Realizations

As an introvert, most of my thought processes struggle to achieve some form of articulation. Often, they just sit in my mind like a pot of old coffee. However, there are two things that have been simmering within me for a few weeks now, and both of which have recently found their way past my lips and become real to me. In a way, confessing them has given them an ontology.

1. I’m more fascinated and captured by what people do with God and sacred texts than I am by God. Faith has become increasingly difficult for me. I do not see this as a bad thing. My optimism urges me to say that this is a phase. Regardless, the ways that I have previously regarded the beliefs of my Christian tradition no longer feel genuine and honest. This influences the ways that I approach and participate in communities of faith. I am still figuring out the best ways for me to freely and truly be me in a church community without being disregarded as unbiblical and liberal, and stripped of my voice because of the way I read the biblical text. That’s a valid concern, right?

2. God doesn’t make sense to me outside of community. That is to say, the practice of Christianity is lost on me without a community to practice it with. I think this second realization is a good thing. I also think that this second realization and the first are closely related. I haven’t been a part of a believing community in about 7 months. Seven months is definitely not a long time in the scheme of things, but it is the longest I have ever been outside of a church community.

I thought that I could be one who could sustain my faith in a happy, post-church bliss. I can’t. Church is weird, and it’s difficult for me to get past that, but I am ready to try for the sake of community and for the sake of nurturing something that is so central to who I am. I’m torn between feeling like this is a twisted and dysfunctional relationship or something that marks some semblance of maturity and grace.

Thoughts? Have you recently returned to church? Still outside of a church community? How has your faith been strengthened or diminished apart from or outside of a church community?

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1 comment
  1. In #2 you wrote ” 2. God doesn’t make sense to me outside of community. That is to say, the practice of Christianity is lost on me without a community to practice it with. I think this second realization is a good thing. I also think that this second realization and the first are closely related. I haven’t been a part of a believing community in about 7 months. Seven months is definitely not a long time in the scheme of things, but it is the longest I have ever been outside of a church community.”
    I find this also true and relevant to the concept of church “ekklesia” which is synonymous with community in Greek. Church is the body of believers. It is the body of believers, according to the faith, who are called to act and literally be the body of Christ, by “tasting and seeing”, by witnessing and living. Therefore when the holy fathers of the early church speak of the “ekklesia” it is with this in mind.
    One mind, one faith, one body, one relationship with the Triune Godhead.

    Keep posting, Pete! You’re on to something.

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