The Things I’m not going to tell you.

This is not like cooking.

Or interior decorating.

It is like snake handling…

or nuclear power plant management.

It is not something to be dabbled with,

flirted with,

or trifled with.


It is not a place for amateurs.


The boat is leaving.

If you are not going to run along this dock


If you are not going to push people out of your way,

mindless that they have plunged into the water,

if you are not going to run and leap for all that you are worth…


It would be better if you just let them go.

But don’t you dare  wave good-bye.

You would not have earned that right.


If you decide later that you wanted to catch up.

If you swim along side when you can,

if you decide later that you’d like them to help pull you

into that little row boat…

You will only capsize them all.


Let them go

If you will not join them in that boat.

Swimming alongside when it is convenient,

doing what you can when it works out…

Deciding, later, that you might hope that they will pull you in…


If you do this you will only capsize them all.


I am not going to tell you that your life will be easier if you do it.

Here’s a brutal truth: This is not going to end well for somebody.

I can not even tell you that it will be better

by most definitions of the word ‘better’.

I am not going to tell you about the right thing.

You already know.

I am not going to tell you

that you already made your decision and if you were a man you’d live by it.


I am simply going to tell you

Do it now: decide. 

I am simply going to tell you

standing there is deciding, too.

So own that choice you chicken shit.



I think that’s the one thing that you have to understand.

You are making a forever choice now as they row away.

And they have to row away.


Even now, that perfect little child does not reach for you when you come by.

Even now, that perfect little child does not call for you in the middle of the night.

That perfect little child does not know what it is to have her daddy.


It is almost to late.

Run, run now…

If you’re ever going to run at all.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “The Things I’m not going to tell you.”

  1. Jeff,
    You sound frustated with your proximity to brokeness. i appreciate your cryptic, poetic expression. It’s a bit parable-ish to reveal and conceal the bevy of feelings you’re experiencing.

    Is there an encouragement in there somewhere?


  2. D & G:
    You’re both perceptive, good people. You’re questions and comments were scary in how dead-on they are. I’d been already wrestling with some of this, and posted a follow-up that explores some of these questions.


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