Swinging from the Vine / 808 posts / 2,772 comments / feed / comments feed

I’m tired.

I’ve been introspective lately about my own faith and I think I’ve concluded that I’m just tired. I want a vacation from my own spirituality. I want to stop thinking about it, stop caring about it…pretty much just stop doing it.  When I was enmeshed in evangelicalism I experienced fatigue from all the prayer meetings and bible studies and wondering if our current situation was because I wasn’t praying enough. I worried about whether or not I was being a good leader, if I was “in God’s will”, if I was a good church person.

The freedom I experienced to leave that world was supported by a community of people who understood me, people who were in the same boat…namely, the emerging-missional community / movement in which I now find myself. This community offered me hope that I could engage a Christianity that was honest, flexible, questioning and progressive. And now, I find myself plagued with a whole new kind of fatigue - conversations examining the church, leadership, theology, justice, how Christians should or shouldn’t be, arguments about labels and definitions, philosophies about time and meaning, history and future. 

I get into these emotionally charged discussions about women’s rights and roles, the rights and roles of homosexuals, whether or not we should feed the poor without also feeding their “souls” with the presentation of the “gospel” and I just want to scream - WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! I’m tired of being diplomatic and kind in the face of disagreements especially with mindsets from my “past life”. Truthfully, I LOATH people like Mark Driscoll. I think he’s a pompous, misogynistic jack ass and the people who exalt him are brainless automatons. (if that offends you you’re just going to have to deal with it…sorry) Yes yes, I know that’s sinful, but it is what it is.  Truthfully, feeding the poor and caring for the “least of these” should be a given, people who want to be in intimate relationship with someone of the same gender should be able to without condemnation or judgment. Women should be able to use their gifts and talents in whatever damn way they see fit. I mean, seriously!!! Are we still having these conversations?! Good grief.

Don’t get me wrong, this is all about me, this is where *I’m* at. No one is making me feel this way and no one is doing anything wrong.

I want to be able to just love God, love people, live well, pray a little, read a little Scripture, have friends of all shades and hues of belief and call it a good life. I fear that the only way I’m going to be able to do that is to disengage and sit on the surface of a faith community, just skirt the edges of all the issues that are currently at the forefront of everyone’s conversations. I can’t even engage in discussions about justice because I feel like it’s all so ridiculously obvious how we should be living and talking about it just makes me tired and bored and cranky…but people who just touch the surface of everything historically have bugged the heck out of me. I can’t be THAT person.

Maybe my resolution needs to be to give myself permission to be THAT person. My question for myself that I have yet to answer is this - is it better for me to learn to live in the tension, breathe through the impulse to flee or do I need to just completely “give up” religious stuff for a time? When I do yoga, a common refrain from the instructors is something like this - “if you feel the need to leave this pose, breathe through it and stay for one more breath, then another”. That is a very good practice for me in yoga and with my emotions but I’m not sure if it applies to this situation or not.

I’m not looking for answers here, just being really obnoxiously honest ;)

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  1. TQL — January 12, 2009 #

    I am soooo with you! I left my church about 6 months ago for many of the same reasons. When I left, I wrote a Statement of Faith, that reflects where I am in terms of my beliefs about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Community and Justice.

    In the last month or so, I have been missing church. Been missing a place to be fed and a community to belong to. Yet, when I go “church shopping” I feel like golidilocks, and nowhere is a good fit. So, in my lazyness, I am dipping back into my church again to see if it will work this time. But, in doing so, I am revisiting my Statement of Faith, to make sure I don’t compromise on those things, those principles, and ideals - VALUES - that are important to me. I don’t know if I will fully engage there, but I know I need something and that no where will be perfect.

    Maybe that is what “breathing through” is about… I don’t know. But, I hear where you are at right now. And you aren’t alone

  2. Duncan — January 12, 2009 #

    Mak, thanks for the honesty. I’d like to be this honest.

  3. Pingback - A deeper honesty « Fourth Space — January 12, 2009 #

    [...] so this is a whole other level of honesty and I’d love us to get to this point in our small group. [...]

  4. Mak — January 12, 2009 #

    Awee…bless you Duncan for seeing my little rant in such a positive light.

    TQL - thank you for sharing your experience with this feeling.

  5. Cynthia — January 12, 2009 #


    I am right there with you.

    I am just tired of all of the talking and the defining. Really must we keep going around in circles before we can actually live life, do something to make a difference, respect others?!!
    It seems that the conversation can be endless.

    However, there are people in my radius who still need to have that conversation. They, for lack of a better phrase, are a step behind. Thus as it usually is here in the SouthEast. I am only now finding others here, locally to have the conversation with. But I am tired. yet I still hope to be gracious to others who still need to talk it out. They need a safe haven.

    Currently, I am cautiously hopeful about a new community we are visiting with. I have been quite honest with all the things I placed on the table for examination. In so many ways, they seem to understand about justice and being a missional community. Yet, I know that some things will probably not be different … role of women, rights of homosexuals.

    I will never grow tired of sharing stories of faith. But I am weary of people defending their position … even me. I’d rather take that time and energy and devote it to loving someone, serving someone.

    BTW, I quite agree with you about Mark Driscoll. It is a shame that he is getting another fifteen minutes of fame when there are so many unsung heroes of the Christian faith, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, binding up the broken hearted.

    Here’s to hoping we can find and be content in our place in this body of Christ.

    Grace and Peace!

  6. Mak — January 12, 2009 #

    Thank you cynthia.

    And I want to be CRYSTAL CLEAR - these conversations in and of themselves are GREAT and I’m so glad people are engaging these issues and for now, I am too….I don’t want anyone to feel bad or defensive or guilty or apologetic. this post was all about me and where I’m finding myself right now, in this moment…chances are, it’ll change tomorrow ;)

  7. Mak — January 12, 2009 #

    Cynthia - I also agree with you about the sharing of story, I think THAT’S where I’m finding interest and solace right now - I still love the sharing of story

  8. Jason — January 12, 2009 #

    Brother, I’m with ya, but watch the hate. I know Driscoll and disagree with him on almost everything but he is a good man, a good husband and father, and he is doing what he thinks is right by God. And most of the people that look up to him are just trying to live as faithfully as they know how and he helps them to do that. You have a blog and people read it, that is power, and to use that power to spread your anger is something I think you should consider more carefully in the future. Peace of Christ.

  9. Mak — January 12, 2009 #

    I’m a woman :)

    I’m not spreading anything Jason, if people choose to adopt my emotions as their own, that is their issue. I’ve already qualified what I have said, I don’t feel the need to do so further.

  10. Adam Moore — January 12, 2009 #

    I think leaving religious stuff can be a good thing. Allows you to see if you miss it or not. Either way that tells you something helpful.

  11. Thom — January 12, 2009 #

    What has been helpful for me is learning to disengage with people who are fundamentalist (whether left, right, or inbetween). So many people are theologically stubborn and refuse to have a conversation. I just don’t talk to those kind of people any more. At all. Ever. If we need to talk, or if we are even friends, I don’t talk about religion or politics at all with them. It’s not worth it.

  12. Ross — January 12, 2009 #

    Hi Mak,

    I rarely comment anywhere anymore (blog burnout?) but I so understand where you’re coming from here. Please don’t take this comment as my attempt to *answer* you… that’s just the way I come across unfortunately.

    As you know, Sonja and I sailed some of the very same seas as you David. What i’ve learned through the ordeal is that you cant stay to close to the fire without something getting burned. For most professional christians who elect to stay there, they are knowingly exchanging their relationships in order to advance their religious careers. (IMHO) It’s another jewel in their crown… an investent in the kingdom. Spin it however you want.

    For those of us in the emerging movement, it really becomes an issue of passion. As with any love, if there’s never any air in which to breathe and remember who we are, the relationship can disintegrate into resentment in short order. The peaks need to be measured by the subsequent valleys… if there are no valleys, can we ever know if our peaks are really peaks? Have we been in a swamp all along?

    Hang in there… breathe a little and find out where you’re at :-)

  13. lindadanette — January 12, 2009 #

    Found your blog - feeling the same way. . . Thanks, I needed that.

  14. Bonny — January 13, 2009 #

    I feel like you just wrote the blog post that I’ve had in my head for a few weeks.

  15. Jason — January 13, 2009 #

    My apologies sister, that was an irresponsible assumption on my part, and that helps me understand your passion about the guy — i can’t say I blame you.

  16. John — January 13, 2009 #

    As I just said to my wife, “I can really FUCKING relate to this post from my blogging buddy Makeesha.”

    I’m sick of it all, and yet can’t stay away from it all even when I try. Maybe that’s what dogs feel like when they eat their crap.

  17. david — January 13, 2009 #

    you add so much to the air, makeesha. i hope you are able to refresh and get the distance that you need. but don’t go too far away or we all will be poorer :)

  18. Mak — January 13, 2009 #

    Thanks everyone :)

  19. shane magee — January 13, 2009 #

    really really appreciate the sentiment. how often i’ve felt the same tension, the same burn within me. the church so often leaves me totally cold and what passes for emerging is often so stuck up its own ass with a sense of overblown self-indulgence and trendiness that it leaves me cold as well.

    the truths you express we hold to be self-evident…

    if only they were!

    so we rant and rail for we-know-not-what, hoping, longing for a taste of heaven a sense that we are on the right path - and yet, so often, the rubber-stamping never comes and we find ourselves leaping alone into the deep dark.

    thanks for saying what you did. makes me realise i’m not as alone as i often feel i am.

  20. Jenn — January 13, 2009 #

    As always, you are refreshingly honest. Thanks for that.

  21. Mak — January 13, 2009 #

    That was beautifully, achingly real and raw and honest Shane…poetry and lament in it’s most humble and spiritual form. Thank you.

  22. Mak — January 13, 2009 #

    The reason why I continue to hang on and trudge through is because of people like all of you. If I threw in the towel and disconnected, what would I be left with? Fighting my angst and my neurosis within *something* is better than giving up and being alone. I guess I just wish, like I do with most things, that I could have it both ways. ;)

  23. Stacy — January 14, 2009 #

    Hi Makeesha!
    I am new to your blog, and I wanted to let you know that I totally identified with this. When I “fell away” (bahaha), I was so encouraged to find my people in the emergent world. Now I feel myself slipping into the information overload area, so I am in a semi-break from my break from church. Oh the irony. :) Thank you for being so real!

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