Tuesday, April 9, 2013

stuck in limbo land

It's funny how this blog has turned from a 'fashion blog' to a space where I can type out whatever's uppermost in my mind.

I guess that means that when I started this blog, I was much more preoccupied with fashion and exploring the world of vintage and op-shopping than I am now.

Now, all that keeps swirling around in my mind are thoughts about church, God, feminism, marriages, exclusion, theology, inclusion, purpose, truth, pastors, denominations, worship styles, sermons, change, brokenness, goodbyes, friendships, etc.

It's all I can think about and it's quite maddening at times. I can't stop.

Four years ago, I don't think I really ever questioned or spent much time ruminating on the whys of how I lived my life; I was quite content in knowing simply how and where. 

I was a 'leader' at church - specifically in young adults/youth ministry.
I was at church every Sunday, sometimes twice a day and at connect groups every second Tuesday.
I would pray and discuss and worship and sing and lift my hands - the higher the hands, the more pious the Christian.
I would view everything through the prism of middle-class, married, Pentecostal eyes.

I wouldn't ever really wonder what it was like on the margins. An outcast, someone not privy to the important and heavy machinations of the church service, or connected to the pastors, the leaders, the key players.
I never really cared how it felt for the long-time single person when a sermon focused on the glory of marriage.
I didn't consider how a gay person would feel during each service.
I was so sure of the rightness of this particular way of being a Christian, that this was the most authentic, historically true, faithful and correct way of living out Christ's teachings.

You don't have sex before marriage.
You don't drink.
You don't swear.
You preach to anyone/everyone and always be on the lookout for 'evangelising'
and you come to church every week without fail.

That's how you 'serve'. That's how you prove the truth of who God is and that is how people will be shown the light.

And yet.

There is so much more.

I never knew how much more there is !

But it is so frightening and so lonely at times. Because leaving that comfortable, familiar, familial tribe was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and yet so viscerally necessary that I couldn't stand one more minute of exhortations to lift my hands higher to prove that I was really 'serious about God' or hearing about more and more programs to attend to 'grow in my walk'.

And if I sound 'bitter' or too harsh, I'm not. I'm not saying that it is wrong - only that it is too small. At least right now.

In our search to liberate Christians from old rituals, we created new ones. In our desire to create a free space for people to worship in, we suggested only one, or two, ways to do it - and any aberration outside this norm is either suspicious or simply not seen as holy enough.

Eyes closed, hands raised, clapping loudly, hearty Amens, one or two hallelujahs.............................. and there we have it!
The really faithful are separated from the not-so-faithful, the 'backslidden', the not-so-serious about God ones.
We all know what row you need to sit on, who you need to speak to, who you need to be friends with to be truly 'influential'. We all know that the value of 'excellence' is first and foremost, and your scratchy, flawed and very human voice is not needed in this ministry of excellence, thankyouverymuch.

......what am I saying.

I don't know. I know so little these days, and I have so many questions.

Four years ago, I knew so much and had so very few questions.

But I think, I guess, I feel, I intimate that this right here is going to force me to grow..........to change.............to live a true life.

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