one of the most damaging parts of 'emerging' is that you can leave the place you've emerged 'from' behind you and judge it as finished, the past, shallow and ineffectual. i have done that with the evangelical church, and with those we are leaving behind. hope's post 'cracked for good' just cut like a scalpel into the hard crust i have let grow through pride, hurt and woundedness. the scab served it's purpose. kept me from bleeding dry, kept me able to face the future instead of falling into a heap somewhere in the past. but it's also cut me off from friends here - friends i had judged as lacking because they didn't rally to support us publically, or leave the church stomping mad. the fact that they were still there, slogging away, stuck in the busy, crazy life that church requires allowed me to write them off. to silence their stories.
As I have journeyed along a fairly crooked path I have tried to distance myself from where I have been, after I've left it. It was too confusing to embrace the good things about a spot on my journey when I was moving on. It felt like I was both right and wrong and when you are set on being right that doesn't work very well. Black and white thinking resists the shades of grey that real life exposes.that grey shade is where the emotion dwells - and this emotion hurt too much to dwell there. it's so easy to judge 'them' as small minded - i was open minded now - i was leaving to find jesus - from a place where i couldn't see him any more. i assumed that meant they couldn't find him there either. i became the thing i was judging them for - the black and white thinker who could rule their path ineffective.
Wherever I have been on the journey I have often felt the (insecure) need to feel as if I am at the head of the pack.this next month is going to be full of goodbyes. i haven't wanted to admit how much they are going to hurt. how much we will miss many of these very good folks here. how much their lives have affected ours and how moving away will leave holes. i don't like holes. it was easier to dislike them, judge them and leave them. i know that the holes would have showed up 'there' instead of 'here' if i hadn't admitted the pain.
Have you ever rounded a corner and ran smack dab into someone? I would have been fine except I kept running smack dab into Jesus in the lives of people whose journeys I would have previously dismissed. He kept showing up in places I was sure he wasn't. And I don't mean places you might think. I mean in the lives of people whose spiritual path was different from my own or whose spiritual path has them in places I used to be. People I would normally feel threatened by. And when I find His story in the lives of those I want to distance myself from it gets uncomfortable living in my skin.
I have lost count of the number of times I have read someone's blog and sputtered because where I would have once dismissed them and their journey, I saw God. What was God doing there? Dismissing them would mean dismissing their story and ultimately dismissing God. And oh, I know the sparks that fly when anyone wants to dismiss my story. I can't have it both ways. So often I have read something on a blog and found it didn't fit my preconceived ideas yet it contained that indelible ring of truth which meant I had to make room for it instead of tossing it out for comfort's sake. "Just how small is your God anyway?" pushes against my edges continually.
It's been hard to honour Jesus when I find him in places I was too prejudiced to think He could be. I recognize Him there but I still struggle with feeling I have to let go of what I believe to make room for your beliefs. I realize I've labeled people and their traditions, as good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. In having to face all this I find that seeing Christ in everyone means that the next time I round a corner and run smack dab into Jesus that instead of saying "It can't be You." I simply acknowledge, "Oh, it is You."
the arrogance that came from the fact that because i couldn't find jesus at that church any longer made me think that they couldn't find him there either. how sad. i want to honor their stories, their paths and their friendships. it will make this month more emotional, more dificult, but richer and deeper none-the-less.
thank you hope. your gentle words helped me to pick off the scab that has been covering all of this up and allowed me not to miss out on something that i would have regretted later. i'm so glad your story and mine have intertwined here in the blogosphere!