A Journey Away

Friends, there has been a long silence on this blog, and I’d like to explain why.

I have always striven to make this blog as honest as possible: about mental health, about military service, about theologically difficult concepts. But, I don’t know that I’ve been as honest about what the Christian religion means to me – where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I see myself in the future.

My faith has meant many things to me at different times in my life. At times, it’s been a blessing and a strength. At other times, it’s been a great burden and a thing that injures. I have been faithful at times, and I have strayed at times. I have counted the cost of discipleship, and I do not shrink from the price.

Something different is happening inside me now. I no longer have the patience or the grace that I have struggled to maintain in the face of toxic theology and those who practice it. It no longer seems like something that I can fight, this battle for the soul of Christianity. I have tried to dedicate my life to following the Jesus that I see in the Gospels, but so many Christians seem to have found a completely different Jesus than the one that I see.

Perhaps they’re right, and I am in the wrong. Perhaps the God of the Universe is actually as petty, capricious, and vindictive as many Christians would make him out to be. Perhaps he is simply indifferent to our plight, seeing us as beneath his Divine Notice.

Perhaps he is not even there.

Or, there could be something entirely different going on. Perhaps, the God of the Universe is so vast, so all-encompassing, that it is impossible to know it. Perhaps God is Nameless, Faceless, forever a Stranger to those who would seek to define and worship it.

Where does this leave me, this constant exploration that always leads back to doubt? I’m not entirely sure, and I’m not sure that I will ever understand my own thoughts on the matter. But, I know that I am journeying away.

This is not a journey away from the one that I have set my feet to follow. If anything, I feel closer in discipleship than I ever have. Rather, this is a journey away from all the toxic ideas that have led to a faith in a God that you can only really worship with fear and self-loathing.

This is a journey away from the lines that are drawn around God, and the lines that are drawn in the midst of people – to keep some out and some in.

This is a journey away from the idea that we are all doomed from birth to lead lives of barely contained evil.

This is a journey away from the idea that action is somehow less important than an intangible faith, and that we must accompany the first with the second in order for it to have any value.

Mostly, this is a journey away from the lies that I have told myself for years, the molds that I have constantly tried to force myself into. This is a journey away from both passionate declarations of faith and renunciations of it. This is a journey away from the conservative fundamentalism that declares itself infallible, and the liberal fundamentalism that declares itself unassailable.

And, as hard as it is to admit, this is a journey away from the Church that has been my life vest and safety blanket for so much of my life. This is a journey away from the creeds that have defined me, the worship that has shaped me, and even – sadly, but almost inevitably – a journey away from friends and family that will see any such journey as a damnable heresy.

In the next few weeks, I hope to write about what this is a journey towards. Something is waiting down this road – perhaps something and Someone. As frightening as a journey can be, I need to see where it leads.

As Bilbo Baggins says, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

And, “not all those who wander are lost.”

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2 thoughts on “A Journey Away

  1. Wow!

    Well, of course I am sorry for all the angst. (My word for it, not yours, but…) And particularly, I am sorry that your journey is away from church.

    I am a churchman through and through (Matt. 16:18). I always seek the Body of Christ and his healing touch, even if it is found in us earthen vessels (II Cor. 4:7).

    That said, I am totally frustrated by the church EVERYDAY of my life. Read my blog and see what I mean. I feel ya. It seems we are a mess.

    Still, I persist in faith that church is the Body of Christ and is his design. I would not call it infallible, far from it. Just read the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation. Just read almost every letter of Paul (certainly Philippians, Galatians, and I and II Corinthians!). No. We are fallible and apt to face judgment. But we are still the Body, that healing Body.

    I hope you will reconsider that. But I will definitely share my sympathy with your frustration therein.

    God bless you on your journey. Seek him, whatever…

    X

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