I am writing this entry to those who are unconvinced. I am writing to you, because you and I are in the same place. If you happen to visit CityPres, there is a wooden panel inside the front doors that describes simply the vision of the church. There is a portion that describes how, “We invite everyone to walk with Jesus with us.” It goes on to say,
“…all are welcome regardless of personal or religious background. City Pres is here for the convinced and the unconvinced, the lost, the found, the burned, bored, cynical and the spiritual.”
The unconvinced, the burned, the cynical . . . Without getting personal, this is where I am. Had I been asked to write for this blog twelve months ago, I would have been delighted to so. But now, . . . I seem to have nothing to say. I struggle to talk about the things that our community regularly clings to. I know what to say, but I’m not sure I believe those things. Each week I attend, it becomes more difficult to participate in worship.
There is a growing sense of dis-integration when I attend, as I become less willing to participate in things I’m unconvinced of. I do not feel accountable to the people around me, but I dislike pretending.
I share that with the CityPres readers only to communicate that it was difficult to write this entry, as I understand that this is a place to encourage others toward the truth. I want to respect that. I want you to benefit from the truth, I simply do not have any truth to share. I have described this time in my life to my closest friends saying,
“It’s as if God is in another room. I am glad that you can go into that room and interact with Him, and I want you to benefit from that. However, I do not want to go into that room. I do not experience an active anger toward God, but He is in that other room, not in my present reality, and I have no need to go into the other room.”
Perhaps you’ve always been unconvinced, and God has always seemed to be a good place for others, but you see no need to interact with Him personally, and He remains in the other room. Maybe you’ve never been able to interact with the idea of a Loving God, or doing so would feel contrived, in a country where trite Christian messages blare abundantly from billboards and semi-trucks.
So, what is this entry about if I have nothing to say? I can say one thing simply. To the unconvinced, the burned, the bored, and the cynical, . . . If you spend time with the people who walk through the doors of CityPres, they will welcome you. They will walk with you and listen to your story. They will not be surprised by the darkness that lies deep within you, or the doubt that remains present in your life. They will love you. They will not compare themselves to you to feel better about their particular darkness, and they will likely, very courageously, let you in on their brokenness and wounds. I have seen them walk with others through absolutely devastating times, and I can say they’ve tried to walk with me in this new time in my life.
Perhaps I am also writing to those of you who I once felt so connected to. Perhaps you too have experienced something in your life so devastating, that everything you once held true is up in the air. Maybe you have responded by accepting the reality that no one in our lives can truly be trusted, and all will inevitably hurt us. You have learned to simply face this reality, and expect nothing of others. You are not an angry cynic, but hope has no place in your life. And perhaps you too find it difficult to come to church, singing hymns you don’t believe, and participating in traditions you experience no connection with.
I do not know where I will be in another twelve months, and I cannot say what is true. I can say that this place is safe. You and I can learn about community in very simple ways, but very true ways. If you’re curious, you should come – or continue coming. Perhaps we can doubt together.