Sunday, July 11, 2010

uncomfortable thoughts about "church people"

OK, this may be just a time to vent. If so, feel free to move on. But I promised to write, and right now this is on my mind. I've been a "church person" for 25 years. I've been in ministry for 22. I have loved most of the churches and ministries I've been a part of. I have known many wonderful people, developed beautiful friendships, been taught and loved and encouraged and challenged.

But right now, I'm struggling with church and church people. Leaving my last ministry has been extremely hard, even over a year later. I know it's impossible to be objective, but I still feel like I was wronged by some people that I loved and trusted. It was hard watching people I really respected and admired make some choices that looked very poor.

I have seen a couple people that I considered good friends turn their backs on me, refusing to communicate at all--phone, email,'s hard, not knowing why people don't want to be friends anymore.

What prompted some of this was thinking about different people in my life; especially some who have been incredibly supportive and helpful over the past year, or even longer. What was interesting was realizing that many of them are not "church people," or even Christians.

There is K; a good friend who doesn't consider himself very religious--although he is becoming more and more spiritual in his thoughts and actions. He has helped me out financially and emotionally over and over for many years. He has supported me and put up with me and loved me unconditionally.

My friend N, who is not a Christian, and who I rarely see these days, but continues to follow me on facebook, and always has words of encouragement.

My relatives C and L; not church people, but the kindest, most giving people you could know. The always give and encourage and serve.

And several of those who have been there for me, who are Christians, are not necessarily ones I have been in church with. They come from other backgrounds and traditions--but have truly lived out the Kingdom in our relationship.

These are people I have close, open relationships with--regardless of church connection. So what does all this mean? for me, I realize that church is not where I am finding my spiritual support these days. Now, part of that is because I speak in different churches on Sundays; so I'm not at the church where we belong a lot. And it's hard because we live 45 minutes away. I would like to be in a church that is closer, but our kids are really invested there, and it has been great for them.

Now, I do have many wonderful Christian friends who continue to love and support and encourage--especially J, M, A, K, D, E, T....and others.

But it struck me that the spiritual support in my life is mostly outside of a church community. I have mixed feelings about that. I have some thoughts, but want to spend some time with them before writing more.

I am always curious about feedback--who is supporting and encouraging you? Is it happening in church? out of church? both?

I'm off to umpire a baseball game, which is usually a very spiritual experience for me!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

back again

I am the world's most pathetic writer. Four months since my last post. It's been hard to get motivated when I don't feel I have much to say. Being unemployed has a lot to do with it--after a year, it's easy to start feeling pretty low about my value as a minister and teacher. There have been a couple jobs that looked promising that didn't work out. I had an interview for a teaching position today that I thought went well. I should near something by the end of next week.

I'm tutoring and umpiring baseball. Still searching, applying, sending resumes, both here and in Washington. We were hoping to move out there this summer, but it hasn't worked out that way.

One plus to unemployment is having a lot more time with my family.

The highlight recently was graduating from Leland. Twenty years after taking my first class, I completed my MDiv. (Although I still have one class to finish up; I'm taking it as an independent study this summer.)

The graduation ceremony was great, and Jamie and my mom gave me a wonderful graduation party.

I am feeling the pull to write again--actually, it never leaves me; but I ignore it, and hide from it. But all I can do is keep trying.

Still feeling out there as far as community. We are back at New Hope, but I don't feel a part of things there the way we used to be. We'd love to find something closer, but haven't found anything yet.

OK, got to run--need to job hunt, and Top Chef is on soon.