Accepting Reality

The most anticipated part of driving across the country as we start a new chapter in our lives has been the forced solitude. Hours and hours of driving with nothing to keep me company but fuzzy and ever-changing radio stations and an iPod full of Paul Simon. Perfect. A chance to process how I have changed these past 7 years, how I am hurt by the events of the past few weeks, how I am excited about the future. The first conclusion I have come to is there is simply no denying that the Christianity that I now practice is intensely different than the Christianity I once practiced and is also different than the Christianity practiced by my evangelical community. I have changed. It is oftentimes difficult to change while being in a marriage. As the cliché is often heard “You are not the person that I married.” It has been difficult to feel that sentiment from friends and colleagues, feelings both of pity and anger from them, disappointment and rejection from me. I cannot pretend that I am not hurt by those feelings, but I also know that I cannot allow them to keep me from being true to the story of God I see unfolding in the world.

What has helped me to stay true and is charting my course as we begin to write this next chapter has been the incredibly rewarding experience of finding those who too are being abused or neglected by their spouse because they too are not the person that their Christian community first married. And then to lead them out of feelings of self-hatred and loneliness, into a Sabbath rest with a God who loves them despite their doubts, despite their questions, a God who does not fear an upended faith.

Here’s to many more stories of people finding Jesus, a God who truly knows the human condition, does not fear it or ignore it, and so loves us anyway.

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4 responses to “Accepting Reality

  1. Jared, many of us have been there. And it totally sucks.

    This Sunday I’m going to be teaching on the psalms of lament, and as I do I can’t help being flooded with myriad stories of disappointment that I’ve experienced, and that others experienced in me as I developed theologically in ways that cost me standing and ecclesiastical affiliation.

    Lament is good. Recognizing that our calling is the way of the cross is important.

    And, it’s important in the midst of the crap to hope as well. “We had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we might not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”

    Go. Go in the hands of the God who raises the dead. I pray you will find new life.

  2. Well, I think this greatly depends on your definition of “community” – I certainly have no complaints about your perspectives.

    However, having been around churches for a fair bit of time now, I’ve become convinced that I’d never want to be employed by one. You end up in this situation where your spiritual livelihood and your economic livelihood get so tied together that it must be really difficult to be who God is calling you to be. Does it really work well when your boss is expected to be your pastor as well?

    Be sure to stay in touch! I’m sure God isn’t done using you to touch lives around here…

  3. In my own recovery from working in Evangelical community, I have found the grace to forgive both myself and others, for the areas I did not fulfill expectations be it personal or professional. There is real pain felt when a person goes through transition. The feelings of loss, anger and remorse are common when someone allows the process to unfold. Part of the process is to memorialize the events that caused the pain. For example, spending two weeks driving across the country to your new land, listening to music, telling and hearing stories. As you begin to write your new story with your family and friends, my prayers are with you as a friend and fellow believer.

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