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.