“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.
Great post Jared!
I have never commented on the site before. I used to feel very similarly as you do, and I am not presuming to know all the reasons you feel the way you do. However, over time as I have engaged in the church with my own personal perspective and experiences and trying to build the “mighty oak” you are referencing, I have found that the church and many in it are not as bad and as entrenched, and as hostile as it can seem (not saying it doesn’t exist). In fact, many of them just need to feel enlightened, and confident to look inside themselves and listen to the spirit that teaches them to love. The version of Christianity that is at its core the most inclusive is Mormonism. That identity and changes in our messages does get bogged down in bureaucracy, but age and experience and slow changes isn’t only bad, it is just often frustrating when related to the experiences and dilemmas that have immediate impact on us. Anyway, my point wasn’t to argue with you at all, mostly just trying to give you some hope. I have found amazing experiences of inclusion, diversity due to love and joy in my sphere, and much of it has come from the church and those in it. I wish you the best in your journey, and thanks for being willing to share your feelings on the internet for weird people like me to make comments on.
Did you know that the mushroom you used to illustrate your article is the psychoactive Amanita Muscaria? Some rather fascinating information may be found here: