March 11, 2010 by

What’s Coming…


Categories: How I am, Meanderings (look it up), moments of truth, You need to read this

I’ve processed a lot of stuff here in the past couple of years, as I’ve transitioned out of institutional church into “something else” that I don’t know what to call it yet. This transition has been full of surprises; if someone had made me bet my life on predicting the stuff that has happened, I’d be dead now.

Instead, I am alive. Very much so. Much more so than before. But looking at it another way, I had to die before I could live. Lots of stuff had to pass away to make room for the new. That was basically the deconstruction process I kept talking about. But in my heart I see that process ebbing away, at least for now. I find that I have less and less to talk about personally as far as deconstruction is concerned, and the issues and problems I see with the institutional church as a system are well documented in the back pages of this blog. And yet for the past few months there has been this in-between time where I’ve been finding my feet in a new place, and watching the incubation of something new–something that has up to now been just a sort of indescribable glob of something-or-other that if I’d tried to blog about it, it would have gone something like this:

“Well, something’s happening. There’s this sort of thing I see happening with creativity and music and photography and people and ministry and it’s kinda cool but I don’t know what it is yet but it’s sort of exciting and scary and it’s moving around and we’re doing stuff here and there and figuring out what’s going on and how are we going to live?”

Maybe you can see why I waited awhile. 🙂

And so I’ve been in this transition-within-a-transition where I’ve had less inspiration to write about what used to be, but not enough information to verbalize what is yet to be. Thankfully, I think it’s time to turn a corner on that. As I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to process what I’d been through, what I was going through, and what I thought about it…now I think it’s time to start at least trying to put into words what I see in front of me as it comes forth. Even if it sometimes sounds a bit like the paragraph in italics above. 🙂

That doesn’t mean there won’t still be a rant here and there. I’ve been engaged in conversation with some blogger friends over at Communitas Collective about this very thing, and there is a consensus about our need to stop looking backward and start looking forward–to not just focus on what is wrong with the church, but on how we can be part of the reshaping. That, I think, is vital to continuing to write in this sphere; once a blog like this finishes processing the past, it has to turn a corner or shut down. At the same time…I think it is still right to highlight what is wrong on occasion, for two very important reasons:

  1. Things have not yet changed with the church. Just because I have completed a personal process and come to grips, that doesn’t mean the church herself is okay. Most of the Body of Christ is still locked into a system that doesn’t work and causes pain and still needs a huge overhaul. Until that changes, people who see it for what it is need to keep speaking up.
  2. While some of us are ending this process of deconstruction, others are just beginning it. There still needs to be a voice here and there to tell these folks they aren’t crazy, that someone else out there “gets it.” I think about how lonely a journey this has been for my family, how lonely it still is, and how it has helped to have a few voices in the blogosphere that related. That choir of voices needs to increase, not decrease, as more and more believers find themselves deconstructing.

That being said…I definitely find that when I have something negative to say, there’s a different motivation behind it. My own grieving process is ended, and I’ve come to grips with where I am. In fact, the only thing that still pisses me off personally about the institutional church is when folks start trying in their own understanding to draw me back “into the fold”, and that’s a rant for another post. 🙂 Beyond that, though, there is now this huge sense of growing hope and purpose that is healing the jadedness I once felt–because I now see a lot more of what Christ-following and church and ministry can really look like when it’s unencumbered by the extra weights. In fact, I’m starting to see it happen right before my eyes, in ways that have never been modeled for me–not by the house church movement, or even by the emerging church movement, or anything else I’ve seen yet. And that’s the stuff I’m now feeling inspired to write about.

So all that rambling to say, if I rant from time to time about the ills of the institutional church, it’s for the purposes I mentioned above; but hopefully this post marks a change in the personal focus of this blog, away from what used to be into what can be and what will be, and what it’s looking like as it takes shape.

Keep tracking with me. I’ll do my best to tell you what I see.

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

6 Responses to What’s Coming…

  1. Sarah

    "In fact, I'm starting to see it happen right before my eyes, in ways that have never been modeled for me–not by the house church movement, or even by the emerging church movement, or anything else I've seen yet."

    I'm thinking (hoping) that more and more of us will be saying things like that. I think when we come into the freedom God purposed for us, then all kinds of creativity is unleashed – and so many different expressions of 'ministry' will pop up.

  2. Larry Eiss

    Brother, In my own walk, I am behind you, but this gives me hope that there may one day be more light and the tunnel may end.
    Thank you!

  3. Al

    As great it would be if there was always someone ahead to follow, someone else doing the mentoring….Sometimes you get to be the guinea pig yourself. You get to be the first crash test dummy. You get to be the one the insults or accolades are piled on.

    I'm definitely looking forward to hearing about the things being birthed in your spirit.

  4. Jonathan

    Thanks for the post. It's kinda odd, like I'm on a journey into some unknown place. I know a few people going the same direction, but I don't know anyone who's arrived.

    I have some concern that I'll end up nowhere, and my kids may lose more than just religion… but I trust and pray it is the Holy Spirit that is guiding and not just my critical mind. …and I do believe I have heard His voice at some moments along the journey. So I continue to walk slowly into the fog.

    Thanks for being another anonymous voice somewhere out there in the fog.

  5. Erin

    I think we are learning not to let religious convention lead us, but following where God is going before us. It's a weird place to be, but I'm there too.

  6. Jeff McQ

    I have said and believed for quite a while that I think what we're experiencing is part of a major shift God is doing with His church that is way bigger than us. If I'm right about that, I think more and more people will begin to get inspired and see new ways to be church.

    One thing I can say is that the tunnel isn't the destination; it's a conduit that leads to something else. So yeah, keep walking forward, bro. 🙂

    Not only have I had the guinea pig experience, but I've had the guinea-pig-being-watched-through-the glass experience. 🙂 Lots of people watching as God has shaped us. Nothing better to pop one's ego-bubble. 🙂

    "I have some concern that I'll end up nowhere, and my kids may lose more than just religion…" You aren't alone in those concerns; I've asked those questions, and heard a lot of others on the journey asking them, too. Take it for what it's worth, but I believe that when when we truly trust ourselves to the Holy Spirit, as you've indicated…He will not lead us astray. We can trust Him. He watches over those whose hearts are for Him. I just think people are slowly realizing that the voice of the Spirit and the voice of the church are not always one and the same. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

    I think you are exactly right in your assessment. Glad to be walking the road alongside you…well, okay, more like a thousand miles apart, but still. 🙂

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