{my journey to redeemer} Kara's Testimony

"The confidence that faith requires is notoriously easier for small children than for adults. No matter what the circumstances of our upbringing, our capacity for trust, allegiance, and confidence is badly battered in the everyday process of growing up. I had a radiant faith as a child, mostly related to song and story. Like many people of my ‘baby boomer’ generation, I drifted away from religion when catechism came to the fore, and the well-meaning adults who taught Sunday school and confirmation class seemed intent on putting the vastness of "God" into small boxes of their own devising. Theirs was a scary vocabulary, not an inviting one. And religion came to seem just one more childhood folly that I had to set aside as an adult. In my mid-thirties, however, it became necessary to begin to reclaim my faith, scary vocabulary and all." - Kathleen Norris, from Amazing Grace 

Kathleen's words touched me and drew out a story I didn't know was inside of me and ready to tell. The following is my story, similar to Kathleen's, yet uniquely my own. The first few lines are an exact echo of her lines and then it branches off into my story….. kara1

Jesus was real to me. He was introduced to me through song and story. Like many people of my generation, I drifted away from religion. It started at 10 years old when adults introduced arguing and divisions into my church experience. First, separations resulted after competitions over "who’s a better church leader." Relationships were lost. Later, in my teens, separations resulted after competitions over "who interprets the Bible the best." Finally, in my twenties, I found churches that that had uncanny ability to stick together and grow in large numbers. They had found the ingredients to make a church run and grow, but they lacked heart and soul. These churches attracted anyone looking for the formula for "a successful Christian life." They didn't have the messy arguments and divisions of those other wobbly churches. But the product was a controlling and sterile environment. 

I've never stopped going through the motions of religion, but my heart has not been in it. If I had not been the secretary of the last church I was in, I'm sure I would have finally found the courage to walk away from "organized church" sometime in the last two years. I never stopped being in love with Jesus. I never stopped being in awe of God. But I haven't yet learned to appreciate the value of organized religion. A quiet voice, somewhere deep inside my heart, says it has value. When I pull away from the current religious expression of the believers nearest and dearest to my heart, I feel lonely and sad. In my mid-thirties, it has become necessary to reclaim my passion for organized church. I have reached a point where I can't, and won't, keep going through the motions without a passion and belief that this activity has value. I am at a crossroads. I've been asked to take part in the start up of a new church. This requires far more commitment to the concept of "church" than has ever been required of me before. If I do this, I can no longer just tag along with something someone else has created. To say "yes" and commit myself to building a church is to take a leap of faith, to “risk myself in a new and scary relationship” as Kathleen would say.

Tonight, on September 14th, 2011, my answer is yes.

Kathleen points out that a new born infant is incapable of adult speech at one month of age. Yet he watches his mother intently and he watches the faces around him. He moves his mouth in imitation, “trying on the sound of speech, which at one month is well beyond [his] capabilities. But it is worth the effort and the child will continue to try.”

What a powerful image of our attempts to imitate God.

To be part of a perfect community is well beyond our capabilities. But it is worth the effort, and we will continue to try.