Advent I Seems hard to believe, like it’s been forever but also like it was only a year or two ago at most. Yet six years ago today was my first post here at Subversive Influence. It’s not the six years of blogging that seems so unbelievable (particularly given my lack of consistency over the past year), but the events that precipitated it and the changes in our lives since that time. It was just over six years ago when the pastor I’d been working with for ten years on a in the church I’d been part of for sixteen showed up on my doorstep shortly after I’d gotten home from church one Sunday morning and gotten my kids some lunch. I stepped out onto my driveway to speak with him while he had his wife and kids sitting in the van, and he proceeded to blow a gasket, not only yelling at me and telling me my contributions were no longer welcome, but throwing some of my own vulnerabilities in my face and asking how I dared critique anything they were doing when they were serving? I’d say it was the beginning of the end, except the beginning had really come some years before that, creeping up on us unawares. Instead, this was the proverbial straw that did the camel in.

By early in the new year, we were pretty much done with church, and not without some trepidation, we sort of gave up church for Lent, and it’s been more or less that way ever since. And here we are six years later, observing the first Sunday of Advent a couple of days ago, doing the Daily Office as a family. We’ve hung out at St. Benedict’s Table from time to time since then, just enough to be considered part of the crowd there, but not enough to be regular every-Sunday types. And we like it that way. We’ve journeyed through the dawning and sunset of a simple church / house church gathering and are poised at the dawn of another one. We got out of the school run by the church we left, into another one, and are now homeschooling for a year. We’ve seen friends come and go, seen old friends reappear and disappear, and traveled through an interesting season of detox.

And now I’m wishing some of our other friends could do the same. It’s been a rich season, and one that despite some of its difficulties, I wouldn’t trade away. Not ever. Now when I hear about how busy some friends’ lives are, I want to tell them to cut back on church, or just cut it out. We all know people who are apt to say it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship… but if you take a good hard look, you’d have to conclude there’s no real time for relationship because it’s all about roles and structures and schedules and responsibilities. Not that those things are always bad, but when they’re displacing the things we say are important, it begs the question. I think I’ve found more holistic health — including spiritual — outside the church than I did inside it.

And yes, I know not all churches are “bad” like this. Still, I love the life of a “churchless” faith… though ours is not entirely churchless. We’re still connected to many friends who are part of the body of Christ (the important one, the spiritual one, not the membership-listing one) that we’re never truly churchless. And we stay somewhat connected to St. Ben’s, happy with a transition from Charismania to Anglicanism. And we stay connected to simple church friends with whom we share life, relationship, and church.

I could not have predicted the past six years, and there’s no telling what the next six years will look like. But I’m signed up. Heck, I might even blog some more.

Oh, and happy Blogiversary to me!

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