On Second Thought…I just listened to episode 8: Shoved Out of Church and honestly…this episode is not my favorite one. In fact, it might not even be that good. But something is happening because the analytics tells us that it is doing **800X** better than all of our other episodes. IKR?!?! It’s crazy!
With that said, as I listened, three things came to my mind that I wish I would have said. Here they are:
- When Kirk and I moved to Champaign to “recover and heal” from our experience in Madison, we realized within about 18 months that we were not going to get the help that we longed for. (I was told I didn’t need to seek counseling because we would get it within the church…unfortunately, we didn’t get any form of counseling). Within that time frame, we also realized that our specific skill set was not only NOT valued by leadership (because more and more roles were being eliminated AND because Kirk’s ideas were no longer considered or even welcomed), BUT we got an overwhelming sense that we (like many others who are pushed/nudged/forced out of the ministry) were being led “out to pasture”, so to speak. We were always welcomed, but we soon became disregarded, then marginalized…then shut down…THAT led to our leaving…We were PUSHED OUT of our ministry job in Madison (more on that to come) and because we were SHUT DOWN in our current church family, we decided the best thing for us, after a decade of trying to affect change, was to leave.
- In a previous podcast we stated that many people can feel or be marginalized. We talked about why that could be the case (you will have to listen to that one for more details)…but it occurred to me that MANY (not all, of course!) people who are marginalized are marginalized because they are passionate! They are filled with purpose and passion and want to DO SOMETHING meaningful with their lives for others. And for Christians, they want to do something meaningful for God. Those passions and ideas are not only NOT listened to, but often ignored by leaders who either had other (same-as-always) strategies or NO meaningful strategies whatsoever. THIS is, in large part, why we left. We are passionate. We have ideas and plans that are proven to affect growth and change. We are leaders, influencers…(aren’t we all, in some capacity?!). We began to believe that we could make a greater impact OUTSIDE our local and larger family of churches than we could ever impact within it’s paradigm.
- In the episode, I talked a little about those who are not “unwilling” but may be ”weak” in their faith…later I say they are “optically weak”, meaning they may not actually have been weak, but appeared to be weak to others, especially those in leadership. Well, I speak from experience on this one. A leader approached Kirk several times last fall asking how I was doing, wondering if I was “in step with us”. For whatever reason, I was being seen as “weak”, even though I had never been stronger in my faith. The difference was…I was vocal and strong and processing through my grief, anger, bitterness…and was coming out the other side. My strength, courage, voice was not seen as submissive and “in line” with the values of my church. I was renewed. Restored. I Reclaimed ME…More fully ME. This is not seen as “in step”, but rather “stepping outside” of the norm. Kirk was warned that he might not see me as I “really” am. This is called “optically weak”.