Can You Go Home Again?

I Will Be Discovering One Answer

Everyone has to leave home eventually (although I do know one fella who never did, he just outlived his parents!). Perhaps what differs is the manner in which we leave.

What was it like when you left home? Did you launch happily, feeling supported and connected, or did you burn rubber on your way out? In my case, an unfortunate event — or yes, a series of them — catapulted me into the ether and sent me into free-fall.

Perhaps some of you have a story similar to mine — you found yourself loving Jesus, but not the church that introduced you to him, and you had to escape.

My original home was the Christian Reformed Church, and eventually I found a new home with the Presbyterians. The denominations are similar in terms of theology and governance, but the Presbyterians have staked out a Bigger Tent. I’m not talking about sheer numbers — though those certainly affect church dynamics. The smaller CRC has stuck close to it’s Dutch roots, largely by maintaining a private Christian school system. The larger PCUSA has always been part of the mainline.

Both denominations are included in the Reformed family, whose touchstone is “Reformed and Always Reforming” — a challenging touchstone. Change is hard. Are we willing to continually reform our faith and traditions and beliefs?

Perhaps a Bigger Tent makes it easier to stretch a covering over female experience. I definitely needed that space. I needed a church that could contain me and my messy story. I wrote about this aspect of my journey in my manuscript —in a chapter which didn’t make it into the memoir. That chapter Skin in the Game was published in Sojourners magazine.

This journey of publishing my story has led me to unexpected places. It turns out that my messy past is not a problem, but a gift.I’ve come to see it that way over the past few years, and am glad that others are as well. In the month ahead, this journey is leading me to “go home again”. I have been invited to preach in two different Christian Reformed congregations — one in Grand Rapids, MI, and one in Vancouver, BC. At both, I will also be leading more informal discussions. I’ll be finding out what happens when a person goes home again, so stay tuned.

The details about the events are in the right sidebar. If you’re able to attend any of these events, please introduce yourself to me — I love meeting my readers! I am so grateful for each one of you, and the stories you hold. What’s your story about leaving home? And have you ever returned?

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I'm an essayist, memoirist, and Presbyterian pastor. My books are both spiritual memoirs -- "Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land" and "Ruined."

I welcome your comments.

6 thoughts on “Can You Go Home Again?

  1. Dear Ruth,
    I am grateful that through your journey, God has led you to Willoughby Church (CRC) and pray that doors and windows be flung open in welcome wherever you go.
    Looking forward to your time with us.

  2. Dear Ruth,
    The BC Christian Reformed Safe Church Ministry is excited to have you come and speak to us. We see the opportunity of hearing your story and journey as a gift to help us learn more about what it means to be the grace filled communities we seek to be. It is our prayer that God will give you the grace, wisdom and strength you need, the time spent here will bless us all and that you will also experience a sense of “Home” as we serve in God’s Kingdom together.

  3. Dear Ruth,
    We are looking forward to welcoming you home here to Willoughby Church (CRC) in Langley. I have reason to believe and trust that our tent is big enough to hold you and your story. . ..but time will tell.
    Praying for you as you prepare your heart to “return home”.

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