The Proverbial Desert

I really thought my journey in “disorder” or “deconstruction” was coming to a close. That was until I found myself tasked with the job of finding a new church. Sure, I am not alone in this task (see: Brendan, life partner). But I cannot deny that I’m the one in this marriage that holds the final answer to whether or not we can move forward with calling a church our home. A lot of this boils down to LGBTQ affirming pastors and female pastoral staff. Two items of which I don’t find myself budging on.

All that to say, I keep finding myself disappointed. Much of this disappointment, I assume, is due to the fact that, actually, I’m in the thick of disorder. So much so that I feel at odds with my whole interior. How can I spend nearly a decade at one church and walk out feeling like I am a completely different person — with this difference colored in both greatness and bitterness?

I do know that I’m not alone in this. There are so many friends around me who find themselves spiritually homeless. I think for so long I felt protected from this feeling; like I could talk about it because I rode along the edge. Now that I’m in it, I can honestly say this is an uncomfortable feeling that, ultimately, I know is necessary. As with all matters of my interior life, writing feels like the only way to process. Hell, I’ve even taken up actual journaling again, as well as called my therapist for a 911 session.

Because there’s nothing like walking out of a church you so badly want to call your new home, but feel a bodily refusal to do so. As if I am searching for the eject button as soon as I sit down. So much of it reminds me of who I used to be — a spiritual place from which I came but not where I am headed … or should be headed for that matter. Again, I am not who I was a decade ago. Are any of us?

And what does that say about our spiritual lives? I recently heard someone quote Albert Schweitzer on how every generation has to “reimagine Jesus throughout history for itself” because “indeed, that’s the only way we can make Jesus live.” He drove it home by saying, “We have to constantly be rebirthing Christianity in our time and age.” I found this so profound; permission-like to some degree. To me, I am in the rebirthing. It doesn’t surprise me that scripture describes the whole world as being in a constant state of “groaning” comparable to childbirth (Romans 8:22). As long as we are creatures of God — made from the stardust he/she created — why wouldn’t we also be apart of this groaning?

Lord, I am rambling. Here’s the thing… there’s a leak from within the Church that has been seeping for far too long. Sure, I am grateful for the clarity it brings and the way we can rediscover God, Jesus, Christ, and Spirit for ourselves, but what does it mean for big “C” Church in the long run? From this vantage point, I don’t know how long Millennials and Gen-Z are going to stick around. We so badly want to believe in a Jesus that saves (and I think we still do!) but we are certainly not finding the Good News in sermons that are more like Sunday self-help talks (doesn’t Oprah do this now, too?) than a pastoral hand guiding us, reassuring us, loving us, as we walk in our proverbial deserts.

Wait, didn’t even Moses get left behind when they finally arrived?

Jesus, help me. All of us.

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