It’s been one year since I wrote this letter. It is addressed to the leader of a church I had been attending. This exploration was after a 15 year hiatus and I was feeling enthused and positive, but clear about what I wanted out of sacred community.
I got a short response, saying they would think about the matter and get back to me. We referred to it in passing thereafter but there was no commitment on their behalf to further attempt to deal with my questions.
I realise in retrospect that this might have been my “final letter to the church”. Around the same time, I also had this experience in the context of the same christian movement. This sealed my decision not to persue membership of an existing church, but to find a way forwards without regards to current orthodoxy. I am so glad I did.
I was hoping you could help me shed some light on what I am feeling at present. Our family has been attending … for about a year. In many ways we are contented – there are some good friendships building and the kids are happy.
But from a personal perspective then – I do not include my family in this – I have found it hard. The basic issue is I feel I have been reaching out in several ways to various people, and with varying levels of intensity, and have been feeling a distinct lack of response. This includes obviously regular meetings, but also home-based hospitality, the sharing of my songwriter material, attending courses, emailing and otherwise communicating thoughts, actively seeking out friendship and discussion, and reading books recommended to me.
I cannot really figure it out. I generally try to meet people where they are at, so I don’t alienate them with intensity or too lateral an angle on things. I make judgements about what it is they might be interested in, and tailor what I have to offer fairly specifically. I try not to engage in conversations where I think there might be misunderstanding. Although I make mistakes, I am actually quite cautious regarding who I discuss what with.
I do not have anything to prove. I am seeking community, and engaging in the discipline of community. Not “perfect” community either, just one which is workable, where there is a will to interact. I enjoy differences because through these God strengthens the whole Body.
You may or may not be aware that I have arrived in the last 3 months at a place of vision. I have attempted to make this process (“Worthy Worship”) available to all in my blog, to get a debate going and test whether this vision has validity.
What it amounts to is a desire for a true worship of God, from a fresh inner place. Although I am primarily a musician, I have allowed my imagination to run rampant and unfettered, so get to a place where the potential for Gods presence is as high as it could be. Along the way I have asked the likes of …, …, … and … to examine the theology, because where the tethering needs to happen is in the light of community and its beliefs. It should be a long rope, but it should be anchored someplace. I am not a academic theologian who is going to live out of books. I need to have some sense (ANY sense) of community in which to live out my truth. It must become OUR truth or else I question it.
So this brings me to my dilemma. In reaching out I feel the lack of response. Maybe you as overseer this group of people can help with a perspective on why this is. I appreciate that people are busy, we all are. I appreciate this is Cape Town, somnambulent and clique-y.
I am aware that you yourself might find me difficult. One particular instance of my own insensitivity was after you had preached and opened yourself quite extensively to the people; you were quite emotional I recall; and I blundered in and critically appraised your sermon. For this I am sorry, it was all wrong. It totally missed what was going on, and where you and God were at. Please forgive me. I hope that your judgement of me will not be affected by this incident.
You need to know how deeply I have dreamed of being a part of worship at …. Why it has not worked out I am not sure. The trust I had hoped might be there by now has not materialised. To be fair, … let me in on a few practices, we agreed that for particular reasons they didn’t work out, and all learned something from it.
… and I had in my estimation a very good meeting a month back. It got my hopes up again. I offered to help him with his writing and the bands songwriting and recording. He said he needed to clarify his goals and we’d set up some specifics. But that line seems to have gone silent.
I’m not here to beg. I have a vision and held by God I shall explore it, even if it means alone. Of course alone its highly compromised because community is at its heart. But I have had to accept such compromise my whole life, and will do it again if necessary.
Your insight into the matter will be greatly appreciated.