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?