well thank you, my friends, for taking this crazy journey for the past 2 weeks. i am looking forward to getting back to the normal rhythm around here next week, 1 maybe 2 posts a week. whoa, i can’t imagine blogging this much every week!
but my hope for this series was always that we could get all of the posts out there in one big swoop and then over time, people would be able to access them as they needed over time. i have been blown away by the responses & emails & ways that people have shared what this has stirred up. there are so many of us out here finding our way.
it reminds me of part of a cheryl lawrie piece i love that’s on the refuge website (she’s a prison chaplain in australia & all of her stuff rocks):
ezekial 37, again
you do not give up on the broken and the lost
you do not give up on the fractured or the shattered or the dying or the dead
you do not give up on the fearful or the hateful or the impossible
you do not give up when there is no heartbeat left or no heart at all
you do not give up you do not leave us for dead
yeah, we are not left for dead.
some people might give up on us.
but God doesn’t.
there is so much hope for us.
a huge sign of life is that we are actually still in, trying to talk about this hard stuff.. people may criticize us and call us lost or angry or a host of other adjectives, but the beautiful thing is that we’re still in, trying to find our way toward God. that, in itself, is a miracle (especially considering what some of you have gone through). i also know some of you haven’t had painful church experiences but just “grew up.” i would say the same thing to you–it’s glorious that you are wrestling with cultivating a more free faith despite the costs.
as we wrap up, here’s a quick recap of the major movements of the rebuilding process:
rebuilding after deconstructing – there are many ways we find ourselves on this scary, weird, unexpected path, but our stories probably have many of the same threads–doubt, emptiness, loneliness, sadness, fear, anger, and confusion.
honoring the process – growth and change in our faith journey is often labeled as rebellion, divisiveness, and heresy, when really it is just maturity trying to emerge. as we honor the stages of our faith, we find strength.
acknowledging losses – there’s a helluva lot of grief in this process, and it is so helpful to acknowledge what we’ve lost and allow ourselves to feel the real feelings of grief.
discovering what remains – when we are deconstructing and can’t hold to some of our old beliefs anymore we need to work to discover what is left when it comes to our faith, what’s still there that brings hope.
finding what works – finding what works is about experimenting with different practices and ways of being that create life, passion, and connection with God.
celebrating what was – celebrating the good parts of our past helps us honor what was and actively move toward what is and what could be.
igniting passion – as we keep moving, we begin to find purpose, meaning, and ways to channel our hearts & energy & time in directions that bring life & hope.
exploring possibilities – even though it’s often scary to re-engage, there are ways to find new forms of safe community & connection with other people of hope.
what’s next? it’s trusting the path, remembering we’re not lost.
in fact, we’re on a path toward a free-er relationship with God, others, ourselves.
i was reminded of these passages this morning:
“can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…and I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (romans 8:35, 38, NLT).
even though people around us might worry about our souls, i hope we can trust that our souls are not in danger by engaging in a deconstruction process. i’m pretty sure God is plenty big enough to hack this and love us through it.
and that’s my overall hope for all of us in these shifts that we’re making–that somehow, some way, we’d experience and trust God’s love for us more deeply, clearly, fully and become more secure in it. i think that’s always been the idea. the world doesn’t need more, fear-filled insecure christians, it needs more peace-filled, secure ones.
deconstructing can make us insecure, less sure of so many things. and even though it’s true that we might be less certain about a lot of peripheral things, my experience has been that if we stay with the process we emerge much more secure in God’s love for us, our neighbors, the world.
we actually become more secure in the end.
we can discover that less is more.
that in our weakness we are strong.
that we don’t have to “know it all” or prove it all.
that a simple faith can be a stronger faith.
that we are loved, really loved, just as we are.
yeah, i have seen over and over again how this path leads to life, not death, if we keep walking. the road is scary & bumpy & freaky and many people may tell us we’ll be eaten by wild animals or sucked into quicksand on the way. the more i walk it & see others walk it, too, the more clear i feel that it’s a good road. a secure road. a road-worth-traveling-so-we-can-keep-growing-loving-learning-and-becoming-more-free-in-the-good-and-wild-ways-of-Jesus.
let’s keep being brave.
we are not alone.
we are not crazy.
God is with us. he’ll never leave us for dead.
we’re in the midst of resurrection.
* * * * *
ps: even if you don’t normally comment, it would be so great if you’d be willing to share in this thread what this series has stirred up in you, the good, the bad & the ugly. it is so helpful to all of us in different ways, to hear a wide range of experiences.
coming next week: things people said & did that helped you in this process (and those that were oh-so-not-helpful) + practices that sustained you during deconstruction. i hope you can contribute. we need to make some good lists!
thanks for reading. your stories bring me more hope than you’ll ever know. peace, kathy