Hugging Porcupines

Hugging you takes some practice. So I’ll start out with a cactus. –Marilyn Singer (on hugging porcupines)

Hugging porcupines ain’t easy! Neither is hugging your critics. And, may I add, hugging prickly Prodigals takes a heart full of Holy-Spirit-Love.

Loving Prodigals is not easy for The Church. I don’t really understand why. They are our brothers/sisters in Christ.

Admittedly, they have walked away, or have fallen away from the Church, but they are still “sheep.” In point of fact–His sheep.

Is it not “our job” to love them and search them out?

The Flack

I knew I would “take flack” for those last few posts–and boy, did I! Got it with both barrels…

Hugging Porcupines

You know? There was a day when that would have really upset me. Instead, I listened, then turned my face to the ceiling laughing and shaking my head.

And, I think I said something like, “I told you so.”

(Speaking to the Lord, that is.)

He hears EVERY word…
Hugging Porcupines

He hears the words we speak out loud–and the words we don’t.

(You know those ones we mutter in our hearts?)

Well, I apologize again, to anyone who was “offended” by the posts I did– baring my soul about where I was when I chose to leave The Church.

I was eighteen. I was young. And yes, I was a very idealistic and foolish porcupine.

I was also very wounded.

(No, you really don’t know all the reasons why–and probably never will!)

God has made it clear to me that “total” transparency is not necessary, and some stories are better left in the vault! I don’t get my nose out-of-joint because of being overlooked, misunderstood, or insulted. Really? That stuff is trivial, and you don’t survive eighteen years major disfunction, by getting bent over that kind of thing.

Honestly, I think The Church still prefers to minimize their culpability when it comes to spiritual abuse–and they still prefer to jettison their wounded.

So, for the record, I’m not signing up again. Thanks anyway.

Perhaps that attitude of critical rejection is why we don’t pursue our Prodigals.

I recently read something…

This man’s words stopped me in my tracks–especially due to “the flack.”

Holiness overlooks crude words and loves people! –Charles Slagle

He went on to write (God speaking,)

“… It scorns the somber sanctimony and sham of religion… Through your love and laughter, can your fellow workers even detect that I like them?” –C. Slagle, Abba Calling

Well… I did listen to the whole sermon, critical or not. And, I did laugh, so I guess I’m growing a thicker skin. Thank you Holy Spirit!

One of the scripture texts Slagle used for the day of this devotion was Matthew 11: 19, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

(Yes LORD, I remember. “A servant is not greater than his Master.” Got it!)

Yet… another heavy sigh!
Hugging Porcupines

How quick people in the Church are to jump on something someone says–me included, okay. (And this sermon was about “Becoming Offended?”)

I guess it’s okay to be offended if you are up on a stage, delivering a pithy sermon, and defending the status quo. (Heavy sigh.) But as I tried to explain when trying to “prepare” folks for these posts, “Yes, the road will get bumpy… but hang in with me please, as we are going somewhere that’s good.”

It would be nice if all those who long to “straighten me out” would just cut me some slack, and let me tell my story first, before they start lobbing their verbal grenades.

Could I dare to suggest that we ALL read Psalm Fifteen again?

Back to Porcupines… and “Doin’ Fine”
Hugging Porcupines

In the MEAN-time (pun intended) may I return to my story?

As a porcupine and a Prodigal, I was loathe to listen to any “Christian” who came at me preaching about my lifestyle. First, because I had yet to learn all the hard lessons awaiting me. And secondly, because Jesus knew I would return to Him, though I had many doubts. He “saw” the day, the hour, even the minute, He would step into my broken world, lift me up, and begin to teach me about who He really was, and still is!

Sadly, it wasn’t the “Church” who came after me.

Nope, I hugged my porcupine self, and told everyone, “I’m doin’ FINE!”

(I wasn’t of course, but I would be the last one to admit it.)

Hugging Porcupines

So, it was God Himself–all by Himself–who came after me. Because, He had not once lost sight of me, and because, He still passionately LOVED ME! I was still His kid and no one was snatching me out of His hand (John 17) not even me!

(All “flack-meisters” please re-read Ezekiel 34… again.)


Porcupine-prodigals be warned: God is an expert at loving. He is relentlessly determined. Your porcupine days are numbered dude.

Hugging Porcupines

“How can I account for this generation? … John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” –Matthew 11, The Message