life behind the curtain

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Wizard of Oz

I've been away for almost a week, seeing family and old friends. It wasn't easy to revisit our journey as we updated many with whom we haven't connected for some time. I've written here before about being heart sick about the church, but I was shocked to discover how present the emotion still is, even after all these months.

And I just kept thinking about how we really hoped for something, how we labored and sacrificed for six years alongside people who we thought shared that hope. And I thought about the curtain-is-pulled-back moment we had when we discovered that the partnership we had perceived had been an illusion, when we found ourselves laboring in the presence of No Agreement. And I thought about the low-level grief I walk around with ever since.

One friend says he thinks God knew we wouldn't find what our hearts were seeking in that place, and this may be his gracious way of guiding us to a place in which the longing can be fulfilled. I think I could hope again, and I keep looking for the Real Deal. I'm through with counterfeit religion, and I'm just not in a "healthy" enough place yet to justify how that's doing the world some good, too, so don't rip it, anyone. Five months out, I'm still reeling from the damage.

Kudos to Phyllis, who's been clever enough for both of us while I've been away. Don't miss this great post, which distinguishes between authority and authoritarianism (a topic near and dear to my heart), and this post on why
It's just so much easier to be a "Christian" than a follower of Jesus.