Sitting in the Wreckage

We broke up with the Evangelical church.

For a while we tried to stay on good terms, but it didn’t appear that a friendship  was going to work out either. As I found myself further and further away from the church that helped me discover the importance of Jesus, I decided I needed to express myself publicly.

I suspect if you are reading this, you might feel the same way, at least a little bit.

To be honest, I wish that everything that I needed to say had been said here.

In some ways that was easy to write.  Those feelings are easy to feel. But that was an important place to begin.   I am proud, in a tiny little way, to step in line with a long line of Godly prophets.

Because Those powers and principalities around us needed to be named as anti-Christs.  But after this is done? I think it becomes time to focus on us. The folks who have broken up, the folks who have given up on the idea that we can be friends.

Because the thing is, most of the prophets did not do very well with introspection: Jonah clung to his prejudice even till the very last verse of his story.  Elijah had an emotional breakdown after successes and miracles. John began to doubt Jesus as his circumstances turned difficult.

 

Aspiring prophets in our culture have an extra challenge.  We are not very good at giving mourning and lament it’s due time.  Most of the time we try and rush these processes. But because we do, there is also a part of us that never moves on, never leaves the dead relationship in the past.  All of us just keep looking back at the destruction, no matter how many people around us are turning into piles of salt.

As recently as twenty years ago, the term ‘deconstruction.’ was saved for obtuse philosophy courses.  Now, it’s so much a part of our lexicon that we hear it on cooking shows!  Deconstructing is largely the domain of the prophet. But if we end in deconstruction, all we do is walk among the wreckage of the Tower of Babel, never willing to move on, to try and create something new.

It’s kind of sad.  I can describe myself as a post-evangelical.  But all that does is describe where I was.  It does say anything about where I am, or where I am going. 

Where, my friends, is our reconstruction?   

It may not be time for yours yet.  But I think it’s time for mine. And the truth?  The truth is I really don’t want to. It is easy and safe here in the wreckage.  But there is nothing there for me anymore. So let’s walk up and out of the dust together.

 

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jeffsdeepthoughts

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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