Feels like we spent the weekend with friends. Spur-of-the-moment on Saturday afternoon, followed by last-minute scheduling of Sunday lunch with four other couples… followed by one of those people later driving 26 minutes (she timed it) to spend a couple more hours visiting with us. We “skipped” out on the Sunday morning event this week but we “did church,” alright.
In describing what I just referred to as a “tunnel of disillusionment and disconnection”, McLaren observes:
“An individual or group in this phase turns against the old paradigm and can’t stop talking about how wrong, inhumane, or insupportable it is.” (A New Kind of Christian, page xi)
It is this part of the process that I’ve labeled “detox” – the period of time where individuals and groups go through an intense season of feeling betrayed, confined, and to a degree, deceived by their previous participation in a church system that they no longer find attractive, healthy, spiritually invigorating, or even biblical. They can’t help but vocalize their disillusionment, and finding many people with the same feelings, they begin to realize that the problem isn’t just them and their opinion. And with the popularity and easy access of the Internet, they find many others on the journey, with the same pain, and with the same dreams.
It is during this part of the process – an extremely necessary part, in my view – that much of the current animosity between disillusioned postmoderns and the churches (and leaders of the churches) that they’ve left can trace its roots. And it can get, quite frankly, ugly. Big time ugly.
It’s refreshing and reassuring to find people who understand your “Area 2” moments without writing you off to The Group W Bench. Seems we just keep resonating so to those engaged in the conversation, thanks.