Maybe that disenfranchisement was rooted in theological questions, or social issues, or maybe I simply felt that the church failed me when I had needed it most. Whatever the reason, I pushed away, joining ranks with the de-churched, the un-churched, and the “spiritual but not religious.”
But, eventually, being away from the church has begun to feel like being away from home, albeit a home that can sometimes be pretty dysfunctional.
And it’s no longer that I don’t want to go, it’s that I don’t know how to begin.
Like when you are sitting across the table from someone, and there is all this baggage, and you don’t know where to start, and sometimes it gets ugly, but even in the midst of the argument or the passive-aggressive standoff you’re wishing you knew how to set things right.
For a time it was easy to imagine everyone’s journey had to be just like mine. If I found a cause, a theology, or a particular author to be compelling, it was important that you did as well.
Likewise, if I had rejected something – say a particular view of inerrancy – it felt vital for me to persuade you that you ought to do the same.
But I’m no longer so eager to convert others into my own image. Instead, I want to learn their story because it’s theirs and it matters. And yes we will have some things in common and not others. And yes, I’m happy to discuss those things I have personally found compelling and life-giving.
These days I would much prefer there is a real conversation and that we truly hear each other then that you leave the table agreeing with me.
For a time it can be easy to get wrapped up in movements, and tribes, and trends, and systems, and buzz words, and being-right-no-matter-the-cost, and forget our humanity. Because it’s tempting to pretend that we are somehow not like everyone else, that we are infallible.
There is a certain kind of very appealing stability, safety even, in believing that we (or a group we identify with) have it all figured out.
But we don’t.
And you know what? I’m [slowly] learning that’s ok.