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"Secret Life" – Feedback #1

18 November 2006

Wow. The responses to my last email/blog have been quite amazing. Since I send this out on email, few people get to enjoy the feedback of everyone like they would if they were posted feedback on the blog. I’m going to send some to you all so that you can feel what I felt…affirmed, accompanied, and fueled.

 

I recently wrote a letter of apology to my former shepherds. With the help of one of them, I figured out that in my attempt to be open and honest, vulnerable and transparent, and in my desire to be useful to and approved of by them…that I oftentimes come across self-righteous and judgmental at worse, and unrealistically idealistic at best. Both of which understandably made it quite impossible for them to let their guard down to see if there was anything worthwhile for them in what I was compelled to say.

 

In light of that, a quick word to my brothers and sisters who might wholesale “disagree with me” or feel attacked and judged. I want you all to know that I am not attempting to be “on the warpath”, although I know it can feel like it…sometimes stemming from my own disgust with my past self, sometimes from my woundedness and defensiveness, and never really about you. I’m not looking for you to change your mind on things to adjust to me. I’m not even sure I’m right. Might you listen to the following collection of variously aged, quite different-from-each-other-and-different-from-me people and see if maybe there is something worthwhile to take away from what is going on inside of us? Can you look carefully and lovingly for a common thread among us that might be somewhat valid and in need of addressing? While we don’t need you to agree and change, we are afraid of your rebuke and dismissal. What we want is your friendship, brotherhood, and partnership in our becoming. We want to humbly be “church” with you, and you with us. We don’t want you to leave, and we don’t want to leave. We don’t even want there to BE a “you” and “us”, but a “we”.

 

Maybe you could lay down your defenses, at least while reading these with no one present. Just for these few minutes pretend that you have nothing at all to defend yourself of (which you don’t) and no one to defend yourself against, and look for things to validate in us rather than where we are dead wrong.

 

Do the first one first, then we’ll promise to hear the second one next.

 

“I’m speechless, moved to tears and it’s like you looked into my heart and put what it said on paper.” – 30ish year old mother and lifelong member of the Church of Christ

 

“This sounded like a personal autobiography, written in the second and third persons.” – 45ish divorced life-long member of the Church of Christ

 

“You were right, I couldn’t stop reading the email.  I didn’t have time then or now to do any of this, but I couldn’t stop reading and I can’t seem to stop typing.  I have felt such a stirring in my spirit – it’s been getting louder and more vocal by the day.  These last few months have been unbearable.  I feel like such a hypocrite in my own church.  We talk about things we don’t do.  We all have this altruistic idea of Christianity and yet when we leave the church it doesn’t follow us.  I grew up swearing I would never be like the ‘Sunday’ Christians who taught me.  I swore my church would be a living, breathing church.  The trappings of this world would not entice us and we would not be bound to it.  Yet that is where Satan has lured me without my notice and I have begun a battle against it.  There are a few who share our fight, but not many that we know of.  We have actually considered VERY seriously moving churches.  We want to be with people who feel our passion for the lost. But maybe we are being called to stay right where we are and help awaken the believers we worship with. Maybe I should be focused on helping those around me climb. I’m going to have to pray a lot, but I think God needed me to see something.  I can’t thank you enough for sending your email.  It’s not very often you get something in your email box you can’t stop reading.  Sorry for such a long response.  May God continue to change your life so you can help us change ours.” – 35ish mother and life-long member of the Church of Christ

 

“Thank you for your article on the your not so Secret Life of Discipleship!  The Spirit of God is at work and he is glorious. Your essay brings me a lot of comfort about a partnership.  We live where you live, in liminal space, the Wilderness past Egypt, but still striving for home. Just wanted to say thanks for the article.” – a 55ish minister with the title “Dr.” in front of his name

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One Comments to “"Secret Life" – Feedback #1”

  1. Brian, your article said so many of the things I have been struggling with over the past few months/years. I, too, like some of the others have considered changing churches to find one that more closely resembles my heart’s desire. But I also sense God telling me to stay and work for change…if we all left, would it be better? I’m not sure.

    But, anyway, thanks.

    a late 20’s girl…life-long member of the Church of Christ…seeking Him more than ever before

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