In the last post, I wrote that I would “explain how I am rethinking my life in terms of Jesus’ new paradigm.” I plan to split this up into two or more posts.
* * * * *
In 2007, I left the Elder Board of my local church. In my letter of resignation, I told the congregation that I was on a journey. That statement has proven to be more true than I knew at the time. Some might use the term “process” rather than “journey.” Regardless, I can see clearly that, over the last 5 years, I have indeed gone through a process of significant change as I have walked a road less traveled.
Subsequent to my departure from the Board, I developed a degree of cynicism about much of what we know as Christianity (some use the pejorative term churchianity).1 More importantly in terms of my progress, I became cynical about my own experience of Christianity. Skeptical, even.2 In saying this, by no means am I implying that I lost my faith. Those close to me can attest to this truth. However, those same people easily discerned that, while I was questioning and even rejecting a number of my beliefs and Christian practices, I was searching for something. Dealing with a person who seems to be perpetually deconstructing a religious system, but offering little in the way of constructive alternatives, naturally leads to the question:
What are you looking for? What do you want?
Frustratingly, I could not articulate what I really wanted. Whatever I was looking for, it was clear that I was not going to find it within the context of the church. Forty years of experience had led me to this surprising conclusion. I expect that most of the readers of this blog, to one extent or another, have questioned their own practice of Christianity and are on a journey toward… something. My question to you (and please answer by way of a Comment) is this:
What are you looking for, as you engage in your various religious practices?
1 Every generation of Christians has their cynics or, at least, people who routinely take the status quo to task. Try this one: “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.” (A. W. Tozer)
2 Rob McAlpine wrote extensively about this process a few years ago, ultimately compiling his ideas into a formal pdf. No doubt, everyone experiences such a process uniquely, but many who have left the church can identify with multiple components of Mr. McAlpine’s analysis. Blogs written by those who have left the church have multiplied in recent years. I have observed that the authors of these blogs initially write about their angst with the church, but gradually move toward a focus on their own spirituality, which invariably grows and deepens. Cynicism is replaced by hope.