The ending of The Crossing (the church that taught me the most) was, and continues to be, an ache for me. Yesterday, I received news that the last of us still attending Revolution (big church we merged with) is going to be leaving it behind after this Sunday.
Since the Crossing, I’ve floated a bit. I tried the big church for a few months, but the chances that a girl like me would fit in a place like that were slim-to-none. I tried the one some other Crossing members ended up attending and that other one with the pancakes. I even committed a few years to a newish church plant that has the families with the kids, the small-talk, the rehearsed answers to bible study questions… and I wasn’t much of a fit there either. The traditional folks there (and at most of the other churches I tried) were nice enough, but they seemed to view my un-churched honesty, loves of ComiCon and wine, and aversions to scrap booking and Pinterest as alternative. I’ve never viewed myself that way, probably because I wasn’t raised in the church and therefore wasn’t en-culturated into church ways enough to know that there are quite a few norms I ignore.
I bring this up because it’s a miracle that I didn’t realize how alternative I am until after ten-plus years in the church.
I think that’s why The Crossing was such a thing for me.
It was alternative, so I was able to be myself in the church. I miss that. And I’m not sure I’d still be in the church if I hadn’t had that for such a long time. Lots of people probably attend church because there’s a structure and predictability in folks’ dress, talk, behavior… that allows for fitting in. All a girl has to do is copy the lady next to her, and she’s in, which is comforting. It’s nice for a girl to know what’s expected and to have a confidence she’s meeting those expectations.
But I’m different.
I’m the type who couldn’t do the same stretches as everybody else on my team even though the cost of my individuality was conflict and getting kicked out of team meetings about team unity. And it honestly wasn’t rebellion or hatred that fueled my individuality… it was practicality. There were stretches that I needed to do that weren’t being done and others that were wasting my time. I wanted to be ready for our games and I had no intention of doing the same thing everybody else was doing, for the sake of being the same.
I’m still that way. For Example: my singing is often more God-centered when I’m sitting than when I’m standing. So sometimes they stand up and I stay seated.
I miss not being aware of that difference and the other differences. At the Crossing, everybody really did whatever they needed to do. And I didn’t think about whether I should stand up so as not to stand out. But now I think about it. And I get concerned that the connections between individuals are weakened when our differences are at the forefront, overshadowing God. When I’m aware of how alternative I am.
In spite of my differences, when I think about the merger and the end of my favorite church, I consider that I came out of it pretty okay. I still attend church with some of the crossing core, and I can’t think of a friendship that’s much lessened nowadays. And there was that one marriage that came out of the merger, so I understand all of the theologizing about how it was God’s plan… but I don’t like the hush hush about it. I sometimes catch us putting on our church personas, saying what we’re supposed to think rather than what we really think. I’m not sure that such falsity even really protects anyone’s feelings because we all know we aren’t being honest.
So… when he told us it was his last Sunday, I said that I was sad; he was my last hope that it wasn’t 1945’s And Then There Were None (Little-known film based on an Agatha Christie book about ten people invited to an island only to be killed-off one by one).
Of course, he was all logical and theological about it, and I would have been too, but the sovereignty of God isn’t a salve for a broken heart, though we try to make it that.
And I’m not ashamed that a matter-of-fact, doctrinally sound explanation of God’s plans rarely comforts me.
Nor am I ashamed that I’m sad.
Or that I wanted to see someone stick it out.
I certainly couldn’t have done it, so I don’t blame him for leaving. But I did delude myself a bit into believing that one lifer would make the whole thing more worthwhile.
But it comes to an end, and then there were none. And life goes on.