I chat a bunch online in blogs and on Facebook about “church” and the institution it has become. But, nothing encourages me more than the number of people I run into online who are refugees of the institutional church, and they keep telling me they have nowhere to go.
Let me define “have nowhere to go”. I talk a lot on this blog about me and others walking in a post-institutional wilderness, so when I say they have nowhere to go, I think it is more about not “knowing” where to go. I have learned over time that this is a good thing.
Just like myself, and many others, I still feel a strong passionate desire to “belong” somewhere with someone, but simply do not see any possibilities out in the so-called wilderness. What happened to me, and I am sure many others out there, is the established institutional church system passed itself off as the only “God-approved” vehicle for fulfilling our religious and spiritual obligations, and without it, many people remain in a state of spiritual limbo.
Spiritual limbo to me is knowing what I will never return to, but am unable, or find it relatively difficult, to find anything to replace it.
This state of spiritual limbo can be called in simpler terms “ambiguity”.
This state of ambiguity is so repulsive to the institutional church. When I was at my wit’s end, and in the last gasps of living in a naive state that had me suckered into believing that a community of institutional christians would actually WANT to remove itself out of the “futileness” of a church system, I concluded that the overall corporate sense of ambiguity that began to emerge in the church I attended was actually the best thing that could possibly happen to me. The church was getting large and was heading into a state of vagueness, which for me was my wake-up call.
To this day, it was my conviction, that it is only in this state of vagueness, by not having all the answers, not demanding safety and security, and not relying on a religious hierarchy to define reality, that true and miraculous spirituality is possible.
When I was told that “ambiguity” had to be nixed from my vocabulary because “ambiguity” did not represent the secret religious code, or the final rule of the institution (i.e. the money, the structure, and everybody’s thinking process must be in line as a “what we believe” consensus), that was the stepping stone I needed to get outside of the so-called “fantasy” world I was partaking in.
The “fantasy” is that the “church” is the building, the leadership, the liturgy, the buildings and services; the Sunday school programs, the doctrinal statements and structured hierarchy.
Of course the church is none of these things.
See you in Vagueness!