When I Was on Fire

synchroblogToday is a GREAT day; do you know why?

My friend/critique partner Addie Zierman’s memoir  When We Were on Fire comes out!  I have already read and reviewed this book, and folks, let me just say that Addie is a tremendous writer, and you’re going to love this book.

Having grown up in the same 90’s Christian subculture as Addie, I can remember sporting the Christian t-shirts (the ones that annoyingly mimicked popular logos), listening to all the Christian bands, centering my week around youth group on Wednesday evenings.

Today, Addie is hosting a synchroblog on her site.  She’s asked us readers to write about our own “on fire” days.

Mine come loaded with embarrassment– and an apology.

Here is the truth: black and white exist– but so does gray.  I didn’t know that growing up amongst evangelicals.  I was quick to judge, and I thought I owned the market on truth.  In late high school and especially in college, I was a spiritual know-it-all.  After all, I went to a Christian school, studied the Bible as an academic subject, and learned theology from some of the major players in that field of academia.

In other words, I was kind of a jerk.  Maybe not even kind of.

As I am writing this, students from my alma mater (and Addie’s– we overlapped there for a couple years!) are clawing each other’s eyes out over Obamacare and politics and theology, still living in that black-and-whiteness of undergrad.

I graduated.  I lost touch with reality and suffered from paranoia.  I watched friends marry and divorce.  I faced the stigma of mental illness.  I underwent a therapy that some people would consider unholy.  All those beautiful and ugly and layered and confusing shades of gray started to paint my world.

I am on fire in a new way now.  On fire about grace.  And mercy.  About weakness and healing.

I am sorry for when I was on fire about being right and judgement and personal strength.

Addie’s book tells of her journey toward wholeness, of the ways that the evangelical subculture harmed her and others in the name of God and goodness, about her anger and spite when her eyes were opened to see this, and how she climbed out of the bitterness.

Buy her book.

Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE

Available for Pre-Order in the Following Places

11 thoughts on “When I Was on Fire

  1. Beautifully written post, Jackie. I could relate to this, too, because I went to a Christian high school and experienced many of the same black and white attitudes. Thanks for sharing about this book.

  2. Wow, that’s an incredible testimony. I find that I too see more gray after having gone through the stigma of mental illness and the stigma of living at 200% of the poverty level. You come to forgive, understand, give compassion and grace more freely. After being one of “those people,” the other “those people” didn’t deserve my judgement. I think all Christians need to hear this, but some will not get it.

  3. I love that line too. “I am on fire in a new way now. On fire about grace. And mercy. About weakness and healing.” That’s how I feel too. Thank you for this beautiful post friend. Love you.

  4. I can relate! I too used to be so black and white and am still friends with such, which is hard because I just want to be myself in the grayness and I don’t feel like I can be. Also, I struggled with mental illness, still do at times (OCD, depression, anxiety), and many times over the years I feel like I have to defend myself in the help that I have received. I have to keep reminding myself that it is ok to take meds, it is ok to have mental illness. I am not a failure in God’s eyes. He loves me just as I am.

  5. Pingback: Noticing the Mess | Lights All Around

  6. I love your blog and your writing and can relate to a lot of what you say in this post. I also come from and evangelical Christian community and at one time I also thought I had a monopoly on truth.

    We (myself and 3 other bloggers) have a synchroblog that happens monthly (it was started in 2008 and since 2010 it has been happening every month). It’s a home-grown group of bloggers who like to write on topics of post-modern faith & life. This group is open to anyone who is interested in participating. We value respectful conversation and dialogue while honoring our differences. We share links & try to learn from each other.

    Some of the people that originally participated in the synchroblog no longer blog and I am trying to reach out to people like you who are currently passionate about blogging in order to keep our monthly synchroblog relevant and vital.

    If you are interested in joining us you can join the facebook group and receive monthly invitations to the synchroblog. Here is that link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/114506961937378/

    And you can find our website (which you can subscribe to if you want to receive an email when we post the monthly theme announcement/invitation) here: http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/link-list-november-2013-synchroblog/

    (You can see all of the themes that we have covered in the past on our website in order to get an idea of what we do)

    I really hope you will join our group of bloggers as I love your voice and think you would be a blessing to the group!

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