Monday, October 15, 2007

WWJDWTC.....Or….Walking Into The Unknown

(PLEASE NOTE #1: Right off….for those who hate the whole – What Would Jesus Do – theme, bracelets, jewelry, bumper stickers and way of thinking…..I’m right there with you. I’m smart enough to realize that I have NO idea what Jesus would do in any situation. I’m enough of a Pharisee at heart to realize that if Jesus walked through my door today he would probably shock, disturb and stretch me and if I were not careful, humble and teachable; I may eventually want to put him to death.)

That said; Let me tell you why I am participating in a syncroblog entitled; What Would Jesus Do... With The Church. Erin invited those of us who have been looking at the church to spend a month and DO some of the things that we feel the church is not doing. Go here to see the guidelines for this and please participate.

There are two other reasons I am participating.

Best Friend said something to me the other day. She reads my blog hesitantly. I say hesitantly because she is super sensitive to all the negativity that many feel during this time. See, the reason she is my best friend is because she is able to look beyond my faults and sin and annoying bits of personality and actually love me. The only problem with that is that she is able to do that to everyone. Even those who hurt her desperately. So, knowing those that I sometimes write about is a source of hurt for her if she senses that I do not love them in the same way she is able. She misunderstood something that I and another commentator said the other day and told me that, at some time, those of us who had left the church would need to get on with their lives and just live. Even though she misunderstood what I had said, I took what she said and chewed on it. Did I need to move on?

The last thing that happened was something that Wayne Jacobsen said. I was listening to his series on his website called Transitions. He was speaking of sins and those things that we are addicted to. He said that our obsession with anything other than this life in Jesus, is bondage. Our desire and involvement IN sin can be bondage but so also can our desire and involvement to be OUT of sin. Whatever ties up our hearts other than walking each day with and in the love of Father can be bondage. What I felt the Spirit saying was this - being in bondage to leaving a church system and focusing only on that is just as damaging as being in bondage to the system in the first place.

Let me explain, here is the picture I get. Last May, my family and I were in a terrible wreck. (This wreck was all that happened when we left our church.) Everyone involved, everyone, walked away with injuries. Those on each side were affected. It was a terrible wreck. Nothing is or will be the same.

I was not prepared for this wreck. I had no back-up plans. I had not decided to leave with a direction in mind. I had no other transportation ready in case of a wreck. I was left, standing on the side of the road just looking at this mess.

I hate wrecks. I hate that so many had gone before me and experienced the same things. I hated that I had looked the other way and not stopped to help them. I hated that I had blamed them for having the wreck. I hated that I was so much to blame.

I found others who had experienced wrecks just like mine. They were and are invaluable voices for me. They assured me that the injuries I had sustained were not just my own sin. They gave me hope that, in time, the memories of the wreck and those involved would fade. I was grateful.

I did leave the scene of the wreck for a while to ask some people to forgive me. But you need to understand….I had no idea what to do next. Do I look for another means of transportation for me and my family? Even if we found one, where were we to go? Could I ever trust another driver or another mode of transportation? Were we even supposed to have these contraptions that we (the church) travel in?

I started to evaluate everything. Were we supposed to be in this kind of transportation to begin with? What about those who designed the transportation that caused the wreck? Were they to be held accountable? Were there any new designs that would protect us for future wrecks? How about the big transportation companies - the ones who kept producing types of transportation for all kinds of people and the wrecks that they caused? Could we change them? Could we get them to see our point? Was it only the drivers of these vehicles or was it the vehicles themselves? Maybe it was just the direction they were traveling. Maybe if we just went another direction then the wrecks would be eliminated. What really did the original authors mean when they described the modes of transportation that they used? How about we just tweak the accessories on the transporting vehicles? Would that make it better? Maybe different tires, different windshield wipers, different brake systems, different air bags, different forms of fuel. There was so much to evaluate. I could stay here forever.

At Watchman’s View From the Wall’s on What Was That All About, I wrote in the comments last week that it is easier to look backwards and evaluate than it is to walk away into the nothingness of not knowing. In some ways, I have walked away from the wreck but I find that I have walked away backwards, with the wreck always in my sight. And in many ways, I have not walked away at all but only circled it. Kevin says at the end of this very timely article for my life that, “Change can’t occur until we get tired of staying in the same place.” Brilliant stuff huh?

So this month, and hopefully from this point on, I am going to purposely walk away. It is not that I will never look at it again. If it helps someone else to look at my wreck or theirs, I will.

But I need to walk into this nothingness and find out if Jesus, if the Church is really there.

Here is my overall, very simple commitment for the month:
I am going to ask Father at least once a day to show me what he is doing around me that day. If he shows me and if I can be involved I plan to try to act on it.

I have two concrete plans:
One is to make an effort to meet other believers. I have one that Father has urged me to ask out for coffee and I plan to do that this week. I have a few others that He as asked me to make appointments with to see what their lives are involved in now. I will call this week to make those appointments.

The other plan is to go and sit with those who want to be loved. My daughter works at a downtown, late night diner. Many of her friends, who came by our home when she lived here, work there also. They know me. I’m going to go down once a week or so and drink a cup of coffee and see if Father is doing anything among them. It will mean being out after 11:00 one night a week. But I like coffee. And I love these kids.

That is my plan. I will update the blog this month as I walk away. You are invited to read along with me and I hope to also participate.

Please let me know in the comments if you read my blog and are going to participate. I would like to also keep up with your stories.

PLEASE NOTE #2: Father has us each on our own timetable. This happened just when I needed it. Do not participate out of guilt. I could not have done this last month. You may just need to read along and be encouraged for the time when Father asks you to walk away too. The day will come.

PLEASE NOTE #3: If you feel called to look at the way we do church and evaluate it, please do not take this post as a judgment on what you are doing. I am grateful to you who are doing this. I just don't think that this is my platform for right now. There are better and brighter minds out there already working on this. They don’t really need me.

The kids at the diner do though.

Living His Life

11 comments:

Jeff Greathouse said...

I am new to your blog. I came across it because of the synchroblog and am reading everyone who is participating.

This was a great post and I hope that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.

traveller said...

While my situation did not involve a wreck it did involve coming to the realization that I needed to leave the institutional church.

I knew it was necessary to leave for some 18 months before I could figure out what I needed to be doing after leaving.

Now, with another 18 months having passed what I am doing is still changing. Ah, the nature of journeys.

What you are going through is all part of the process. Moving beyond merely criticizing is important and necessary.

Your focus on people and engaging in conversations is a good place to start. My prayer is Father will open your heart to those around you in ways you have never seen them before.

Alan Knox said...

Barb,

"Meeting with others" seems to be a common theme in this synchroblog. You seem to cover both ends of the spectrum: meeting with believers and with those outside the church. I look forward to hearing about the time you spend with other people.

-Alan

Barb said...

Jeff, Welcome and thank you. I will be reading all the others too.

Traveler, thanks for the prayer. That is what I want to have happen.

Alan, I think the meeting with others would have to be one of the main themes since the "body" is not much with only one part and no one to interact with.

Blessings to you all

Jonathan Brink said...

Barb,

I can imagine you finding what your heart needs. Your Father will be right there to shows you the love you give.

Well done.

glenn said...

Barb- I know so much about the wreck and endless analysis trying to figure out want went wrong and just being in too much pain to do much of anything. Like you, I am trying to take some steps to see what God has on the other side of that and I am confident that there is something beautiful there. Yeah God! A new page!

Sarah said...

I really appreciate your blog. You inspire me. I look forward to hearing how things go...

Krista said...

i love it. this month is going to be an adventure. looking forward to hearing how things go. strangely enough i've been re-entering the organized church scene more lately, one of my goals this month is to be more consistent. in an effort to not get stuck in legalistic bling calendars of church events i found that i hada a very vague calendar that was on the spur of the moment at all times, and in the end was spread too thin, not really involved in anything, but involved in everything. so i'm working on consistency.

Barb said...

Thanks Jonathan, I love how this world widens out with each comment. Thanks for your contribution too

Glen, I hope it is a good read at the end of it!

Sarah, you remind me of a girlfriend that used to live close. Your last post on your heart for the nations reminded me so much of her. I wish I could introduce everyone.

Krista, isn't it funny how the Father wants to work on different things with us. It is good to be reminded that he needs to work on consistancy with others as he gets me to loosen up!

kathy said...

i always appreciate you sharing your journey and i try to check in on your blog now and then and it was fun to see you participate in the synchroblog thing, too. one of the things i'd love to see us embrace is the things you plan to do as you walk away from the wreck IS CHURCH, in my opinion, in some of the highest forms. blessings to you as you heal & explore.

Erin said...

Barb - I'm so glad you are with us on this...you are amazing. Your wisdom is amazing. So many people are going to benefit from your willingness to go out there and be Jesus to people in whatever way you can. Thank you.