enter the UNknown

Wandering with peace

I wanted to write a post about where I’ve arrived after almost 2 years of wandering in my faith. About 2 years ago I left my church of 10+years mostly due to differences in leadership choices, but upon further reflection it was also because I was tired. My wake up moment occurred when I was in the kitchen one day and my then 7-year old daughter innocently asked my “Who’s babysitting us tonight dad?” She didn’t mean any critique by it, it was simply part of her routine. Dad goes off to work before I’m awake, he rushes in the door around 5 and eats dinner in about 30 minutes and then is off again to go lead the college group, prepare for an elders meeting or some other church ministry.

That’s not the life I wanted for my family.vail

I was tired, tired of church, tired of begging the congregation for funds without making any real changes to our stewardship and knowing we’d just be doing it again in a few months, tired of the Christianity I had demanded. I wanted to be entertained on a Sunday morning, rock star worship music and a funny and relevant message. What I finally realized was that I didn’t really want just the next step, an evolution in my experience, I was in desperate need of a deconstructing faith crisis. I was reading dozens of books on the Next Christians, Simple Church, Ignite, REIgnite, Why the church is Lost, or whatever, and it just became nausea to me.

What I found in the desert was a pretty simple expression. Kathy and I began a small group that meets at our home every other Wed night. We soon found that many of our friends were in similar places. The tribe that once met for dinner 5 nights a week now all had kids and careers and we were lucky to see each other in passing at Costco on a Sunday. We just invited a handful of our close friends over to hang out and share a meal every other week. No outlines, no studying, just a time to really connect, hear what’s going on and be intentional about caring for and praying for one another.  This, along with some other important gatherings with a fun group of friends that share a passion for good whisky and deep theological conversations have been good for my soul.

All of this is not to say that I’m against traditional / institutional church. We infrequently attend a megachurch in our area, in which our children enjoy the benefits of a well constructed kids ministry. One of the most important epiphanies I’ve had in the past year has been through reading Necessary Endings and learning how to come to peace with the necessity of seasons in life. Often I’m tempted to despise the past to prove how I’ve changed and moved on, but that is an immature approach to understanding myself and my journey, and it can create a toxicity that prevents others from discovering their own way.

To be comfortable in the unknown and embrace the mysterious aspects of my faith, to not have to answer every question, to accept my smallness and marvel at the Creator. To love life without guilt. To fight for the advancement of His justice and defend the oppressed. To acknowledge the ache in my heart that is waiting for our boys to be brought home and to enjoy each moment with the daughters I’ve been blessed with.  To be amazed by a beautiful wife that makes every experience more real when I share it with her. To laugh and cry with my friends and family. As Solomon lamented, this is our lot. And it is one for which I am grateful.

2 responses

  1. Sean, this is great stuff! Thanks for the transparency and vulnerability. Tara and I can relate very well to where you are. My trip with Dylan to Kenya this summer rocked our world in a major way. Amongst other things, we were struck by the deep passionate love that the Kenyans we met had for God. In the midst of conditions that we could not even fully process, these people deeply loved God and lived with amazing hearts of gratitude. Their worship of Him and connection to others in community was anchored first in that passionate love and not in their local church. However, their local church thrived because of it!

    I want to re-engage with that passionate love for God and I want to model that for my family. I have decided that once I have that figured out, the other questions like “where do we worship together?” and “where do we serve together?’ will flow naturally as an outcome. In the meantime, I am wandering in peace as you are. I don’t want to stay here but I am comfortable knowing that the journey begins with me. As you described, the key is my ability to develop a deeper, more meaningful expression of my walk rather than one based on all the things that have frustrated me about church.

    Thanks for sharing bro!

    August 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    • Good thoughts Steve. The key to wandering in peace and avoiding bitterness for me has been searching for life wherever I can find it rather than expecting it to occur only in one place.

      August 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

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