Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A More Complete Picture

In my post of Sunday, the comments were so good. Two of them urged me to be careful to not dismiss the power of the resurrection, which is at work in us now. Husband and I talked about what I had written and what the article I had referenced said and he also was uncomfortable with the whole tone of it.

You are all so right. In re-reading the article in its totality there is an air of despair and futility that I actually do not feel. I get the point that the author was trying to make that Jesus does embrace our brokenness yet I am convinced that he longs to heal it. I have seen resurrection power in my life and in others around me. I am changed. I am being changed. In coming to a place of repentance – even here in this time that I am walking through in my life - that is changing me. It is healing me and transforming me. I have seen the victorious life. I have seen healing, wholeness, transformation, deliverance and salvation. Here in this life – now. I also live with brokenness but I do not want to celebrate the brokenness – I celebrate the Love that loves me when I am broken and longs to heal me. I celebrate not other’s brokenness but my ability through Jesus to love them even in that place and give them a hope that there really is a healer and one who desires to pull them close to himself. Those two are different.

I am bothered (in re-reading the piece) by his words that seem to give that changing power of the love of God a seeming second place. Yes, Jesus does embrace our brokenness but gently, by learning to lean into him, he also begins to heal it. Not every time. But scripture is replete with the heart of God being revealed to do this very thing.

I guess I have spent so much of my church life trying not to look broken and also not loving those who were broken, that it struck a chord of resonance in me. When that happens I tend to get tunnel vision. I state things too brashly. I make things too simple to get across my point. I become lopsided. And sometimes when Husband or someone else tries to point out what I am missing – I may get a bit prickly.

There is truth in so much of what we write but I need to be careful to examine things from all angles. I’m not very good at this. I often go off onto tangents that leave Husband fearing for my life. I don’t actually live that way for long but I’m sure it is scary.

Which is why I need others in my life. I posted one day on Mary’s blog that I think very linearly. Therefore I, in my attempt to get to a point, may miss some very important and crucial elements in the whole picture. Husband thinks circularly. He is more apt to see the bigger picture with all the fine details. Best Friend is also like this. You think God thought I needed others around me who were not like me? Duh……

So thanks to you who are commenting. Keep challenging me. Thank you, Husband. Your patience with me is amazing. I need to lean on you more.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for receiving the comment in the spirit in which it was intended.

It's a touchy issue with a lot of people, to be sure. Michael (the Internet Monk) and I have gone around a few times about it, including a private email exchange regarding the very post to which you linked.

Personally, I think it boils down to a conscious choice to focus on one thing or the other. We can't simultaneously dwell on our brokenness while claiming to live in the power of the resurrection.

Acknowledging our position B.C. (Before Christ) is extremely important. But recognizing our position in Christ now (if we have trusted in Him) is even more important.

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation...all things have become new."

Blessings on you!
steve :)

Anonymous said...

Hey... I'm another whose on the journey out of the institution. I think. We're really close to announcing our departure from 12 years of ministry so that we can begin another vocation and other forms of ministry as the Lord leads.

I came out of a really tough time of what I'd call spiritual abuse. I'm still healing. If I was going to say one thing, I'd say: Give yourself time. Don't be too hard or critical of yourself even in the lowest of the lows. Allow yourself the freedom to bleed a little because, as far as I can see, you've got some deep wounds. Thats OK. Jesus likes the wounded cause his is one.

During the early months after leaving our last church I wondered if I was going to be able to breath some nights. I still have some pretty shaky moments. But I'm learning that Jesus is enough. I mean that I don't have to be strong because he is. Don't try to work anything up... start leaning on him more, giving him more credit, resting in his strength. You don't have to be strong because he is.

Blessings to you my sister. May you know the peace of our Savior in this moment. May he be close in your darkest moments.

Watchman said...

greetings from the watchman,

a fellow traveler who has broke ranks with The Church As We Know it for a few years now. I read your blog with great interest as it is more evidence to me that the Church of The Future is being fashioned.

I felt terribly alone leaving a vocational ministry career of 18 yrs. There were some very dark times, but I would say the morning does come again, just don't try and rush it. you can't.

I've bookmarked your site and will follow along as you chronicle your journey.

Barb said...

Husband said that you nailed in in what we choose to dwell on. thanks

Jeff, thanks so much. I don't think you can hear enough encouragement at this time especially from those who have also walked down the same path.

Watchman, welcome. I am honored to have you read. Please enter the conversation as you wish.

Former Leader

Anonymous said...

(i am not sure if you got this before? i was in a hotel room and had computer woes?)

former leader, i have been reading your blog here and there for the last season. there's something about your story that has drawn me in. although my situation is completely different, i was not in a legalistic church at all, "leaving church" has many of the same dynamics that i can relate to and i have a lexicon of christian words that make me cringe! i don't comment often but i wanted to on this one because of a concern about your response to the comments made on your brokenness entry. when i read the comments, i winced, not because they are wrong--of course resurrection power is so possible & real here on earth, no doubt--but because this is exactly the kind of thinking that we can so easily slip back into when separating from legalistic evangelical christianity, that when we speak of brokenness, struggle, uncertainty, doubt, that we are not "faithful" enough and something is wrong with our belief. i know that is not the spirit that the author intended but i guess i am bringing it up as a thought to ponder. i encounter this all the time--that people think that because we value recovery, healing, honesty & brokenness, that we allow people to stay stuck and never get healed. it's such messed up thinking. we use criteria to evaluate whether someone is "getting it" or not and when they say the right christian words to make us feel better, we breathe a sigh of relief. if you used the word "resurrection power" you would have made people feel better. just because you didn't mention it, doesn't mean you don't believe in it! the tendency to say "you know, you're right, i didn't look at it from all angles, i must have missed it" is a bit dangerous this stage of the journey, i believe. don't be afraid to put out where you are in the moment and not have the theology behind it all lined up. that is the part that drives me absolutely crazy about christians-that we're not allowed to wrestle. your small entry of connecting with what i believe was a beautiful and intriguing thought solicited a "yeah, but you didn't mention this part..." we are not required to have all of the ins and outs buttoned down all the time. you are allowed to lean into brokenness one post and resurrection power the next. i personally always lean more toward brokenness because without it, resurrection power is impossible. he came for the sick, not the healthy, those who are spiritually poor not all put together, who realize their need for God, who mourn, who are in desperate need of mercy not in desperate need for praise of how "spiritual" we are. everyone forgets that part. you do not have to cover all of the bases at once, especially when you are entering into uncharted territory. i believe wholeheartedly in the beautiful journey you are on to discover who you really are in Christ apart from "church". may God flood you with grace and remind you you don't have to have all of the angles covered every time...kathy

Barb said...

Kathy, thank you so much. No, I had not recieved your post as of yet.

You are right in your comment. I know that in my journey of being "Church Lady" for so much of my life, I constantly said things to people to please them and their line of thinking. That is what got me into the place of belonging to a church that abused so much of the true doctrines of and heart of Jesus. I know still, that that is in me. I want to please everyone and let them know that I am ok. I want them to know that I have covered all the bases and yes, I too believe in ressurection power or other such central tenants of the faith. In this time in my life Jesus is healing me from some of this. You are right, it is there.

At the same time, I love this forum for people to comment on what I am thinking. I love the ones who disagree as much as the ones who allow me total freedom to be what I am at that moment. It truly is an expression of the body of Christ. Some move in gifts of compassion, others in teaching. I know I need both.

So thank you for what you had to say to me. I am trying to let this journey take me where the Father wants it to. I have not been compassionate to myself or others around me who are broken. Therefore if He needs me to see that for this moment He may take me farther down that path than others would have to go. It may look like I am concentrating on one area over another. And that is ok.

But He may also use friends who are not afraid to carefully say, "watch out for that cliff" when they think I am getting close. I am confident that those who comment here are part of His journey for me.

Therefore, keep enouraging me to not let me slip back into Church Lady when you see it. I value that.

Former Leader

Anonymous said...

Hi there Former Leader,
I agree with Jeff. Don't rush the healing. There are those who are eager for you to heal in their own time because to them (I've dealt with people like that), they thinking you're taking way too long. Don't let their expectations push you to "recover", because healing takes time.

It took me years and I think I'm still recovering, to heal from the abuse I suffered in my first church. But thank God, I've come to a point where despite facing yet another dissapointment with church leaders and scuh, I'm less hurt.

It'll come a time when you can even think about your former church without the painful reaction you get, and I have friends who have even forgiven their former abusers that they'd talk to them.

So take heart, although it may not be an easy journey, it's a journey that is not impossible. :)