Tuesday, November 06, 2007

In Repair (Pt. 5): Don't Look Back In Anger

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching in the last couple of months. Being ejected from a church that you had fallen in love with will do that to you. As mentioned in previous posts of this series (scroll down to begin the series of "In Repair"), I have no anger towards the church that I was at (99% of the people had no clue what really happened (and probably still don't)), towards the few people that caused the problem because of ego or power or whatever the underlying suppressed need was that drove them, and not towards the pastor who refused to stand up for what was right and just, and instead take the easier and possibly safer road out.

I can't say that I've completely healed from this experience, but I think I'm in somewhat of a better place. Not a better place than the church I was in, it was a good church with good people, but a better place spiritually. As any who have read my blog have seen, this event has opened up a whole world of questions and frustration with the Church (the universal Church) as a whole that I had suppressed because I believed in the goodness of people, and in the goodness of the mainstream Church. That's not to say I don't believe that now, but I want to admit something!

I have trust issues now. Issues that I didn't have before. I have a fear of the mainstream Church because I know (not just from my last experience but from many years of being in mainstream churches) that many times the people care more about keeping the status quo of their traditions than they are about doing new things to reach people that they are no longer being effective towards. I know change is hard, but it is indeed necessary!

More than that, I have trust issues with pastors. I'm not the only one who has this because of a similar situation. As I mentioned, a friend told me soon after I was asked to leave my last church, that, "Justin, you can't trust pastors! They are always ego driven and will always choose to act out of self-preservation than out of doing what's right." Again I say that this is the saddest statement I've ever heard, and there are only a few pastors that I have met that don't fall into this category! So there are exceptions to that rule, but I have to admit that the majority of pastors I've met DO fall into this category! So, yeah, I have a little bit of a trust issue with pastors. Can you blame me?

But that's not just coming from someone who has been in the ministry, but many people who have left the mainstream Church have felt these same things. I guess my problem is that I have always been more optimistic than most of my postmodern companions. This doesn't mean that I won't give pastors I meet the benefit of the doubt, but it DOES mean I will be on my guard a lot more than I have been. That's part of the postmodern anti-institutional mindset: people in positions of power no longer automatically deserve your trust. In fact, it's just the opposite: that position of power makes you not trustworthy in the eyes of those who distrust institutions, esp. the institution of the Church. So trust and to a degree respect has to be EARNED... which from a ministerial POV is not a bad thing... we should have had this attitude anyway!

So I said I'm in a better place... well what I mean by that, is even though I have many questions and a few hang-ups, This time in the wilderness has allowed me to finally DO many things that I've only thought about. I, along with a few other people, began a group that is ministering to those that the Church is missing. The postmodern people. I feel like I'm doing true ministry where they are and creating something that no one else (or at least very few people) are creating. Our group looks nothing like a church, and that's fine we aren't a church in the typical sense. But we CAN be church for those that need us to be church for them.

I'm also looking at opportunities career-wise that I would never consider before I came into this time and place in my life. I don't want to tip my hand so I'll leave it ambiguous, but I'm exploring any and all avenues of what the "next step" should or could be. That's not to say I won't get back into the mainstream Church. There are churches out there that have a heart for doing what God calls them to do. That may be a place I want to be! But no matter where God takes me, I rest assured that I'm in his hands. I am healing nicely, the scab is gone and only scars remain... but no anger!

I am not angry at anyone. I DO want closure and some honesty from some people, and eventually I think that time will come. But I can only move forward in my life, not "look back in anger". And since I've never once named the church or the people involved in this incident, I will refer to them/the incident as "Sally". Sally, the above Oasis song is dedicated to you, and also represents the place I am now! I in now way mean this song sarcastically, just honestly it provoked thoughts within me having not heard it in a long time! Sally, you don't know how much I wish things had been different with you, but it is what it is, and I am where I am...following my journey wherever it leads!

Don't Look Back In Anger--Oasis
Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don't you know you might find
A better place to play
You said that you'd never been
But all the things that you've seen
Will slowly fade away

So I start a revolution from my bed
'Cause you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside the summertime's in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace

Take that look from off your face
You ain't ever gonna burn my heart out

And so Sally can wait,
she knows it's too late as we're walking on by
Her soul slides away,
but don't look back in anger
I heard you say

Take me to the place where you go
Where nobody knows,
if it's night or day.
Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a Rock 'n Roll band
Who'll throw it all away

I'm gonna start the revolution from my bed
'Cos you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside cos summertime's in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
Cos you ain't ever gonna burn my heart out

So Sally can wait, she knows it's too late as we're walking on by
Her soul slides away, but don't look back in anger
I heard you say.

At least not today.


  1. That's off the "What's the story (Morning Glory" album...great song.

    Good post. Honest. Sucks what happened. But it could be all in how you look at it. Perhaps the Master used imperfect people to drive you into something that He was calling you into.

    Could be...

    I wrote a blog called "What a Mind Job" in July. It goes well with your bit about change.

    Keep going. You're doing well

    - Shadraq

  2. A few posts back you argued in favor of relativism. In this post you make the statement that the pastor didn't do what was right and just. If there is no absolute truth (relativism), there is no such thing as right and just. That requires a standard that everyone must adhere to (defeating the relativism argument.)

  3. Anonymous,

    I am not arguing in favor of relativism, but rather trying to find a better way to explain the misconception that " ALL postmodern people think that ALL truth is relative." Just wanted to clear that up.

    Secondly, you actually bring up a good point. "truth" is not an easy term to define. Philosophers and theologians have been trying since the beginning of those disciplines. It is even harder to define in terms of morality. I could spout off a LOT of philosophy on this topic, but if you want a slight overview check out this:


    esp. see Foulcalt, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Kant

    However, when making the statement about the pastor, the justification of that statement would be better stated this way. He did not ACT in a way that was in accordance to that of his ACCEPTED belief/ethics system. Although he may not personally believe (relativism) that he did something just, It does not live up to the necissary commandment of being a disciple of Christ ("Love God/Love Neighbor") This commandment however, can be argued (which I will not do) is relative to the Christian faith.

    You have not "defeated the relativism argument". You may have convinced yourself, but an idea as long as someone believes it cannot be "defeated".

    I respect your views against relativity, and my only goal was to find a better way of explaining the concept more correctly. Please be as respectful to others on here that may read and find it helpful by not using argumentative language. thanks for your comment though. I encourage discussion, not debate.

    please feel free to follow up, I would love to hear more of your thoughts if you are willing to enter into discussion. Just please do not expect me to debate you.