“What Am I Doing Here?”
What a big fricken question. What AM I doing here?
Well, for starters, I am sitting here thinking about what to write because I felt compelled to start up this blog. I’m not always sure why, to be honest. I do know that since I completed school, much to my surprise, I miss writing. But I think more importantly, I miss expressing myself. Not in the fedora wearing, guitar playing, pipe smoking kind of way – but I miss being able to think and speak freely without needing to craft it in a way that people will find beautiful. I like rough, unpolished, authentic thoughts. I like conversation. I like challenging my own perceptions and challenging the atmosphere of the world around me.
And you would think those characteristics would be the perfect fit for a life of Christian ministry. After all, aren’t we said to be following a Christ who challenged the status quo, who promised a love for all people, exactly as they are, who called to people ready and willing to learn? Yet, I am faced staring at what, at times, feels like an endless uphill battle against the unyielding currents of Christian traditions that run hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.
And I know I am not alone in this feeling, but I also know that I miss this type of expression because it is not something I currently have. The fact of the matter is that at this point in time, the church continues to struggle with where it is heading, trapped in cyclone of redundancy with no discernible way out. The fact of the matter is that ideas which challenge what we have come to accept as gospel truths (pun definitely intended) are shut down and ridiculed as “fake news”. The reality is that churches across this nation are all left wondering why they are sifting away like with no promise of rebirth. It’s as though our American experiment is in fact a Monsanto suicide seed, and we are nearing the first frost.
And if all this is actually the case then I find myself back at the question: What Am I Doing Here? Why have I climbed aboard a seemingly scuttled ship, hoping it will sail? Why am I choosing this over thousands of other life pursuits?
When I was in college, I was part of the Student Government Association. I made some of the best friends I had being a part of that organization. But man, did we take it seriously. Organized meetings that strictly followed Robert’s Rules of Order, heated debates that made their way to both school and local newspapers, along with rallies, demonstrations, and letters to the state capitol hoping to bring about some sort of civic change. I remember in my sophomore year getting fed up with all of the stupid bullshit that was getting in the way of us being able to do any sort of meaningful work: petty drama between members of the senate, huge arguments over inconsequential issues, divisive politicking, you name it – it was all just bullshit.
My friend and I went to talk with our faculty supervisor to let him know we wouldn’t be seeking another term on senate. When he asked us why we told him that it just wasn’t worth it to put up with everything. He said he understood, and then asked us why we joined in the first place. We talked about a passion for being involved in something that could make a difference, enjoyment with having the opportunity to serve other people in some capacity, working for the betterment of the student experience. Our supervisor looked at us and calmly told us that the decision was ultimately ours, but that if people who cared deeply about the potential of an organization decided to walk away, the cancers that hinder it from realizing its potential will never change.
We both remained involved on the senate until we each graduated.
As I realize a strong connection between my emotions from then and now, I also realize that the lesson remains true, even when I can’t feel it. There is a lot in this world that can turn us away God. Perhaps the way we have come to even think and talk about God is antiquated, but let that be for another post. There is a lot that can turn us away from the notion of religion in general, and rightfully so. There is plenty of evidence to be cited as to why religion brings about more harm than good, and it would be evidence that is irrefutable.
I once heard it said that despite all of the destruction and pain this world and the people of this world have experienced, faith and religious groups are still the best example of people coming together for love for one another that this world has, and I believe that to be profoundly true.
We find ourselves at a crucial point in time, where we must make a choice. We are watching the church die at the hands of our own apathy and inability to grow as children of God and people of faith. What are we doing here?
I believe this world is full of people who care a great deal about those with whom they share this life with. I believe this world is full of people who care passionately about growing to better themselves physically, emotionally, spiritually. Unfortunately, the Christian church as a whole has been arrogantly rooted in the belief that the message and opportunities it believes it offers are somehow good enough, and it is the job of those on the “inside” to show the rest of the world how to look at it so they may see it that way, too. If we believe ourselves to be people of faith and spirituality, let us ask ourselves what we are doing here: let us ask ourselves what our mission is and if we are truly prepared to embark on this challenging yet oh so beautiful journey.
This world needs a change, a moral revolution, as William Barber states it. The church can be that catalyst if God’s children stand up to change the tide. We must start by naming and engaging with those topics that we like to avoid. We must seek to listen to hear and not to respond. We must open our hearts in ways that will move us to open our minds. It starts with us – people who want to make a difference, and believe that is what we have been called to do. God is still speaking – let’s not let it be a one sided conversation and get to work.