I met Tammy in person this November, over Indian food with a number of people I love and respect. She told me of this vision she had of a place that says there was room for everyone, and she meant it. Tammy is the real deal. She says what she means and she means what she says. I think there are likely to be some growing pains, I hope there are. (Growing pains means growth, and I am hoping for growth of this place. I think there is a lot of fertile soil here.) I trust Tammy to deal with those pains honestly, humbly, prayerfully. I am very honored to be writing in this space.
So honored in fact I gave them a story that is very close to my heart. We left our beloved church over Christmas. It was needed but it was heart breaking. I don’t know that I have ever heard of leaving a church well, but I think we managed it. Here is the beginning of that story.
“He’s lucky, it was a clean break.”
People say this sometimes, when a leg or arm or ankle is broken. I teach high school and I am always surprised at how often my students end up injured, often seriously.
“It was good that the break was clean.”
How can a break be good? I’ve never broken a bone, but my understanding is that it hurts like hell.
A month ago we left the church we had served in, and loved with for seven years. We had been with that church for 7 good years. 7 big years. That church grew us, and grew with us, and prayed for us and with us while we bought a house, had two babies, transitioned to three different schools, started a PhD program and struggled and grew in our faith.
Faith growing can be tricky sometimes. I wanted to believe that I could prune and shape my faith so that it looked like what I expected it to, but that isn’t quite how it works. There were branches that stopped bearing fruit, and others that sprung out alive and vibrant in the most unexpected places. I became a creative in that church. I met Jesus there over and over again.
But slowly, slowly, our family and our understanding of God grew into a shape that didn’t fit into the greenhouse it was raised in. We prayed and circled and prayed and thought and waited and got frustrated at the waiting, and prayed and yelled and met and prayed.
And then . . . and then it was time to go. So we met again, and prayed some more. It was just time.