Occasionally I grasp bits of understanding, sometimes a moment of revelation, at other times recognition of God's voice in the words of others.
The way God spoke to me through your comments on the last post was really encouraging to me. I find myself hesitant, but still wanting to believe that God is involved in this transition we find ourselves in.
cindy pointed out, "I'm afraid your bowl is more crowded than you realize..."
So, let me share some other voices from the fishbowl.
First, keeping it real, david says, "Well, in my case, I am rebellious, independent, crazy and weird." I'll admit to the possibility of a smidgen of those things being true about me also.
I find myself resonating with these thoughts. "I wonder if it is not God Himself prodding us out so that we may continue on in the transformation of becoming the beloved bride of Christ," Pam said.
aj concludes, "Maybe we're going through some adolescent growing pains - things that ache and hurt but are necessary as we mature to become the people we're called to be in Christ."
Along those lines, bruce said, "Maybe our unhappiness is a result of God speaking to us, telling us there is more to this life, and to church, than we've come to expect. Or more than we've always been told."
Perhaps the spirit of God is stirring in our midst. It is encouraging to see that others are responding to the stirring also.
lily commented, "We each have our own journey, our own place to return to, but it's comforting to know there are others who heard the call and are also willing to risk themselves in order to answer the call."
She's right, we will all have our own journey. The big question for many of us remains to be answered. What will that journey look like?
shelley said, "I have been reading 'emergent' stuff for a year or more, and sometimes find myself shouting, Yes! That's It! Yes! But I just don't know what to do with it."
kelly continues, "the options seem so limited when you look at the stage model.. God is not limited, and i just have to keep reminding myself of that."
Also reimagining, jon adds, "Just in the process now of breaking down some of my old conceptions of how church should run and reimagine things a bit. Should be interesting to see what God will do with all of this.
Bob reassures us that, "eventually deconstruction does lead somewhere- if God is in and around it."
fr'nklin wonders, "So many people have told me I'm a "change agent"...but I no longer have the heart for it."
And understanding that tension, robbymac said, "it hurts like forty bears (Canuckian expression) to be crushed over and over while trying to be an instigator of change."
I am still very hesitant to encourage anyone in a church to abandon ship, and sometimes I'm afraid that my posts sound that way. I understand feeling like you are on the Titanic is frustrating, but floating alone in this dinghy is not a picnic either.
Robby also said, "I'm NOT going to sacrifice my kids' spiritual lives on the altar of my discontent -- they want to go; we go. But our expectations are completely different."
traci referring to her church experience said, "I think this time we see things in a different way."
I think whether you find yourself in the institutional church or outside of it, when your vision for the church has changed, your expectations change also.
I honestly don't think dismantling the old is the answer. As I sat in church today, I realized that the majority of people there would be at a loss without the church they understand. They have had no teaching about living in a missional way. I don't think very many would pick up the ball and run with it on their own.
Some final words of wisdom from rhymes:
"I'm no bible scholar but it seems to me that the wilderness was always a precursor to a significant shift in the historical landscape. Moses tending Jethro's sheep, the Israelites, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul... It really makes me wonder if there's a monumental, world-sized shift just beyond our horizon. Some would say that's already happening, but yet here we are, still in the wilderness. It's anybody's guess what happens next."
If God is leading people out, so be it. He is also able to lead them into where they fit in His Body.