Jen Hatmaker just shared a post about the re-issuing of her book, Interrupted. It is her story of growing disillusioned with her church experience and seeking something deeper. She writes
When I wrote Interrupted, I felt alone, crazy. Brandon and I thought we’d struck out as pioneers, fighting for a church that was gracious and kind again, advocating on behalf of the poor and ignored, searching for a prophetic voice in a context where we’d lost our thunder almost entirely.
I haven’t read Interrupted yet, but from Jen’s description it sounds similar to some of my own experiences. Except that, at the moment, I can’t relate to her energy. I don’t have the tenth of her energy. Maybe once I had a quarter of it, but not now. And I can’t quite relate anymore to her willingness to leap back in.
I was all in for my whole adult life up until last year, out-monking the monks as Martin Luther once said — taking class after class at seminary, involved in every kind of ministry, even doing fundraising (which I was surprisingly good at) and attempting evangelism (which I was so so horrible at, at least the kind that I was supposed to be doing). I did youth ministry, lead worship at church and small groups, taught Bible studies and lead small group discussions, preached a few times, went on mission trips, did campus ministry, international student ministry, homeless outreach, served on missions committees and other committees, and finally lived in an intentional Christian community for seven years. Seven years. I just moved out last September.
I’m tired. Last fall when I left the community I was trying to figure out what to do next. But I had no energy left to do anything. So I finally decided to give myself a break and just rest. It’s a little weird to not be involved in a church or other Christian group, to not be going to meetings or discussing the Bible or praying with others. A little weird, but mostly, hugely, almost overwhelmingly good. It’s like I’m taking a deep breath for the first time in years; drinking a big glass of ice water after living on sips of tepid water for so long. I can hear myself think, hear my own heart, feel my own body. There is space inside me and around me, space in my house and in my days. I feel like myself in a way I haven’t in a very long time.
I have a lot more to write about this — a LOT more — but for now I just wanted to share an encouraging paragraph from Jen’s post. I do believe this, what she writes. I’m just not sure where I fit into it yet, or if I ever will. But it’s still encouraging to read.
If you are plagued with tension or discontent or a nagging sense that there must be more—that there has to be a faith somewhere that rings true and hopeful and gracious, a faith other than this mean, ugly, partisan, judgmental, self-indulgent version of Christianity, which has to be total bunk—then get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars. God has blessed you with this inner conflict. He isn’t leaving you in complacency and boredom to check boxes and do church. He has enlisted you in the cause of your generation and is calling you forward. You lucky thing. You will not be left and lost, wondering what all the fuss is about, wishing things would never change.