Faltering starts, but stepping out again

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My life story includes a rich trove of mystical experiences. This includes the Divine Instigator prompting me to connect with people, not always telling me why, and a shit-ton of just awkwards. Having deconstructed from this I’m stepping forward again. “/Hello World.”

For a while I pushed boldly into the immediacy of relational engagement with God over the classical “evangelism”. And though the commercialism of the HLF and church enabled this it was also disabling. I ran into frustration with the broader church experience of people and for myself. The deconstruction necessary wasn’t possible within churches and I’ve come to believe does not lie in repeating ecclesial or monastic structures. These things are rooted in what Ian McKenzie on the Mythic Masculine Podcast calls “dominator culture” and we need what’s after that to emerge from the ground up in “relator culture”. [1]

My deconstruction around this has been longer than my deconstruction of the institutionalism of the church. It’s been more personal because as it includes my own wants and the complexity of my inner life and intimate engagement with God. I’ve not been able to “want” to hear from God or own my “desire” to see people experience face-to-Face encounters with whatever follows from that. My level of expectation is tremendous. I’m continuously told by most that it’s too much; in dreams that it’s too little. The tectonic tension within tremendous as I both want and don’t want the expectation and desire. I internalised and ended up traumatised and re-traumatised by the constant criticisms which layered onto deep relational trauma.

I’ve taken a long gap from this, around 15 years, to deconstruct form the institutionalism and pursue the inward life. This gap includes a deliberate deconstruction from the institutional heritage of doing church and the “charismata” as crisis encounter following into what I’ve always felt a disingenuous and immediate transaction pushing a commitment to Christ. It just seem so non-relational. But what’s the alternative?

This deconstruction has been through a period of holding back on dreams, holding back on nudges (some speak of synchronicity, others of the leading of the Spirit, yet both are from the same Divine Instigator), holding back as much on information and guidance as on transformative power. I admit that some have slipped through! I can’t help loving what I love or escape the gravity well of my calling. It’s been a form of fasting that’s proven richly invigorating for me. I see and applaud others pushing into this and yielded my cheek to their criticism that in deconstruction I’m not “doing the stuff”. I’d love to sanctify this as humbling and spiritual. Truth be told, “fuck ya’all”. It’s not that I don’t want to do the same. Any of my stories are on par with theirs. It’s just that I don’t want to do it within the language and constraints of the institutional model and as serving the institutions over cultivating intimacy.

Returning to missional work in 2017 consolidated the layers of deconstruction and by mid-2019 it’s been clear that co-labouring with the institutional structures is not possible. It may be for others. It’s not for me.

Starting the podcast and pushing into research has been the first real steps as post-institutional. I remain as committed as ever to deep relationships and the Divine-human encounter not as and through myth or scripture but as face-to-Face and in the tapestry of our lives.

This month I’ve begun a re-embrace of hearing from God and stepping out. It seems fitting putting this on WordPress and FB. So far it’s mostly a few false starts. It’s like stretching my wings and tripping up because I remember how I used to fly. Now I want to fly higher and further than ever before! I just need to acclimate. I’m finally able to embrace that I’m not just among the lunatic fringe, I am the lunatic fringe! I’m still wrestling for the language and shapes of expression (there’s no one box fits all). And instead of having to own the form I’m free and able to push into presence to myself, others, and God. Where will this lead? I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that it will be co-created. 

[1] https://www.elephantjournal.com/2021/07/words-have-power-changing-the-toxic-masculinity-conversation-tracy-brownlee/

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