Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Emerging Joe Misfit

If I speak for anyone, I think that I can speak for the average Joe (or Jane) who finds himself out of step with church as usual.

It seems like two left turns past traditional and a right just beyond conventional and you find yourself in the middle of the emerging zone wondering, "How the heck did I get here!"

Next thing you know, you are using words like resonate, praxis, and missional.

What are you supposed to do with your desire for change, the nagging discontent with things as they are?

Should you be the one to create something different, something that expresses the values that are in your heart?

When is creating something different necessary?

When is it better to just adapt, adjust your expectations, and become the change you wish to see?

Sure it would be great to be supported and encouraged in your values, to be surrounded by other like-minded people. It would also be great to win the lottery and wear a size 4. Oh well.

Maybe publisher's clearing house will come knocking on your door someday.

And maybe someone will start an awesome emerging missional community just around the corner from where you live...someday.


Lily said...

Those are great questions, Grace - ones I'm certainly still trying to answer.

I'm assuming they are rhetorical questions. For myself I put them like this: So is it time for me to buck up and be the voice of change in a "church", is it time to start something "new", or do I continue to wait it out? At what point should I know? At what point should I realize I'm just being too idealistic? At what point, if I don't feel like I have the answers, should I wonder if I'm in rebellion and not just "disenfranchised"? These are what's weighing on my heart.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Wow. Grace, you might as well have been speaking for me. I am stunned at how well you captured both the passion, the questions and even the slightly cynical disbelief that your deepest wishes will actually come true. Thanks for giving voice to this.


Robbymac said...

Or maybe Alice Cooper will show up in your home group next week. :)

Trailady said...

I believe it is always best to listen to the Spirit inside. If you are feeling strongly that change is necessary, it's probably accurate. There are many who condemn any form of discontent, but without it, we would never move beyond the step we are on.
Church as usual doesn't cut it. I believe God is asking for something more.

Blessings to your journey! :o)

Trailady said...

PS. Have you had feelings of depression since beginning your exodus from churchianity? It's been a real struggle for me and I face serious feelings of isolation.

Bruce said...

Maybe. Someday.


grace said...

We seem to be very much in the same spot with all of this. Too bad we're a couple of thousand miles apart!

It surprises me that you feel these things also. I thought the emerging grass was greener up there in Canada. :) It's great to be in good company, like yours, while we all try to find the answers.

Well there you go! Alice could be the worship leader.

It's great to see you back again. I'm looking forward to seeing some posts about your adventures.

Your words were encouraging. Sometimes discerning our own motives can be tricky.

After our incident of spiritual abuse, I went through the stages of grief, including feelings of depression and isolation. I don't believe that it was at the level of clinical depression, but it was definitely beyond the point of pray, read your Bible, and just snap out of it.

I would say that it's only been in the last 6 months that I feel free of the depression. The first 2 years were a tumult of emotions. Year 1 was mostly hurt, anger, and confusion. Year 2 settled into more feelings of withdrawl, loneliness, and depression.

While I didn't like it, I accepted it as a result of what we'd experienced. I gave myself a lot of grace to simply be where I was emotionally by reminding myself that it was to be expected considering what had happened. I think validating my own feelings and experience was a helpful part of healing.

Probably the hardest time of feeling isolated was when I was disconnected from my old friends and not interested in making new friends. People kept telling me to trust that the Lord would bring the right relationships to me. But I didn't trust that. It seemed he just wanted me to be alone. And I hated it.

During that process, I think that God shifted some of the dependence that I had on social relationships to focus more on Him and on my immediate family. While I still enjoy social activities, they have a much smaller place in my life right now.

With feelings of isolation, it's important to take time for activities and people that nourish you. It's also important to know when to find that nourishment in the Lord. We need both.

Sorry that got kind of long. If you have any other questions, I'm always willing to talk. You can also e-mail me at

I think your "wouldn't it be cool" post triggered this. I've read several things recently that have me thinking about whether to start something different or just to be something different.

Trailady said...

Grace, Thank you for sharing so candidly. I value your input as I feel we are on similar paths.

Keep listening to that still, small Voice inside. It is your true north.

Blessings to you!!! :o)