“Writing Searching for Sunday forced me to consider that perhaps real maturity is exhibited not in thinking myself above other Christians and organized religion, but in humbly recognizing the reality that I can’t escape my own cultural situatedness and life experiences, nor do I want to escape the good gift of my (dysfunctional, beautiful, necessary) faith community. This consideration made the writing process infinitely more difficult and infinitely more rewarding. I suspect it is having the same effect on my faith. The truth is, I am a Christian, which means I am religious. And I am an American, which means my Christianity is profoundly affected by privilege, by Western philosophy, by 17th century Puritanism, and by Psalty the Singing Songbook. My American Christian heritage includes both Martin Luther King Jr. and the white segregationists who opposed him–a reality that is both empowering and uncomfortable, but one I can’t escape, one I want to look squarely in the eyes. Loving the Church means both critiquing it and celebrating it. We don’t have to choose between those two things. But we cannot imagine ourselves to be so far above the Church that we are not a part of it. Like it or not, those of us who continue to follow Jesus will have to do so with our adopted siblings by our side. Yes, we are called to grow and mature, and yes, our convictions and denominational affiliations will likely change, but I’ve found I’m a better writer—and a better person—when I’m more focused on outgrowing the old me than I am on outgrowing other people in my community. After all, this is Kingdom growth. There aren’t ladders, only trellises.” Rachel Held Evans
and all the powers of hell
will not conquer it.”
Jesus, Matthew 16:18
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you decided you must either only celebrate or critique the church?
- “Those of us who continue to follow Jesus will have to do so with our adopted siblings by our side.” Hasn’t this always been the hard but inescapable reality about the church? It’s often hard to bear with others–but then remember that old joke: “If you find a perfect church, don’t go there. You’ll only ruin it!” Are you trying to escape inescapable reality?
- Are you focused more on “outgrowing the old you” than you are on “outgrowing other people in your community?” If not, why not?
Loving Lord who loves us, teach us to love one another.
For More: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I truly appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)