I am having a good time in Kentucky. Tammi will be a friend for life. I am also enjoying Deb.
I shared some of my spiritual journey with these gals. I feel like it may have shut them down some but they were polite listeners. I think I am wanting to build bridges with people who see God only in terms of religiosity. Both Deb and Tammi are there. Are in a place of not believing that Jesus is the only way; don't believe in hell; that being a good person will "get you in". I know some of the standard evangelical responses to these thoughts but what to think more about them. They are also my thoughts based on what I have read, but again, want to rethink these things and see if perhaps there may be a more gracious way to communicate these things.
I started reading Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Barton on the plane. I am definitely after the LIFE I see there. How does one get the LIFE without getting sucked into all of the church gunk.
Truth be told, I DO struggle a bit with Journey. I have a hard time with the big church machine. I am troubled by Mike - if it is true he is the only one that does the finances, then that is REALLY troubling to me. It turned me off that when I wanted to use Journey as a place to channel money for Teri that he made his tithing point . . . given that HE is the Senior Pastor and HE is the only one that handles the money, it felt VERY self serving to me . . . yes about wanting people to "be right" with their money but it felt like it was also about Mike. How could it not be given the financial issues the church has, that Mike is the founding pastor and MIKE is the one that handles the money.
I am also disturbed by Mike's TIGHT GRIP on the church. His identity is wrapped up in that church. I am disturbed that he doesn't have close friends that speak into his life; that there isn't a board of elders and others to also oversee the affairs of the church. It just feels like another Paul Gilbert situation (though there WAS a board to run the church). It would NOT surprise me one iota if Mike fell (or has already) fallen into financial sin. There is NO accountability. Mike is soley in charge, so it appears. And I believe his health issues are wrapped up in his tight grip on the church . . . I am disturbed by his unwillingness to be open to possible correction . . . it all REALLY disturbs me.
Yet I LOVE the wider community of Journey. But I don't know how to be in fellowship there and carry these issues in my heart. And its not just want I feel toward Mike, it's my own spiritual journey. Something got VERY sloppy in me - like I was moving on auto-pilot. There wasn't care and prayer put into my ministry of prayer. My desire for a drink superceded my desire to pray. I didn't spiritually prepare myself before praying for people on Sunday morning. I haven't been in the Word. All of my disciplines have fallen apart and yet I feel the need to look at what those disciplines are about . . . was it about seeking God and knowing His heart or was it about fulfilling some religious obligation? My reading of the Word for many years was done to check off the box - get through x amount of chapters to accomplish some goal.
The disciplines are all good. But the motivation behind them have been skewed . . . it was more about measuring up as a faithful believer than REALLY seeking God's heart REGARDLESS of what the people around me were doing . . . I want to re-enter the discipline of being in the Word, but I want to do it with my heart.
Tithing has gone by the wayside. I don't want to consume that money on myself . . . putting it out here, my bottom line is that I don't TRUST Journey with my money. And I have issues with so much of the tithe going into maintaining infrastructure . . . maybe I need to get myself right before God and revisit this issue again . . . this is why this entry is on private. I need a safe place to put out all of the ugly things I am struggling with! I've kept them inside to the point that even I don't know what's going on inside.
I've dropped out of many friend's lives. Part of it is due to my spiritual confusion. I want to protect them from me. And in many ways I want to protect myself from having to sort through MORE junk.
I struggle with Diana sometimes. There is a "holiness" there that feels judgemental and cold. Sometimes I feel "less than" her. That my life and ways somehow taint hers . . . unedifying. Her words sound automated - they are always "the right words" though there is not life in them. She colors inside all of the lines and I am squiggling outside all of the lines and feel dirty because of it . . . not loved and celebrated.
And then there is my Forum life. I've picked up a couple Moms. And poor Sandra has it bad . . . she worries about me; gets mad at the choices I make and loves me to pieces. She is also protective - sometimes overly so and we even miscommunicate and miss eachother just like genuine mother and daughter. I have never experienced this. Part of my heart is soaking every bit in and enjoying the whole package. I HAVE A MOM that I never had . . . I have other feelings too but can't quite put words to them yet.
I have other observations but I am too weary to jot them down just now. Much spiritual processing going on . . .