We recently left our church. A church I had been a part of for 20 year and my husband his entire life. We met there. Married there. Had our kids there. To say it was a big part of our life is an understatement. It has been a gut wrenching process. Although the reasons are varied and many that brought us to this place, for me, it began 2 years ago with a book. A book that has changed the course of my faith and life forever.
The book was called, “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore” by Wayne Jacobson. It challenged my thinking in ways that were scary and liberating all at the same time. It brought to light my preconceived notions about Church, about faith and how is lived out, about control and trust. As I read this book, something was awakened in me. A longing for something other than what I was experiencing in my Christian Life. There was that point where I knew I either had to pursue the yearnings inside me, or put the book down and return to the status quo I had been living in. I was on the fence. On one hand, I felt like God was whispering in my ear, “ Kathy, I have something I want to show you, a place I want to take you. There is so much more. I want to show you a different way. But you have to step out of the safety of the box you are living in. That neat, tidy box that you think keeps you safe. I am so much bigger. I have freedom to offer you that will blow your mind. Grace that never ends. ” And on the other hand, I was scared. Scared of where it might take me and the upheaval it might cause in my life. You see, thinking outside of the box is not okay in the culture I live in. Free thinking and questions are generally not encouraged in the Evangelical community. They like the black and white. The neat and tidy. Questions bring you into the gray… and gray is not good. Gray complicates faith because it makes you see the complexities of people and life. Things are no longer simple and a bible verse can’t fix it all and make it go away. So, they don’t want you asking questions or thinking. And if you have the courage to continue to ask the question, you get labeled. You become one of “those” people who’s faith is weak, watered down, just making God what you want Him to be. I have to admit, that is how I use to see people until I became one of them. To be honest, I really like “those” people. I feel free to ask questions. To think. To dialogue about taboo subjects. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I am allowed to be me.
I have to say that I feel like my faith has been ripped up into 1,000 pieces and thrown into the wind. Somedays, I am excited. Excited to see the things that are unhealthy or untrue be blown away and for the healthy and good things to settle on the ground. Other days I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the process and the uncertainty of how it will all work out. But I know this is where I need to be. Resting in the process, in the unknown, is anything but easy. I try to remember that each day is another step in this faith journey. So, whether excited or overwhelmed, I am going to try to enjoy each day and try not to rush the process. And hopefully, one day, I will be able to pick up the pieces, put them together and see a beautiful picture.