Since making the previous post things have been a bit of a blur. The weather’s been spectacular, the dogs have been full of the kind of exuberant canine silliness only seen on a warm windy day, and two very dear family members are visiting from New Zealand.
And the incredible number of people who read my confession (especially those of you who have made such overwhelmingly supportive and empowering comments) have left me feeling…
… words can’t describe the sense of freedom and renewed strength.
Thank you also to those Sydney Evangelicals who’ve taken the time to read what I have to say: IP addresses and Google will give you away every time, so there’s no point thinking you can lurk undetected ;-) I understand that you may well have found what I wrote deeply offensive in that it criticizes someone you’ve been brought up to believe is beyond criticism, and I realize that you’re probably feeling very angry as a result. However, what you must try very hard to understand is that the vicious lack of empathy John Chapman displayed that afternoon is only a symptom of the heartlessness and systemic judgementalism that has become a defining feature of your church. It’s incompatible with the Gospel of Christ, and it must stop. It doesn’t matter how brilliant your exegesis might be, no church can legitimately call itself “Christian” if it doesn’t display love and compassion to the alienated and marginalized.
Running over and over in my head at the moment is a Bruce Cockburn song called “Wondering Where the Lions Are”. After writing my confession I decided to wait a few days before posting in order to think things over first. That night I had a terrible dream; a nightmare about long distant pasts, of children I’d loved who are now gone, time I spent as involuntary hospital patient, and all that might have been. I must have been screaming out, because my dog jumped up onto the bed, and gently nuzzled me awake. We lay together in the quiet dark while he softly growled at the ghosts that had howled in my nightmare. Together we fell back asleep snuggled next to my sleeping partner, who is expecting our son in February.
In the morning I played this, and you've seen what I posted later in the day. The song’s become a bit of a personal anthem since, and it really does sum up how I feel about where all this might lead. The lions may not have gone, but they’re not half as frightening as they were before…
Listen for yourself.