NB: Hi everyone. I’ve made a fast and dirty podcast of this post with my silly little microrecorder. It might convey my inention a little better than words on a page alone. Cheers, Rachelle
So, I wrote this article about my Easter discomfort, and it threw me into two worlds. The first world is the one I adore, where recovering evangelicals and other misfit truth-seekers cling to each other and celebrate discovering a (rek)new(ed) way to be. The second world is the world of religious debate, in which people–people who I like and respect and admire–spend a great deal of time trying to convince me that “we” are wrong and “they” are right.
I get why this is. I get that in the evangelical/fundamentalist world view, there is a Right and a Wrong and never the twain shall meet. Furthermore, for these folks getting things Right is highly valued. In part, this is because not getting it right results in not being right with God, and ultimately in a really long stay in Hell. So it stands to reason that people who hold this worldview want to debate with you about the places where your ideologies and their ideologies do not match up. Of course they want you to come to The Right. They like you. Maybe they even love you. They want you to fix your thinking because they care. They really care.
The problem with this is that we are experiencing cross-cultural dissonance here. Because in the post-modern world, there is not a Right and a Wrong in the same black-and-white sense that there is in modernist country. In the post-modern world truth is not seen as a concrete, attainable goal, but as an intriguing, slippery beast. To post-moderns there is more than one true way of answering the same question–and so the questions, and not the answers are tantamount. In the post-modern zeitgeist, this is fine, because you can hold two different truths in one open palm. But in the modernist milieu, that is not an option.
So, to use a phrase of my father’s “Let me say this about that.“….My target audience is this post-modern group of malcontented seekers. Malcontented Seekers. I know it’s an awkward phrase, but both of these words are important here.
Malcontented: by which I mean “requiring change, discontent.”
Seekers: by which I mean “not willing to stay in the discontent, but being eager to create/discover something proactive and positive, something (re)new(ed).”
I have readers who are modernists, and I thank you for being here. But I’m asking you to please remember that you already have a place to belong. A place to live out your beliefs. A place where others share your convictions. It’s a super well established place with lots of support for your way of being. You can live there in comfort. But the others–the malcontented seekers–not so much. They are out there on their own: beat up and disoriented; hungry and eager; excited to find something new, and more than a little bit sad that they had to leave the former behind. It’s a difficult place to be. And these folks, they need a safe place, and they need to find each other. That’s what I do here. It’s what I strive to achieve. That is mycurrent calling.
So, if you are one of those lucky folks who live happily in a safe and content place; one of those folks who know the Truth and the Truth works for you; if you feel confident in your understanding of things like Jesus, and Easter, and Sin and Redemption–I’m happy for you. Believe me, we all sometimes wish we were there with you. But we aren’t, and we literally cannot be there again. So please try to understand. We aren’t rejecting you. We aren’t trying to pull you out of what you know, or convince you that you are wrong and we are right. But your language is no longer our language, your culture is no longer our own, and the basis for how you form your understanding of the world — the idea that the Bible holds all the answers, or that faith is cut-and-dry, or that all our holy stories are literally true–these things are no longer bedrock for us. So we may miss each other a bit, we may not always connect. And that’s okay. We can still be significant one to another. But we need you to let us explore.
What this means for me, personally, is that I won’t always respond to all the comments from modernist Christians. I just can’t. I’m a chronic pain survior, I’m the mother of several, and I’m an ExPat trying to live in a foreign and difficult (for me) culture. That doesn’t leave a lot of energy for me to play with. The energy I’m left with I am JOYOUSLY compelled to give to my malcontent friends and soulsibilings who’s questions lead them to seek truth in the margins. These are the edge-dwellers and my passion leads me to them — leads us to each other. So their thoughts and concerns will get the bulk of my time. I hope you understand.
That being said, thank you for all who have commented here, and on BlogHer, and on Twitter, and especially on Facebook, where the discussion is the most active. I appreciate your passion, your concern, and your gorgeous hearts and minds.
And to those of you who have come to those same places to be pissy, or sad, or curious, or hopeful, or all of the above–I am so, SO glad you are here. I know that together we can form a giant pool of wisdom that will allow us to create a way of living that doesn’t do damage to our souls. Come join me on the picnic blanket, and bring your most favorite passions–especially the one’s you’ve had to keep under that mattress until now. We’re going to have fun!
Karin and Lindord my friends, play us out, will ya please? …..
Next up at Magpie Girl: On authenticity, niceness, and the benefits of being pissy . :-)