Friday, September 15, 2006

'Leaving Church' in order to find God? (Paradox)

"By fleeing the church to seek refuge in the world, I had reversed the usual paradigm, and I had to learn my way around the new one. For half my life, the axis of my world had run through the altar of a church. I spend most of my time in church, with church people, engaging in the work of the church. My view of reality grew from that center. I looked at life through the windows of the church, using the language I had learned there not only to describe what I saw but also to make sense of it. My context was so tightly focused that even my junk mail was Christian."
(From: "Leaving Church" by Barbara Brown Taylor Harper San Francisco, 2006, 168)

Barbara Brown Taylor is one of my favourite writers. She writes with a literary style that is deceptively simple, but deeply personal. Her book is a personal memoir of faith, in which she first sought to find God through the Church. Immersing herself in dedication and utmost service to the clergy profession, she reaches the point of burnt-out, in danger of not only losing her faith, but of her personhood as well. Soon she discovers that the only way for her to salvage her faith is to leave the church she was in.

We need to learn from people like her (not necessarily to physically leave the church). Do not wait to be burnt-out before we realise that 'serving God' is not the only thing in the world. The call to serve God must never be divorced from the need to be fully human. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath, holy as to the Lord. If God so needed to rest one day a week, dare not we? Read the book.


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