Sunday, May 24, 2009

marking 125 years

I might think I've done my time as far as church goes, but it is nothing compared to the 125 years of Launceston Tabernacle - Christchurch - City Baptist, or whichever incarnation you wish to recall! In recognition of my eight years at the church I decided to go to a small portion of the celebration this afternoon.

It was kind of cool to reflect on my place in the 400 year history of the Baptist denomination and to remember my great-great-great (however many it is) grandfather's role in the early days of Tasmanian Baptists. At the same time it was weird being back in the church building - I haven't been all year and (apart from Easter Sunday) haven't missed it. I listened to the presentation outlining the current work of the church in the local and global community and the wonderful partnership between current leaders and I kind of cringed. That wonderful partnership was difficult to see eighteen months ago. I felt galled by the smooth glossing over of the reality of humans rubbing up against one another in church. I resented the idealised picture of church life that was drawn. I hate when reality is lost in the need to feel good about who we are.

But however I felt about the official bits, it was good to be see people in all their imperfect friendliness again and just enjoy the chance to connect and catch up. I would write more about my journey into leaving church, but it's been a very positive thing for me and I don't want to muddy it with these reflections here. In fact I might delete this post later, but I've been so woeful with updates I thought I should write something. Rest assured I am doing very well and feel invigorated once more.



At 1:04 am, May 25, 2009, Anonymous deanna said...

"I hate when reality is lost in the need to feel good about who we are."
That sums up so well my experience, as does your paragraph about visiting people "in all their imperfect friendliness." We're imperfect! Why can't churches exist as though we are? We're just little people, making our way.
Anyway, don't worry if you feel like deleting this with my comment. But I appreciated the glimpse of your processing, and of course I couldn't help mentioning mine. :o)

At 8:48 am, May 25, 2009, Anonymous deevar said...

Oakden just celebrated 127 years and leading up to it we've had a weekly history lesson about the glory days and why they're not glory days now. I think the senior pastor wanted us to go on a trip....a guilt trip. Bit sad. And now we're loosing the music pastor for more reasons than his health.

At 9:29 pm, May 25, 2009, Blogger Cherie said...

Your reflections here are echoed throughout Christendom, I'm afraid. There's an enormous shuddering felt by a minority - like you, and Deanna, and me, and others - and it's painful to witness.

Thanks be to God who knows all and purposes reality for good!

I'm glad you are doing well and feeling invigorated. Climbing out of a dark place has that effect on people, doesn't it.

(And please, don't ever feel obligated to post. I don't. ;)

At 12:46 pm, May 26, 2009, Blogger Heather Plett said...

I would love to read more about your journey away from the church sometime, if you ever feel motivated to share. As Cherie says, I suspect there are many of us feeling the "enormous shuddering" and it's always good to recognize fellow travelers on this journey.


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