The Way

I was holding on to this idea: the idea was that my hurt needed to be fixed at all costs.

Most of the time I wouldn’t admit that I even have this hurt.  And even if you got me to admit that this hurt was lurking around…  I would not have owned that this was my number one priority.  When I started to recognize this…  I realized that I actually want it to be everybody else’s number one priority, too.

It’s a bit of an idol, my pain.

Further, I have been operating on this idea that the number one goal of everything is to not hurt.  Eradicating this pain has been this mission I have never even questioned.

There is all this power around the names of demons.  I feel like that is what I am doing: naming the demons.   And we are told to confess our sins.  I am doing that too: confessing my sins.

A child’s faith is one where magic wands cure pain instantly, and magically.  My faith is built on one who died on a cross and spent three days in hell, after he sweat his blood in fear and trepidation.

He told his followers there way was the way of pain.  And he showed them by taking the evil of the world into himself, absorbing it, transforming it.

The promise is not that this is free and easy: only that it is worth it.

I think that this gets easier (not easy!) if we do this together: Let us name our pain, recognize that it is real.  It is not the center of the universe.  It is not God.  But in some important ways, it stands between us and God.  So lets walk through it together.  It won’t go away just by us wishing it away.  We have to travel through it.

But we don’t need to walk it alone.  We can walk it together.

Even more awesome: When you read the story in context, when Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth.”  He wasn’t making any claims about why we shouldn’t be a Buddhist.  His followers were worried because they felt like Jesus was leaving them.  They feared he would only be at their final destination, and they did not know how they would find him.

When Jesus said “I am the way and the truth” he was proclaiming that the path is the destination, that he is the path itself.  The sacred is not only in the place that we want to end up: the journey to get to that place, the journey through the pain, Jesus is there with us, too.



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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.

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