“The time has come…” I wrote in my last blog post nearly two weeks ago under the weekly title Mystic Mondays. I certainly didn’t mean to convey that I was going away–only that I needed a new title that would fit the evolving content of my posts. I was surprised when I heard from a number of people, “Thank you for being a consistent voice for truth. We’ll miss you,” or “Where do I go now to follow your writing?”
I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE! I promise.
A year ago I wrote under the title Between Two Worlds in what became a daily Lenten devotional as I teased out my own internal struggle of feeling caught between two worlds–an institutional church world that appears to be dissolving away like a sand castle on the beach and an emerging spirituality that does not yet have a consistent set of anchor points. As I emerged from the tunnel of that series I was struck by how often the language and world of religious mysticism showed up in my posts. If the Lenten devotional series was about feeling caught between two worlds the next series was to be an introduction to one world, both ancient and emerging–the world of experiential spirituality, traditionally known as religious mysticism.
It felt clear to me. As a pastor in a traditional Christian denomination I could sense this call to walk with congregations in their current state while also introducing them to this new world that I was absolutely convinced represented the future of Christian spiritual community. And for nine months that worked for, sort of.
Then something happened! The world that I thought I lived in suddenly disappeared. The political, spiritual, and cultural earthquake we call Trump shook the assumptions that I had been working from. This work of introducing mysticism into our churches and culture was based on a certain amount of stability that I had assumed in our national psyche. My Mystic Monday blog was based on this ongoing assumption that I and we were living “between two worlds” and preparing to enter a new world. I did not account for or anticipate that a third world would suddenly be forced into the conversation that would radically alter my perception of my two world reality.
I wrote that “the time has come…” not to inform you that I would no longer write, but that the title “Mystic Monday” had become an awkward and confining title at best. It wasn’t quite working post-Trump. Rather than just easing the language of mysticism into our churches and culture I increasingly found my posts pointed directly at Trump or working through my own anger, fear and grief over the sudden loss of that which I considered good and moral and right.
I am going to continue to write, but much of it will be simply trying to find my voice again. Somehow Trump has shifted my focus from trying to usher us into a new world to now trying to recover aspects of an old world–so unlike me!
Strangely enough my Mystic Monday posts were to provide a relevant and fresh avenue in a world where the pulpit seems to have lost much of its relevance. But now that assumption has been challenged. Now I wonder if the traditional pulpit needs to be resurrected. We need recognized places where the moral and spiritual voice of the community can speak “truth to power” as has become popular. Now instead of the church needing to learn how to cross the bridge into a new world, I wonder now if they need to gather up their moral courage and restore their former prophetic voice.
The world changed in recent months. I no longer feel like I am between two worlds. Now I feel like I was suddenly dropped into an alien world–a world that my religious tradition names as evil, inhumane, cruel and an offense to the God who flows through my mystical core. I am trying to hang on to the shreds of my old world
The time has come–not to disappear–but to find once again that voice that is honest, vulnerable, truthful, courageous and hopeful. The time has come to speak to and in the context of a Trump world.
I am not going anywhere. I am only trying to find my voice in this new terrain. Will you join me as we remind ourselves of what is true, recommit ourselves to that which is good, and fight to hold onto a world where kindness, honesty, and humility were strengths, not liabilities.