Once upon a time, I started a blog, very, very quietly. As in, I told no one. It occurred to me that having a blog (writing in public) and telling absolutely no one about it (keeping it private) were somewhat paradoxical. Okay, okay: they were completely self-contradictory and demonstrated a conflicted mind.
On the one hand, I had decided that a blog was the best way to share my attempts to live the way of Christ in this often-challenging world. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put that much of myself “out there.” It made me nervous. For a month or two I published very occasionally and very quietly.
How quietly? Not even my husband knew.
I told myself that someday I would “go public,” and I wanted to have enough content that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by a site with nothing much on it. But the truth is, I didn’t have a plan or a deadline… I just wanted to try this blogging thing, risk-free. And as long as no one knew, I wasn’t risking anything.
But I forgot something very important. Maybe the most important thing. There is nothing risk-free about real life–especially, life in the way of Christ.
About five weeks ago, at a gathering called “Mortal, Can These Bones Live?” I gained the courage to make this blog public. But I still didn’t have a plan. I just knew that I wanted to be part of the public conversation on life in Christ… and I had a secret blog. If I was to be part of the conversation, my blog couldn’t be a secret anymore.
So I began again.
But the problem is, a conversation about life in Christ can very quickly become a conversation about the well-being of the church. Numerically speaking, the church isn’t doing so well these days. So the public conversation about life in Christ can very quickly be a conversation about why the church isn’t doing well.
Yup, that’s where I went. I went right there.
And in the process, I kind of forgot why I started this blog in the first place: to share my attempts to live the way of Christ. Instead it became a place to lift up signs of hope for the church, and point out signs of the church’s demise.
Then, sometime last week, I realized that my blog was not in any way “chronicling my attempts to practice resurrection.” It was all about the (dis)organized church. For the love of God, I had appointed myself to track the Episcopal Church’s budget conversation! And I thought: What have I done?
The risk one takes, having a public blog, is having everyone (i.e., the small number of people that actually read this far) know when you are not quite on track.
I care about the future of the church. But I don’t care about it more than I care about life in Christ. In fact, that would be idolatry.
God has continually renewed the church, generation by generation, for the last two thousand years. God has had to: people have regularly and consistently screwed up being the church, for as long as it has existed.
I would like to try to be one of the people who does not screw up being the church in my day. I recognize that this is probably impossible. But it’s a noble cause, worth a lifetime of failed attempts.
I believe God has a future for the church which may not look all that much like the recent past. I also believe that future will become apparent to us when we remember that the church exists because of the saving work and risen life of Jesus Christ and his call to be part of his life and ministry, here and now.
So I am not sure where this blog is going. I still care about the corporate life of the (dis)organized church. I particularly care about the Episcopal Church. Not that long ago I vowed to “take my part in the councils of the church.” But I also care even more about “patterning my life in accordance with the teachings of Christ” and “nourishing Christ’s people from the riches of His grace” (all quotes in this paragraph from the Ordination of a Priest according to the Book of Common Prayer).
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The picture at the top of this post is of a fork in the road. It is there because when I began this post, I thought I would be saying that I am leaving behind commentary on the (dis)organized church’s life and returning to the original intent of this blog: to chronicle the practice of resurrection. But in the process of writing, it dawned on me that in fact this is a better image:
This is the parsley that has emerged in my garden from last year’s planting. It is there despite the fact that it would not usually survive the winter. It’s not a road with a fork in it: it’s not going anywhere. It is beginning again, exactly where it always was, in a new season. It is growing a new plant from old roots.
That is the image I want to remember. And, through God’s grace, it speaks a hope I may be able to fulfill. For the blog, sure. But also: for this gift called my life.
Here is my prayer: that I might be one small part of the renewal only God provides. First, day by day at home. Also, conversation by conversation in the councils of the church. And, most essentially: in Christ Jesus forever.
p.s. Title credit, The Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs. (Because my journey included quite a few years among the Unitarian Universalists. Someday, hopefully soon, I will start telling that story.)
p.p.s. If you think this post does not relate to Holy Week… please think again.
Do you ever feel like the conversation on the future of the church distracts you from actually living a life of faith?
Good to meet you! I’m Nurya…
Welcome!Here, a mother and priest chronicles her attempts at practicing resurrection. This sometimes involves small children and organizations known as "church." Other times it just means telling the truth. Occasionally chickens are mentioned. Click "About" for more...
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