Sunday, January 13, 2008

My One Goal for the New Year

Found this pic today over at Backyard Missionary.

It's just a picture sure to offend some, make some angry, hurt some and make others laugh.

But as I was making pancakes for my boys this morning I thought how well it shows our fallen, human nature.
The past year has been an effort to change myself (and have Father change me) from the religious "Church Lady" that I had become. But something about this picture plagues me. Will I end up changing one thing to only to turn into something more ludicrous?

From Church Lady to anti-institutional jerk?
From Church Lady to emergent jack ass?
From Church Lady to I have all the answers now - just follow me?
From Church Lady who trusted too much to one that trusts no one.
From Church Lady who at times led people by manipulation to one who no longer leads people anywhere.
You can just see the t-shirts can't you?
Not that I have met any of those. Nor have I picked that flavor up from you, whom I read. I just know my own propensity to want to have THE answer and being so proud.
See, I hate this area of not knowing. I can float along here for a while but to never really know - to never have The Plan still drives me crazy.
But then maybe if I never have the plan, maybe if I never really know what Father will do in the next year or next week I will avoid growing into the man in the picture...looking more ridiculous and being more dangerous to myself in what I have become than even in what I was to begin with.
In my old life we were encouraged to come up with our goals for the new year. My goal for this year is to not become a religious caricature of the man in the picture.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Leaving and The Truman Show

8 months out of leaving our former church and I am still learning some things. I was talking to my daughter the past few days. It has been a hard few weeks for her. For one, she ran into a whole group of teens and youth that still attend our old church. The sight of them and their subsequent shunning of her was so hard to take. It brought up all the old hurts in a way that I was shocked at how much she was still angry and unhealed. As we talked I realized that my leaving and her leaving were two different things entirely.

My leaving was much like watching the movie, The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey. In fact I was fascinated to see how the plot of the movie detailed my life in our church Some highlights:
The director tried to appear benevolent but it was all for the money and his
Those who dared go against the master plan of the director were quickly removed.
The whole plot depended on everyone playing their part.
Those who actually made the show happen had to pack away their conscience.
When Truman started to question his surroundings the usual tactic was used to
convince him that he was the crazy one.

And that was my church life. Like Truman, the first thing that I finally saw as unreal (for Truman it was the spotlight that landed in the street – for me the questioning of the use of titles) started me to question all the other things. It was because of my questions and the ensuing answers that did not match up to what Jesus taught, that I left.

But for my daughter it was not that at all. For her, she left because of the hurt and pain that she was made to feel from the people there. In fact she actually left a year before the rest of us did.

But because of this, I don’t know how to really help her. For me, I am just able to realize that I and everyone else were deceived and therefore I have changed my mind. This gets easier and easier the further away from May that I get. This does not work with her though. She has been wounded. She still bleeds. To see someone or think of times in the past will throw her back into the hurt of the day it happened. It is as fresh as if it were happening again, all over. The unhealed-ness is heartbreaking to watch and I feel helpless. Of course I know all the lines I would have told her last year at this time…”you just need to forgive, just trust God to work it all out, try to pray more, just have faith.” Fortunately, I know how wrong those would be to use on her right now.

Best Friend says it just takes more time and someone to talk to. I believe that and am more than willing to wait but do any of you have any more advice for us? Is there anything I can do with her or for her? She trusts me. Our relationship is really good which is amazing since I in so many ways encouraged her to just take the abuse and not say anything because these people were our leaders.

The best line by Truman’s best friend (one of the cast): “Nothing you see on this show is fake…it is merely….”controlled”.” For me, I realized that it was controlling and walked out. For my daughter, she was one of the ones who was controlled and thus hurt.
What do you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wrapping up the Old Year and Blogging in the New Year

Christmas was a wonderful time with family and close friends. My, how I am grateful for the close friends. It was our first Christmas out of our old church. The first Christmas without having families over that had been here for desert for years and years, yet it was not as painful as I thought it might be.

Daughter #1 got married the very same week. Since we had left our old church and many of our friends had decided not to associate with us anymore the number was small and more intimate. We invited many of our old friends whom had also left our CLB after being with us for many years. They had been with us while my daughter was growing up and loved her. They were so wonderful to have. They also seemed grateful for us to all be together. One even wrote me a thank you note for being included. They had no idea how wonderful it was to us to greet each one as they came through the door that day. Each person, each friend, was a gift. Each hug was healing. Although we missed some dear, dear friends who have been blinded by the “truth” that they are living in, the day was somehow very full.

I remember writing on Grace’s comments once when she had hosted a party of old friends, that I could not wait for our turn someday. It was our turn and it was wonderful.

As I enter the new year with my leaving our church behind in the last year, I have pondered what form my blogging will take. I began this blog to have a voice out there to chronicle the leaving from an Apostolic form of church government that became hierarchal and abusive. I wanted others to find it and draw encouragement from my process. It is always a struggle to me though on whether to post the personal stuff or to engage in the many conversations about what the church should be, missional churches, post – charismatic churches, etc, etc, etc. I love those dialogues but somehow don’t think it is time or my place to primarily engage in those topics here. I will as they impact my journey, my every day life, but not as just a topic. I will continue to write ‘my story’ at least till the year in leaving is up in May.

When I am Weak - Parts 1 and 2

A good New Year to you All!!

I read somewhere on someone’s blog once that you can usually find what you want to say, only better, in someone else’s’ words if you look long enough.

The last two posts of Abmo on Windblown Hope have been brilliant, encouraging and comforting. This is what building up of the body looks like. Please read part 1 here and part 2 here and add him to your blog visits.

It is still hard to believe that I don't have to be the first lady (Church Lady) he describes anymore. Not that I could.

Updated: part 3 here