Friday, March 25, 2016
All across the progressive Christian Twitterverse I see happy tweets of folks anticipating Easter. But I have very mixed feelings about it all. Holidays like Easter and Christmas always leave me feeling that way. I know I’m supposed to really be into it. But sometimes it feels more like opening an old wound. It feels disconnected rather than joyous.
That’s because I am what is known as a “Done.” We are the legions of people who went to church for decades, faithfully attending every service, home group, Bible study, and members meeting. But now we are just done with it. We are not done with God or Jesus mind you. But we are definitely done with church.
It’s a lonely place to be because I find that even my progressive Christian friends feel a need to “re-church” me. What they don’t seem to get is that the reason I don’t go is not because I am bitter or backslidden. It’s not because I think I’m superior, or that I don’t need community. It’s because I deeply believe in community and in church. It's a long story, but it comes down to looking for all the things that church is supposed to be, looking for community, looking for Koinonea, and not finding it.
After years and years of looking for that, what I am "done" with is, I'm done with pretending. I'm done with settling for the fake and the hollow. That's a hard choice I made after lots of struggle and prayer. That kind of choice feels is especially hard on times like Easter.
There’s not much talk about this among progressive Christians. I remember being really excited to read Rachel Held Evan’s new book Searching for Sunday, thinking that maybe she was going through the same things I was. But in the end ... warning: spoiler alert ... she ends up deciding that she wants to go to a Mainline church instead of her Evangelical one.
I just can’t do that.
Believe me, I’ve tried... and tried and tried and tried. But I feel completely out of place there, like a fish out of water. Same thing goes for Orthodox churches. I just can’t. I'm honestly glad Rachel found her Sunday, but I never did.
Let me stress that I know that lots of folks have found homes in these churches like Rachel has. If that's your story then that’s great. Really, it is. But it just does not work for me, and does not work for a lot of us. So I’m homeless. I’m a “Done.”
Most of the time that’s okay. But Easter is one of the times in the year where all those longings get stirred up. Listening to all the happy tweets, it can feel sort of like I’m the Grinch sitting on Mt. Crumpit listening to all the little Whos singing their happy carols.
Go ahead little Whos, and keep singing. I like your songs.
But I’m writing just in case maybe there’s someone else out there who feels the same. I'm writing to all the other "Dones" this Easter. I don’t have a solution for you, but I can tell you that you are not alone. I want to say to all of us that if the risen Jesus could come and find Thomas, that same risen Jesus can find you and me wherever we are at, too. Here’s hoping.