Sunday, October 9, 2011

Abi and "The Church"

Well, as seems to be consistently the case, I know it is time to read something when I actually am able to read it.  That happened this week as I finally read So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore, by Jake Colesen.

Friends of Abi will remember that I have been processing the impact of a weekend Wayne Jacobsen spent with our Short Yellow Bus missional group over two years ago.  As a result of that event, I first read Wayne's He Loves Me, which was a good reinforcement for what I heard in person.  I have since read it maybe three times.  It takes a very long time to make new maps of territory you have lived with for your whole life....

It took be a little longer to read his Authentic Relationships, because I had spent so much energy on authentic EVERYTHING over the past 12 years. But I found there were ideas that had changed in subtle ways, along with so many other things this Virtual Abbess has pondered the past four years.

Before I went on my "stimulus fast" for my tired brain, I was listening to Wayne's Transitions podcasts.  More reinforcement for what I had read and heard.

So why did it take so long to get around to reading the Jake Colesen story?  I am trusting Father, as I strive to live more in Kairos time, that it was finally the right time.

It certainly was.

Jake story covers about four years ... hmmm, it will be four years since I started blogging next week.  It is a story that speaks to so much of my story, it is quite uncanny.  But the best part -- and the reason I think it was finally time -- was realizing that I am finally moving into that reconstruction stage.  Where living loved is getting closer to life than thought.  Where living free is on the rise ... and living full is on the horizon, over the next hill.

  • Jake moved from one career to his dream of paid pastoral ministry -- only to find that there are lots of things that are just not right in the way the church-as-institution plays out.  My move from organizational management -- and my long-time sense that church-as-business was not always very holy -- brought up some interesting, um, challenges as my dream of pastoral ministry came true.  I handled some better than others...and, with Dickens, I would realize that -- "It was the best of times; it was the worse of times."
  • Jake tried to incorporate some of the new things he was learning ... with some fairly disastrous results.  Can you can "misunderstood assumptions"?
  • Jake was devastated by the poor way "crises" were handled by the leadership ... and lived many years with lots of people have a totally wrong ideas of why he left -- and why he wasn't even going to church somewhere else.
  • It seemed to get worse before it got better ... with lots of "huh" times, trying to figure out what Father was up to.
  • It usually comes down to people not knowing what Jesus is really like.  They've heard lots about him, but it wasn't translating into a dynamic, living, relationship.  The culture of institution falls far short of the experience of journeying with Jesus -- and those who cross your path.
In the end it came down to realizing that the Church -- the Bride of Christ -- is a reality to be lived rather than a place to go with programs to implement and expectations and responsibilities met.

* * * * * * *

Freedom ... lots of talk about it these days.  So I was interested to run across a pamphlet (sorting and consolidating books) I've had for some 30 years, by my ministry mentor.  And his thoughts about freedom (that it is so often sacrificed for security -- not just in society, but in the Church) took me to some other thoughts I had been sharing here and at Jesus Creed about M. Scott Peck's ideas about laziness....

I have been wondering if it is time to read that section of The Road Less Traveled again.  I think it might be. Then I will have more to say....

In the meantime I am learning to lean into Father's love for me ... to embrace the challenge to live free from condemnation and false security ... so that I may live full -- of life in the Spirit.  As I experience life in the Church, I am content to let Father take care of the on which journey others are traveling.  Father knows where each of us are and meets us there.  Whew ... I don't have to be the church police any more!

Be blessed on your journey.



Dylan Morrison Author said...

Hi Abi

There does seem to be a deep yearning within many Yeshua followers for something more than the standard Christian fare.

Something just doesn't feel right within the traditional paradigm - like a pair of old faithful jeans that are now just too tight to wear.

I believe that many are being wooed into a madly free Love affair with Source of All.

Keep up the blogging and the Journey.



AbiSomeone said...

Thanks for stopping by, brother! Too tight jeans ... LOL ... kind of like wineskins, eh? Expansiveness is a part of being with the Infinite Love, eh?