it has been a year

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You ever have something effect you with such intensity that you can't express it with words? When the combination of education and life experience that lead up to it magnify the event to a point that trying to explain it to someone else would be impossible without days and days of dialog? And why bother because even then the explanation would not be understood anyway because the listener would have had to go through the same experience in the same way in order to really understand. What do you do?

You go on sabatical.

This is where my dear hubby and I have been for the last year. To the chagrin of a few of our more evangelical friends and family who have a hard time fitting the notion into the perfect structure of their "just go to church" world, we have taken a break. Not out of some selfish whim of wanting more sleep time on sunday morning (although that has been real nice) or some other seemingly lame reason but from a deep seated instinct that it was what we must do. Being on the "inside" through Bryan's full time ministry brought us to this point and perspective. Just to clarify, we are not talking about one church experience, but many with many similarities from several cities and two countries.

It is a tricky thing to follow God when he is clearly leading you away from the church. And there were a great many conversations with God that included phrases like,"are you sure?" and "this feels weird so it must be wrong", only to be given a jolt of confirmation in some form or fashion that God's intention was our best interest and that meant no church. So weird and surreal.

Like that commercial: "You have come to the end of the internet. Go back."

So yesterday my sweet hubby comes home with his one year evaluation of the "secular" job that seemed less like a God-send a year ago and more like a survival tactic at the time. It is amazing how much perspective one can gain in a year. Of course his eval recorded a stellar performance because he is just that kind of guy. And looking back we marvel at God's provision and direction, to the point where sometimes we feel like someone needs to pinch us.

So what have we found in the secular world of work that was often missing in a pro-ministy setting?

• more days off vacation, sick, personal, etc. (we can't get over how much time there is)
• family comes first (yes this has been much more evident in the world vs church experience)
• overwork and burnout is discouraged (no really, it's not just lip service)
• strengths and giftedness is rewarded and respected (not expected and exploited-ok that sounds harsh but there is no other way to say it)
• there is ministry here

Ok these are the main ones. If I go on and on with some of the other smaller things it will sound like I am trying to build a case which I am not. Don't need to. (Which in itself shows that there is something wrong with the institutional trends) At this point, a year out, I simply marvel at what we have found outside the fishbowl. I mean I used to think that the verse Mt 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" was somehow miswritten, or at the very least not meant for those in ministry for Jesus.


So what is broken? rachelle says it much better than I ever could in the church, as an institution tends to eat its young. The title sounds a little harsh but after living almost twenty years in the ebb and flow of ministy structures I found her words to be pretty bang-on. And maybe this is why we are seeing a few of our peers also washing their hands from what has become a sometimes program and finance driven institution. A lifelong friend called us just last week to tell us he was out. I was sad and happy for him at the same time. He didn't have to dialog for days because Bryan and he have traveled the same path for years. We understood.

I do believe that God directs and that there are seasons that are meant to be just that. It has been great to be given a new season and some new perspective. I do mourn for those that are caught in an intitutional cycle that doesn't reflect well on the church and which I believe God never required. Especially when this cycle breaks down families. What seems like virtue is simply the building of empires. Today's example of the fallen man.

1 Comment

poetic blair, raw, honest poetic courage...thanks.

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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on May 17, 2005 8:03 AM.

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