a satisfying resolution

I attended our church here this morning, the first time in over a year. My extended absence had been weighing heavy on me lately. And I finally decided that I shouldn't wait any longer for changes that didn't seem to be coming, that what I was standing against was not the worshiping people of God but the poor leadership and exercise of communal power by the organization, and so what I should do is come back to worship and at the same time give up my membership in the church organization. I'll keep on visiting another nearby church, and also meeting with our little worship group, and probably spend some Sunday mornings by the creek. But I'll worship here again sometimes, too.

This feels like a satisfying resolution for the church struggles over the past couple years, and I feel like I'm in a better place now than I was when it began. The membership issue has been hard, as I recalled a week ago. I still wonder if I consented in order to fit in better initially. I know I've worried a bit about giving up membership, about whether it will be a problem for others now that I have no official connection here. Hopefully I've demonstrated by now that I'm committed to stay and help out in lots of real ways that people can depend on, member or not. But I feel much better having our connection based on lived experience together, and perhaps our shared membership in the one Body, rather than some frail and untrustworthy human organization.

Two things I think are important here: taking a clear stand in contrast with the status quo, and being present. Too often we feel pressured to choose one or another. Take a stand and leave, or compromise so we can stay and fit in. But Jesus showed us how to do both together.

I hope my choice of giving up membership can be seen as a way of laying down power, giving up rights. Putting myself at more risk. Because that's what is necessary to overcome the bondage of fear and be able to act in the freedom of love. And that's the path to new life, here or anywhere.