I have over the past year or so purchased a couple of e-books and downloaded them onto my laptop. I know they are probably the best way to buy and read books now; it is more environmentally friendly not to mention less expensive. But for me I just like the feel of a book in my hand, I like to be able to underline and make notes in the margins. I know I can do that with my e-books too, but there is just something about using a pencil that is different. Actually my “buts” are just excuses not to be fully in the twenty-first century, I am pretty comfortable in my low-tech book world.
I am not ready to give them up and I know I do that a lot in my life and in my journey of faith as well. But, like with so many things, there will be a time when it is time to just let it go. I find a lot of resonance in that idea when looking at progressive Christian theology and practice. I have immersed myself in trying to understand what it means to be a progressive Christian community as I walk alongside here at College Hill. And letting go, letting some things die as it were, stepping away from the way we have always done things, believed things, practiced things, and thought about things is not an easy task; change is hard, change is loss. But without death, without change, without loss, where will the new life come, how will hope spring, from what will resurrection rise?
There is a sense of loss when it comes to an emerging and evolving faith, a process of grief through which one must journey. It is like losing a loved one, losing a part of who one is.
There are elements of faith that continue to hold meaning, elements that will remain the same, the same as they have been for thousands of years. There will be elements of faith one must re-mold and reshape into more relevant and meaningful expressions and practices.
There will be elements one needs to carry to the curb and let time haul them away. These are the things of antiquity that no longer speak to one’s journey, are no longer helpful, and are no longer relevant in one’s life and understanding of God and faith. It is a bit like asking why one would choose to continue riding in an ox cart when a bus is available; some things just need to be left behind.
The problem is not that one necessarily “chooses” the ox cart; it is that one cannot even see the bus from the ox cart. One needs to find a way to get out of the ox cart so one can “see” and confront a truth that no longer works, and that is risky and filled with uncertainty and the unknown.
I am reminded of the Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” However in the case of an emerging and evolving faith sometimes it involves not being able to see the stair case at all. Sometimes moving forward, becoming relevant once again requires letting go even when we are unable to see or know where we are going or where we will end up, otherwise we may never see the possibilities and dreams of God for the coming awakening of Spirit and faith.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.