I’ve had an eventful year and I’ve been involved in several situations that I’m just not comfortable going public with. I can tell you as one who once gave up on organized Christianity my fledgling hope that the centre will move gets tested a lot. Some people I know and respect are making the right noises. Others are so wrapped up in survival or religious performance they can’t see the forest for the trees. I read a few books on spiritual abuse over the last year. One of them, Toxic Faith, had an interesting theory on what makes someone an abusive authoritarian church leader. The authors believe the dysfunction in these leaders stems from a religious addiction. Some people are so bent on religious performance that actually begin crave the next ministry success much like an alcoholic wants their next drink. People are ultimately just obstacles or avenues to the next fix. If you’ve ever felt dehumanized by a church leader, it was probably because you got in the way of their next fix.
I’ve seen the temptation in my life. Raising one of my step-children is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. He is the one person I can make the biggest difference for but I flirt with the temptation to pursue other “ministry” and just ignore the opportunities I have at home. I recognized this and decided to home school, and now that the school year is almost over I regret not committing more and elbowing more time out of my schedule. I think I’ve done ok, some things I’ve done really well. Others, not so much. In my life I became very used to succeeding at what I put my heart in to, this year I’ve struggled to accept myself in the face of failure.
Maybe one of the reasons I haven’t been able to write anything terribly profound is because I’m having a hard enough time with the basics. This year has been a lot of listening, loving and accepting. I’ve learned that God loves the abused and the abusers. Recently we just planted a new simple church from our first one. Now we are two house churches (my book and conference tour are pending) in our little network. For all the talk of being missional I’ve discovered that if we are faithful and loving then there seems to be no end of opportunity to share God’s grace with people.