Better Days at Thoburn
I know I’ve been quiet on my blog a lot lately, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. After some contemplation, I think I realize that the angst and general confusion about what to believe that drove me to write a lot of these posts has mellowed out a lot over the last few months.
I think a whole lot of that has to do with Thoburn, the church I’ve been going to for about two months now, and the one I now consider my home church. Being with the people there gives me room to breathe, and I’ve understood for the first time that there are Christians out there who are not going to give me pat answers to impossible questions.
In my small groups at Thoburn, we’ve already had discussions about women in church leadership, interpretations of Genesis that aren’t literal, and the fact that the big bang might be a display of the glory of God and not a fact that disproves his existence. We’ve talked about contemporary news stories, and how to approach them as faithful Christians.
And the kicker—the discussion that really made me feel at home like nothing else—we talked about biblical interpretation, and how there is room for more than one way of viewing the scriptures. It’s been so wonderful, I feel as though no one in the group is trying to push their own beliefs as God’s universal and immutable truth. In our small group, we seem to recognize and embrace a diversity of belief, and not claim that you can only believe one thing about a particular passage and still be faithful to the scripture, and take it seriously.
For example, our group leader Adam, who is the associate pastor at Thoburn, made a passing reference to hell. Yet he followed it up by stating that though he believes in hell, it is simply that—his belief. And we are free to disagree. And that disagreement just may be valid.
There have been so many little things like that which have made me realize how desperately I needed a community like this. I am still warming up to everyone, still getting used to the idea of being part of a group that largely consists of middle-aged adults. Up to now, I’ve mostly been with groups of people my own age, and sometimes I feel unwise and like I don’t have a lot to offer the discussion. But I’m slowly learning to share and offer my input anyway.
And I’m also just enjoying listening, because the discussions are always so very welcoming.
And it is such a relief to know that it was largely my church environment that was fueling my anger and frustration and my contentious spirit. I won’t say those things are gone, because I think that tension will always be there as long as I am a part of the body of Christ and I am in community with people whose beliefs differ drastically from mine.
But my motivation is different now, I feel less persistent and more patient, less self-righteous, though no less earnest.
Hey. Perhaps that means my new church is doing what the Church is supposed to do—support me and challenge me and journey alongside me in my walk toward a more Christ-like way of living.