many Christians who seek to live by grace, not by works. And this, for you and for Sarah and for me and for everyone else who seeks truth and isn’t afraid to say/write it. This: “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life — body and soul — in his hands.” (Matthew 10:28). Well done Sister.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Susan. I’m so grateful to Sarah for passing this along. It’s so good to know I am not alone–that there are others out there seeing the same issues. I love the Message translation — Wow! Thank you for sharing that.

  • Gayla

    You said it girl! The church is where no masks should exist, all children are loved and can worship their way. A friend of mine found out very early that her son was autistic, he is a month older than Katie. at 1 yr, he could not do simple things. She said that they had to find a different church because they ” could not accommodate” him. I could not imagine a church would say that! The new church accepted him and went above to help them not only at church, but to help get what he needed from the school district. He is happy and has made great strides.
    Mine may only be ADHD with other disabilities, but he still has the lable of a trouble maker. But in God’s eyes he is more perfect. Travis is wonderful and such a joy to see. Your whole family is precious and we enjoy seeing you. Keep up the heart-felt writing and stand strong.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thank you, Gayla.

  • Angela Linam

    You certainly don’t have to wonder if your thoughts are resonating with others, thanks to the wonderful feedback! How powerful your words are. May they challenge each of us to look at ourselves, rather than immediately think of who we wish were reading your words. May it start with me, Lord, may it start with me!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Yes, Angela, may it start with me as well. Thanks for reading!

    • Angela Linam

      You are amazingly gifted! You speak powerful truth in griping words. Thank you….for all of your posts so far. They are a love gift. How blessed we are to receive them!

  • Angie Keener

    So glad that you invited me to read your blog. Your words cut through the fancy trappings of “churchinese” and get right to the heart of what is real. I remember how alike we are from our times of sharing in BSF. Looks like we are still very much alike. Thank you for putting in words what so many of us needed to hear! Blessings as you continue to write!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks for reading, Angie! Hope you and your family are well!

  • http://Facebook Dale Mixon

    Dear Sheri,
    Thank you so much for sharing something that has needed to be expressed for so long. We make such a huge mistake when we take the joy out of worship for our kids and replace it with legalism. Didn’t Jesus try to do away with that when He walked on the earth? When will we learn? I have often said that I would like the opportunity to rear my oldest child again. I wouldn’t try to make him fit into the mold I thought he should be in; I would celebrate that off-beat character for who he was and enjoy what he brought to my life. Hindsight is always best, isn’t it? Your child is so fortunate to have you. You write beautifully, keep it up! Love to you!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Dale,
      Thanks for reading my post! I think your oldest child is the only Mixon I don’t know personally! If he’s anything like the others, I’m sure I’d love him. Your kids are all different and all wonderful in their own ways (especially that Chris Mixon!). I love them all! I don’t know if I ever told you that way back in 1986, when I had had my heart set on attending Baylor and then decided it wasn’t for me, I was looking at several different schools. You (and Chris) were the first people my mom and I met. You were so friendly and helpful and she and I looked at each other afterward and knew that HSU was the place for me. So thank you.
      Sheri

  • http://fightnforlife.blogspot.com alison

    Very nicely put. I’ve met several parents of ‘broke the mold’ children who have quit going to church altogether. It just shouldn’t be. :(

    • Sheri Dacon

      You are exactly right, Alison. No family should ever be made to feel unwelcome at church, especially not families with special needs because they NEED encouragement and support so much! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://suncoastmomma.com Marya

    Substitute “Down Syndrome” for autism and I could have written it myself. A wise mentor told me years ago that I should just be myself – it’s who my kids need and my son has taught me to do just that and drop the Good Christian Facade.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks for reading! Isn’t it amazing how much our special kids teach us? It took having a son with autism for me to learn to be myself.

  • anonymous

    Here’s the secret: it’s all a deception. I spent 30 years in the church. Was a VBS teacher, Sunday School teacher, played piano for the service, did Bible study at Tuesday Koinonia. And then I learned something I shouldn’t have. After that, there were pastors assigned to ‘monitor’ me. I wasn’t welcome at MOPS because I ‘disturbed’ the other mothers. There were elder meetings about how to handle her.

    It sounds like you peeled back a layer, and my heart goes out to you but honey, you’ve only scratched the surface.

    Try this one: Go to Colossians 2:17, and then Leviticus 23… and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

  • Pingback: In which I link you up (vol. 32) - Sarah Bessey

    • Sheri Dacon

      I am doing a happy dance right now! Thank you, dear friend!

  • Kay Magar

    Wow Sheri! You make me proud to know you! This was a wonderful post and your writing was poignant and wonderful! I would love for all people in my church, and all others to read it! It would make a good sermon :)! Keep writing – you make your “old” friends proud!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Kay! Feel free to forward it to other friends. I always was good at getting on a soapbox!
      Sheri

  • Pam Fontenot

    I hope Michelle will read this. Very good!

  • http://tourettesconfessions.blogspot.com C. Brian Batey

    From one Autism parent to another.

    Thank you.

    • Sheri Dacon

      You are very welcome!

  • Jill

    Beautifully written! I can completely relate! I was a good Christian girl, and autism also came to save me! My boys are now 15 & 17 and have been the biggest blessings, and teachers in my life!

  • Donna Kasper

    Sheri,
    I myself have an amazing Autistic son with Asperger’s…he doesn’t run through the church, nor does “act out” – but instead he is serious, hates loud noise and is bothered by silliness. I have put on the act of looking “perfect” too – I sometimes apologize for his lack of apathy to others even though I am blessed to go to a church where we are encouraged to take off our masks. I still worry that those working with my son at church give him masks to wear – truth is, the wonderful part of autism is they don’t do masks and as you stated others around them then become acutely aware of their own masks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for talking about this. We, as adults, need to see that God sees ALL OF US, AT ANY AGE, as His children and He delights in knowing US – without the masks. May we all be brave enough to do as our children have taught us and throw those masks away!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Donna,
      Thanks for reading! It is so good to know there are other special needs parents out there who are dealing with similar issues. I’m so thankful for my son–because he helped me to take off my mask.

  • http://www.implicocom.com Amy Lichtenwalter

    Sheri,

    Well said!!! I really enjoy your writing. Having been raised a “Cradle Catholic” I have been there. But, I could no longer support a church where children were being hurt, and the leaders were hiding and moving around the offenders. A few years ago I started attending Park Cities Baptist. Talk about 180 for me! But, I tell you, Jeff Warren is such a great teacher. Most of his sermons seem to address your thoughts here- and one of the reasons I love learning from him! I wish you lived closer so you could go there!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Amy,
      Thanks for reading! I actually attended PCBC for several years when I was single! Still have good friends who go there. I really appreciate your comment — it helps to know I’m not the only who has felt this way!
      Sheri

  • Keri Hawkins

    Sheri, thank you for this post. I know it took a lot of courage to write it. We’ve talked about these things so many times, but for you to write it and for me to finally see it written and out there for the world to see blesses me beyond measure. I can’t tell you how timely this particular blog post is for me and our church. Thank you! I love you so much, and I’m so proud of what you’re doing. God has such great plans for you! I can’t wait to see what He’s going to accomplish through your writing.

  • http://Www.christchurchirving.com Greg Beauchamp

    This is just beautiful. We pray we can be a church that accepts all, loves all, ans can see all the way God sees us – imperfect in our self, but perfect in Christ. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Greg! I just visited your church website and saw that your upcoming sermon series is entitled “No Perfect People Allowed.” I love it! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  • Dorothy Farmer

    Sheri, You have such a profound way with words. Your description of your breathing again is similar to a cocoon breaking forth and becoming a beautiful thing that is able to spread wings and fly and display its color and taste of sweet nectar from flowers. Breathe, my dear. As you are breathing you are spreading your cheerful self who has finally been able to break free from the ties that have bound your true self. I love reading about your child and my great nephew. Seems that life has given him an unfair shake, but with a Mommy like you, his innocence has freedom to be who his is. Freedom with accepted boundaries is freedom indeed. Your love and guidance is priceless.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thank you, Dorothy, for your sweet encouragement. This blog is a big, bold step for me and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to know there are loved ones in my corner! Love you.

  • Wallace Wimbish

    Go “git’em,” Girl! Been there, experienced it. No mask for me either. What you see is what you get. I love Travis and all the other kids. You are a wonderful wordsmith.

    Love,
    Big Dad

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Wally. We love you, too, and hope you are feeling well!

  • John Duke

    Sheri, Thanks for writing about your life … and your life with autism. There’s a lot of food for thought in that blog. I know this pastor will be thinking about it for a while. We enjoy that old saying around here that the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. Hopefully we are encouraging the congregation, as you have, to love one another deeply and care for one another in the midst of the pain, the struggles, the ups and downs, and even the joys of life. John

    • Sheri Dacon

      John, thank you so much for reading and for your comment. It encourages me to know there are pastors and church leaders who are promoting real community and Christlike love in their congregations. On a side note, just seeing your name made me smile. Remember when I was a freshman in concert choir and you used to tease me relentlessly? You are that John Duke, right? :)

    • John Duke

      I don’t remember the relentlessly part!

      … no wait … yeah, I DO remember that! BAHAHA!

      Yep, I’m that old HSU John Duke.

  • Cathy Holt

    Wonderful Awesome. Keep it up.

    • Sheri Dacon

      And thank you for continuing to read! And take pictures of hummingbirds. I love those!

  • Larry Pool

    Very well stated. Much of the modern church is full of Pharisees, filled with tradition and rules and more concerned with condemnation of those who don’t keep the tradition or follow the rules that with grace. Your son has the purest heart and the most genuine love of any child I have ever know. His love is more an expression of Christ than all the actions of the others combined.

    • Sheri Dacon

      Thanks, Daddy — for reading my blog and for teaching me that important things are worth preaching about. I love you.

  • Jill Wideman

    Sheri,
    Once again you have captured my heart. I feel like I am living the things you are talking about. God has given you such a gift and I am blessed to hear Him talking to my heart through your words. Thank you for sharing. I want the honey too!

    • Sheri Dacon

      Jill, thanks for reading and for your comments. What an encouragement! This is exactly what I hope to accomplish with this blog — to strike a chord with people who have felt the way I feel at times and who want to live authentically — and let them know they are not alone! You are a blessing.

  • http://www.parentingwithscripture.com Kara Durbin

    Sheri, Wow…well said and preach on! I am a perfectionist by nature, am fed up with the lies of it, and am struggling to break free in my own life. Love how you’ve tied in that concept to church! I’m currently reading Radical by Platt and the timing of your post is interesting. My perspective of what the American church should look like is radically shifting. We need reform on many levels. Thanks for adding this valuable piece to the puzzle in my mind! ~Kara

    • Sheri Dacon

      Kara, thanks for reading and responding! Yes, I am a perfectionist as well, and it has driven me to exhaustion. As I’ve dealt with it in my own life, it’s become more and more clear to me how many people in the church are struggling with the same issues. I think it’s just too important to ignore! I’ll have to check out Radical and see what it has to say. You’ve piqued my interest for sure!

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