During my trip to Costa Rica last month, I felt compelled to find a quiet space to read a book I have started many times but couldn't find the energy - the mind space - for.
This time, by a quiet pool in a national park in the Costa Rican jungle, the book clicked. I was swept away by the writer's poetic way of speaking deep truths I had become mindful of in the weeks and months since I stepped away from a decades-long church ministry.
I have felt in a sort of no-man's land when it comes to faith and to church.
I have never lost a sense of love for and curiosity about Jesus. That is rock solid. One of the most real and true things about me - I want to be a person who follows in the ways of Jesus.
But Christianity? The way it is being lived out and portrayed in our country right now, at this particular time in history, with a focus less on the things Jesus tended to focus on and more on announcements of what kinds of people are anathema, unwelcome, or even worse, bound for hell? I have zero time for that.
I am not alone. There are so many people out here ... wandering away from churches, or worse, kicked out for being fully themselves ... stumbling around, dazed, bruised, traumatized. All sorts of feelings about organized religion, but always, always, always, a sense of being drawn toward the Divine, toward the deep things of life, toward Christ in some way, shape or form.
I love these people. I am these people.
Listen to how the author of the book I finally read puts it:
There is an enormous contingent of thoughtful people in this country who, though they are frustrated with the language and forms of contemporary American religion, nevertheless feel that burn of being that drives us out of ourselves, that insistent, persistent gravity of the Ghost of God.(Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer)
... that insistent, persistent gravity of the Ghost of God.
That is what keeps drawing me home, even when I have walked away from my church of 20+ years. Even as I walk into a new place of worship and ministry.
Even in every wilderness ...