Sarah McCarten


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When I tell you that I didn’t get out of my car.

IMG_0082I saw her in the rear-view-mirror of my car. I was in a service station about half way between my parents’ home and my home, about a hundred miles from each. I was surprised to see her as she was so far from home. I thought about getting out of the car and saying hello, but I was in a rush and she looked like she was talking to her friend.

I drove out of the service station I felt gutted that I hadn’t made the effort and got out of my car, I could turn back but I was on the motorway and it would have added at least 30 miles and a half an hour to my journey. Besides, I couldn’t even be sure she’d be there on my return. I had plenty of stuff to do when I got back to London and I was sure I’d see her at some or other church thing some or other time.

It played on my mind the rest of the journey. I’d spent so much time with this lady in my teenage years, she’d made such an effort with me, she’d really helped me realise my potential, she was one of the first grown ups to not treat me as though I was weird and I as though I just needed to conform to some evangelical ideology of faith, she’d let me do my thinking for myself. I’d been too lazy to get out of the car and say hello to her.

I visited my parents a couple of months after that and they told me that this lady was sick, she had cancer, but she probably wasn’t going to die, it was curable. I knew that 1 in 3 people in the UK got cancer each year. I didn’t know, and still don’t really, how many people die from it. I went on about my day like nothing had changed, I trusted that the doctors knew what they were talking about, and in my experience, if they’d said someone might die, there was a chance they’d live, if they’d said they’d live, they had. If I’m honest I thought that this lady would probably end up cancer free and she’d have a good Jesus story to tell.

Since no one had mentioned it I’d forgotten that she was I’ll so when I was visiting my parents recently and my mum got a text message it wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind. My mum told me that this lady had died.

Actually died, like I’d never see her again, I’d missed my chance; this wouldn’t be a happy Jesus story. It was just crap.

I was angry with the colleague of my mother’s who had text her to let her know. I was angry with myself also, firstly because I’d not gotten out of the car those few months ago but mostly because I had never told her how much her support had meant to me during my formative years.

Now I’ll never get the chance.


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When I tell you why I’m writing again.

imageI feel like I’m a fraud.

I feel like that partly because I’m not a writer and partly because I’m not prepared to share all of myself on the internet.

I wonder if I’ll ever be able to call myself a writer. I’m convinced that it’ll never be my profession, but I am convinced that it’s something I should be doing and that it is a part of my calling.

The thing is, that has never bothered me before, I don’t mind saying ‘I write’ or ‘I have a blog’ the writer label is something I’ve never really aspired to.

I’ve been reading lots of wonderful blogs over the past few months and I see people sharing honestly and frankly and it is beautiful. It’s not because I can’t write like that, it’s not because I don’t have those stories. It’s because it’s not me. That’s not my way. I’ve come to realise that is alright.

People share things in their blogs that I don’t even talk to my best friend about. That’s me, I’m not a big ‘sharer’, and in general, I’m happy with that. But then I feel guilty, I feel like a phoney because I’m not revealing a secret about myself every other week on my blog.

So I stopped writing.

There’s been this massive gaping hole in my blog.

I received some advice from a couple of wonderful friends recently; that when it comes down to it if you’re being yourself you’re not being disingenuous.

So that’s it. I’m back! My writing might not be like everyone else, but it’s me, and that’s the best that I’ve got for you.

Would you excuse me if my voice is a little croaky over the next while, I’m working on using it again.

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I’m including this post in Kirsten Oliphant’s Writerly Blog Hop, if you’d like to you can check it out here. I tweet here, do follow me. Thanks so much for reading, it really does mean a lot to me.


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An Open Letter to Mark Driscoll.

Dear Pastor Mark,

I’m writing to offer you an apology for the way that I’ve spoken, written (in particular tweeted) about you in the past.

Initially, I’d like to explain why I’m writing an open letter. I’m planning to write a series as part of my blog on the things that I’ve been wrong about. The central reason though, is that you don’t know me, and therefore the comments that I’ve made about you have gone unnoticed by you. Therefore, I want the people who’ve heard and read the dreadful things I’ve said about you to read this, and know that I realise I was wrong and I’m sorry.

The first thing I would like to apologise for is the comments I have made about your character; you don’t need to know the details of what I’ve said. The truth is though, the things I’ve commented on in you, are the things that I most dislike about myself. I am sorry.

Secondly, I’d like to offer you an apology for the things I’ve said that challenge the legitimacy of your ministry. I’ve said things that not only undermine you and your staff, but also devalue the kind of person that goes to your church (if there was a ‘type’). For that I am truly sorry.

Finally, I’d like to take the opportunity to apologise for the things I’ve said about your theology. There are some things you have said that I whole-heartedly disagree with, but I have come to realise my behaviour in response to these comments has been entirely worse than the things you’ve said. I am sorry.

I have come to realise that the church needs unity and not division. I knew it before, but I didn’t know it for myself before. I realise you are seeking to work for the Kingdom of God, and that the things you say and do and write – however misguided I might think they are, are not malicious and are meant for good.

How I wish I was able to articulate where I disagree with you without critiquing your character, but I fail, so I shall keep my mouth shut. I can be opposed to your theology without opposing your personality. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with your opinion, however I have learned, recently, that it is not my place to disagree with your character.

Well, I’m glad that we’ve had a chance to clear the air.

Grace and peace to you.

Sarah