I love this short interview with Brene Brown regarding her return to Christian faith. It really stresses this whole idea of God being with us in solidarity in the midst of our pain and suffering. Below are excerpts of the interview transcript, but I encourage you to listen to the recording.

“I went back to church thinking that it would be like an epidural, like it would take the pain away, like I would just replace research with church. And then church would make the pain go away…. Faith in church was not an epidural for me at all, but it was a midwife, who just stood next to me saying, “Push, it’s supposed to hurt a little bit.” It was a completely new experience going back for me…

I believe God is love. It makes total sense to me that Jesus would have to be the Son of God because people would want love to be like unicorns and rainbows. And so then, people go, “Oh my God, love is hard, love is sacrifice, love is eating with the sick, love is trouble, love is rebellious.” And so I was listening to this Leonard Cohen song, and it said,

Love is not a victory march,

Love is a cold and broken Hallelujah.

Love is not easy. Love is not hearts and bows. Love is very controversial, really…. In order for forgiveness to really happen, something has to die…. Whether it’s your expectations of a person, there has to be a death for forgiveness to happen. In all these faith communities, where forgiveness is easy and love is easy, there is not enough blood on the floor to make sense of that. And so I thought about why forgiveness is so hard in our culture. Because there are two affects (or emotions) that people fear the most,  and it’s  shame and grief.

If something has to die in order for forgiveness to happen, and people are deathly afraid to feel grief, then we just won’t forgive anybody. Because I don’t want to feel grief. I thought faith would say, I’ll take away the pain and discomfort. But what it ended up saying is that I’ll sit with you in it.

I never thought that that would be enough. But it’s perfect. I don’t feel alone in it anymore… When I was growing up… [faith] was mostly like magical thinking. It was more like there was a reason for everything. If something tragic happens, it was supposed to happen…. We had a horrible loss in the neighborhood… At the funeral, they said… “This is not a time to grieve, that’s selfish, this is a time to celebrate because this child is with God.” On the way home, my mom said that, “I just want to be really clear with you. This is not a time to celebrate. If you’re sad, that’s OK. Because be assured that God is grieving today too. God’s weeping too.” I was like, “That changes everything.”

I just think for me, it’s about being with you. It can’t take away the pain. When we set that up as the parameter, that just does not work… Love weeps.”

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