Wednesday, January 14, 2015
This beautiful, broken old road
As I've settled into my word for the year, resurgence, these first two weeks of January, I've noticed a dwindling desire to share in-the-moment stories from my journey in writing. It's as I suspected: resurgence in my life, at this moment in time, seems to be leading me to greater depths of privacy in my writing.
And this wraps around me with peace.
Even though I was just getting warmed up with practicing bravery in writing the story of this spiritual transformation I'm in the midst of. The end of the year came, baptizing me instead in the grace to begin a new year without needing to articulate the ins and outs of these changes publicly.
But I do have this to say, before I settle back into this world of privacy, with another deep breath for courage and a prayer for grace for each other - - -
I've said goodbye to church, or church as I've known it recently, and am giving myself space to figure out where I fit. But not until more recently did I come to know, I'm really saying goodbye to the evangelical church and much of the culture that comes with it*.
I have many reasons for leaving.
Some of which can be communicated with long-reflected-upon, sought-and-prayed after words, readily available at the tip of my tongue, or if time allows for percolation in conversation. Others, I know in my gut and experience like a grating against the grain of who I am becoming. I know my reasons by how what was once as unnoticeable to me as the air I breathe now makes it harder for my soul to breathe freely. I am changing. I am accepting myself as changed.
But, as I said, I am not compelled to write these reasons one by one. For these words on my blog, I ascertain, are read mostly by evangelicals and I have no desire to alienate people, nor be dismissed as yet another voice droning among the masses of those airing church grievances.
That's not my heart. This kind of criticism is not what I'm about.
I've felt some urgency at times, yes, to communicate my differences as they unfold, perhaps because there are more implied similarities within this specific Christian culture than I ever realized - until they no longer fit who I am. And I only want to be known as the person I am. Not the person I was, or the person I'm assumed to be, or the person who fits a certain profile of beliefs.
Maybe for me to articulate, even graciously, all the reasons why I'm leaving (as if I could) reduces me to nothing more than a non-evangelical image of the nit-picking I'm emerging from. I can produce no bulleted list, complete with scripture verses to support each point of change, nor do I want to. I'm going off the cuff of the Spirit stirring in my life, and I know, somehow, that even though I don't know what this will look like or what to call it - it's good.
Maybe the reasons why I'm leaving, in the end, are of less importance than the action itself, of one step and then another in the direction of the Spirit, repeated day after day after day.
The reasons themselves turn out to be no more than the puffs of exhaust fumes that linger in the air after the car has already sped down the road. They are not to be clung to, for they, too, will dissolve soon enough - and it's the road that remains. This beautiful, broken old road we travel centuries and centuries behind other seekers and followers, in different shoes, different vehicles, but that leads us home to Christ all the same.
When our paths cross on this road, if they do, I would wish you to look in my eyes and see love, more than any other thing, and hear these words in the offering of my hand to you:
Peace be with you.
* * * * *
*By saying this, I am in no way trying to attack evangelical culture or generalize it singularly as negative, only recognizing that much of it no longer fits my faith.
Linking up with Unforced Rhythms