I Always Go Back to Soccer…

My partner, Jake, says that everything always comes back to soccer with me eventually. He is not wrong. Soccer, youth soccer with our kids, is where I realized I had a voice and boldness I never knew I had before. There is a massive amount of injustice in youth soccer (I know all youth sports) and my justice-demanding heart does not sit idly by when a moment calls for truth/action, not silence/inaction. Looking back this has always been inside me. I was an extremely quiet child in early elementary school. I was really shy with zero confidence. On the bus kids would say I was from the land of quiet because I said nothing. I was a cheetah who had been tamed as Glennon would say. Or as my therapist tells me now, a child who was sitting back observing the world before participating. I was paying attention.

In kindergarten, I never got in trouble because I was quiet. This seems to be all people in power want, good quiet people–especially girls. But there was one day a kid was being picked on and I got involved because it was so wrong. This is the only time I had to sit by the wall. I was humiliated. This is how I will be taken out of the game: mistake my motives and punish me. The teacher never asked what the commotion was about. She was only concerned that the peace had been disturbed by our noise. Isn’t that how the world works until we can no longer ignore injustice? God has a limit of about 400 years (Gen. 15:13). The world (people, not creation) wants peace, even if it is a false peace. That is not peace.

Back to soccer, soccer is where I found my voice and where a trauma happened that was so horrible–at the same time Trump was happening–I could no longer enjoy anything I once enjoyed in this world anymore. People were not who I thought they were. This is why I am shouting that relationship and education, alone, are not enough to reach people who have decided to follow mammon instead of God. This is going to take something stronger–a Care Bear Stare is how I like to put it. Love of money is a strong principality, and it thrives off of the oppression of people: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and classism are all rooted in love of money and power.

It has taken me a long time to look back on soccer and not get re-traumatized. I have been in therapy working on healing a deep wound. My therapist said one day it will be a memory and not feel like a present reality over and over when I think back on it. The thing is, everything that happened in soccer is a present reality in our politics right now. It is unfathomable to me that people cannot see why Trump would be triggering for so many women, children, and BIPOC who suffer his abuse through people like Trump in their present reality. He is not an isolated buffoon who got elected and people weirdly love. He is who they have always loved. Not many of us were prepared for the revealing, even those who follow him. Before I go any further, I want to say something for clarification:

Prior to Trump I never spoke on politics. I secretly voted D to avoid judgement, and, honestly, I knew it made zero difference in the area I live. Just look at Texas now. What an absolute abusive mess that is happening because people like me were silent all this time. It is silence that allows abusers to gain power, not the loudest few who support the abuse unapologetically (Rev 3:15). My silence, and Jake’s too, came at the expense of our humanity. Mine as a woman who had been abused in gymnastics, boyfriends who believed they owned me, abusive work environments, and church subordination. Jake’s came at the expense of being a public-school teacher and indigenous person whose heritage has been assimilated into whiteness. Silence is not always golden. This is not me being partisan. This is me being on the side of humanity. I will not balance abuse and liberation. Even Moses realized as some point you have to leave. Pharaoh is going to Pharaoh. But the women! Oh, how we missed their stories. Egyptian and Hebrew women were both working towards liberation and that is why the Exodus happened. Funny how women’s stories in the Bible are told in ways where we cannot be trusted and need to ruled over; we deceive men. Yeah deceived men to survive and find freedom, and freedom happened–not war! Patriarchy is not holy.

I have been healing from a whole lot of trauma and I share my story to help others enter fully into their human story. Feeling wounds and admitting sin, or being freed from being sinned against, is not the worst thing to happen–even though it feels violent and horrible some days. Find a safe community and ask for help. This is the sanctification process that is happening, and it is holy and necessary work.

The reality is I think even Democrats are too soft on what is unholy among us. And complicit in a lot of wrong America has done to other nations. People are in pain, and it is real. It is not lack of discipline that got them there but powers and principalities set up benefitting from their oppression. I learned a lot once I saw the world for what it is. I do not claim to know everything, and I know I will never be fully awake to all that is wrong in the world, but I can say I am not sleeping through the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit revealing truth. Holy Spirit is in the chaos finding people who are ready to create a better world out of the chaos, not eliminate it, and help humanity and all of creation flourish. Love God, Neighbor, and Self are one and the same! I will add love of all of creation is also loving God. John 1:11 reveals creation did not reject Jesus, people did. Creation is groaning for us to repent (Romans 8).

Now as I have struggled mightily to use my voice where people understand me, US Women’s Soccer team has come to the rescue. Now I am coming back to soccer where I feel joy and pride because the truth is coming out. And this is very much a judgement on church as much as it is on all of our society. We are a nation, and church, that has profited off a women and little girls’ bodies and expected it to be for lower pay, or free, with no objection to our treatment. If we dare get angry we get called names, and some are derogatory names used from the Bible! We are not even supposed to care about sexual abuse. They will say women are making it up. But men, they get a pass–Brett Kavanaugh. Had we believed Christine Blasey Ford we would be a better world already. Now we have a man with Supreme Court seat who shouts his love for beer, and too many among us believed him and tore Blasey Ford apart. I heard this most vehemently from Christians. Praise God I had changed churches when this was being questioned. It was another spiritually abusive moment that I will never forget. Kavanaugh has another woman coming forward right now too. Why can we not believe women the first time? Same for children. Unless a whole bunch of people come forward, we ignore the one voice who told us long ago. And this could have helped save other women and children. It is not too late to do the right thing.

Megan Rapinoe, a sister warrior and shero, has a lot to say. She says that women are taught to live out of a posture of gratitude for whatever we are given, even when it is unjust. The system does not like our demands for equality–even when women win and are the popular team. USA Gymnastics is harder to get this voice because they exploited little girls, but same thing, women’s gymnastics was a winner and how they got there did not matter until Larry Nassar. Megan Rapinoe does not care if the timing of asking for justice is convenient or not. She is a voice we will look back on and be grateful for, because this voice is not just for soccer–it is a voice for all of us. And it is joined with an amazing US Women’s soccer team who know their worth is not in victories but because they exist. Equal pay for equal work. Women should not have to work harder to prove their worth, and we know that will not be enough anyway. Theologically people believe women are inferior, and it is in all of our systems in public life. It is sad that we are facing more than legal resistance to women’s equality. We are also facing spiritual resistance to it.

Now the principality of Trump makes more sense to me and why people we know and love are not going to say a word about the Capitol insurrection and lack of accountability, but yet, still call us partisan when we cry out at the terror happening among us. I just do not care anymore what anyone says or thinks about me. I have my team now. I am committed to the truth powered by love. It will make a better world for them and me.

Let me end with this: Hillary, when debating Trump, stayed completely stoic. She never reacted when being talked over and called names. We did not know at the time she was being trained to debate a narcissist. She played the game as society wanted her to as a woman, and it did not work. Our society hates women and believes we are biologically inferior. The US Women’s Team was told that, even after they have won all of the World Cups. That rhetoric is in the Bible. Is that holy? It is biblical, but it is not the gospel. That is a word from a human and not God. Hillary lost, a smart woman lost (I do not care what you think about her–I can call out every single president we have ever had for war crimes) and Trump a hateful and uninformed man, won.

Someone asked how we can keep people from being misled. She is a woman who works for a complementarian seminary. While we can’t be responsible for people who choose to be misinformed and ignore truth, we can do something really simple:

BELIEVE WOMEN

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