“Everything that is great in life is the product of slow growth; the newer, and greater, and higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, the surer is its lasting success.
Mushrooms attain their full power in a night; oaks require decades. A fad lives its life in a few weeks; a philosophy lives through generations and centuries. If you are sure you are right, do not let the voice of the world, or of friends, or of family swerve you for a moment from your purpose. Accept slow growth if it must be slow, and know the results must come, as you would accept the long, lonely hours of the night,–with absolute assurance that the heavy-leaded moments must bring the morning.”
-William George Jordan
The process we call faith transition has been like this for me. It began for me, in high school. The seeds were small. I began to recognize eternal truths for the first time that came from sources outside of the church. I also began to recognize error and discrepancy in the tradition I had always been taught was the preeminent truth.
I have continued to look outward, and have found greater love, satisfaction, friendship, and the rewards of faith in greater abundance. I have continued to look inward and have found in increasing measure, intolerance, hostility, retrenchment, and close-mindedness to rule the day.
I have given almost half a lifetime to this kingdom. A kingdom, I believed was “ours”. A kingdom, I was promised, was at work building Zion.
I’m sure of less and less these days, but I’m increasingly sure of this… There is a huge difference between the kingdom and the church. As Jenny Lewis sings, “Institution’s like a big bright light, and it blinds you into fear and consuming and fighting, but in the desert underneath the charging sky it’s just you and God.” The true Zion builders in this church are not “of this church”. “The stone that was rejected of the builders, has become the head of the corner.” Rejection was our Redeemer’s lot. Perhaps it must be ours. The saints who have been spurned, driven out, reviled and cut off, seem to be the ones set on enlarging her borders and strengthening her stakes. They have sought out the lepers of our day, and have yearned to heal them. They have been the ambassadors of Christian love.
These people, my people, are busy growing a mighty oak.
I fear the church is just a mushroom.
Make the morning break, the shadows flee.