I’m always grateful for how kind people are when they respond to something I’ve written. I know a lot of my blogger friends have to deal with trolls and asshats who make nasty comments, but I’m a small blogger and I don’t have to deal with that too much. I have a small, faithful following of people who love me and believe in my voice. (Carrie, I’m looking at you!) Even so, and probably because they love me, many of the comments to my posts the last couple of weeks have been some kind of version of “It was great, but it was short. I know you have more to say about that.”
It’s true. I’ve been very careful about how I talk about the small church and what a mess it is right now. I’ve been careful about how I talk about making the decision to leave, and I’ve been careful about how I talk about being at a new church. I’ve been careful about what I say and how I say it, except with my closest friends who’ve heard every swear word come out of my mouth with, um, gusto.
But, here’s the deal, guys — I’m over being careful.
I don’t mean that I’m over being gracious and handling myself well. I mean, I’m over worrying about upsetting or offending or, quite frankly, pissing off someone else.
I have a story to tell about how a church and a leadership staff made me feel small. I have a story to tell about lies that were told and manipulated, and that left a wake of hurt for me and people that I love. I have a story to tell about the organization of church falling short of helping, healing, and being Jesus.
And I want to honor that story, because God has drawn me to Him by it and through it and ultimately I want to honor Him.
But, I don’t know how to wade the line between being honest and being mean. Not right now at least. I’m filled with so much venom for people at the root of the cause of all of this, there are pieces of the story I can’t tell just yet and there are pieces I will probably never tell. Because it wouldn’t be kind or loving or gracious, and I refuse to dishonor God any more than He has already been dishonored in this mess.
I suspect that the first step in pulling some of these pieces together is acknowledging the hurt and the venom. If ultimately what I’m asking for from myself and the people in my life is realness, then I have to start being real. I can’t pretend that this mess hasn’t changed me, or the way I think about church, or the way I think about church leadership, or my role as a woman in church. And I can’t pretend that I’m not beyond thrilled to be at a new church that’s oriented toward Jesus and is giving me what I’ve needed from church for the better part of a decade.
And I’m hoping that if I start to be honest, then we can be honest with each other. Honest about how we’re feeling, and how we’re coping, and where we’re struggling, and where we need help, and where we see God moving. And I’m hoping that in the honesty and story sharing, we can borrow from each other. Borrow strength, and hope, and grace, and maybe even a little optimism.
But, it starts with being real. Join me, won’t you?