Monday, November 2, 2015

Set out, Pilgrim


There are two types of people: those who like yard sales and those who don't. I put myself in the latter category. I tend to sort through and discard my junk all year long instead of waiting to purge all at once. It's too overwhelming for me to let it pile up.  

And with rare exception, I'm not all that interested in pawing through and/or purchasing someone else's junk. I want to hide in my house during the two weekends each year when Neoga holds their city-wide yard sales. I have collected some things over the years--knick knacks, glassware from my deceased relatives, gently used kids' clothing, etc. But I try to only add things that bring me joy or serve a purpose.

This yard sale attitude has served me well as an adult. I handle issues as they come up instead of stuffing them somewhere inconspicuous to be dealt with at a later date or when I stumble upon them again, whichever comes last. 

When I met my husband I was a practicing Catholic taking a break from church during college. He was a Methodist who figured he would eventually find his way back to church once he settled down. We had a lot of stuff between us when we married and had to sort through it all, mostly things from our childhoods like old sports trophies and porcelain clown collections. Some things I discarded with glee, others were harder to part with.

As we began to sort through our things, we had to sort through some deeply held beliefs, too. Where would we attend church? What makes us us? What belief systems do we keep and which do we discard? Is there anything we need to add to our pile?

I've been part of the launch team for Sarah Bessey's new book Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith, which is being released tomorrow (November 3, 2015). Out of Sorts was written for those of us looking for answers to yard sale-like questions: what stays and what goes? What should I take with me on my journey to knowing Jesus? 

Some of our beliefs will need to be discarded as we go, and they will be hard to part with. We may feel like we're losing part of our identity with their subtraction. Other times we'll light a bonfire and watch those beliefs burn in joy and relief. And we'll likely collect some new ideas as we sort through it all.

It is said that the church goes through a kind of holy rummage sale every 500 years. It's part of our life cycle of death and resurrection; the death of some old ideas makes room for new life and new energy. We're on the cusp of a Great Emergence, an idea brought about by the late Phyllis Tickle. This shift will likely set us off in new paths and directions as pilgrims in search of answers, just like our Christian brothers and sisters of the past. You are not alone in your wandering.

Bessey covers a range of topics including grief and loss, family and parenting, the Bible, community and friendship, justice, and calling. It is directed at those who have always gone to church and those that are sorting out their feelings about church (I recently wrote about that here). This book has something for everyone.

My hopes for today's pilgrims are summed up in this quote, part of Bessey's final chapter titled "Benediction":

I pray you would embrace your place in the Body of Christ, your right to learn and test, your right to read and explore. I know that sometimes it seems as if there is more room for wonder and delight, beauty and mystery and grandeur in astrophysics than there is in religion. That's because religion tells us that it's all figured out, there is nothing left to learn, here are the answers, so learn them. But instead, I pray you would be an explorer, you would recover delight and wonder and curiosity about your faith, about God, and about the story with which you continue to wrestle.

So set out, pilgrim, on a great spiritual rummage sale. Discard what needs discarding, set aside some things to ponder later, and gather near to you that which sets you free. I hope to see you along the way.

If you have been holding onto church hurts or are seeking answers to questions and need to give yourself permission to ask them, please pick up a copy of Out of Sorts

Better yet, let me send you a copy! To enter the giveaway, comment below with your answer to the following questions (the more comments you leave the more entries you get): 

What is the best thing you found at a yard sale?
What do you wish you had never given away?
What is your ideal yard sale purchase? 

**Contest ends Monday, November 9 at midnight.**



7 comments:

  1. So lovely and well said, Christina - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Trampoline 25 bucks
    Linage of Grace book
    Designer items at dirt cheap prices

    ReplyDelete
  3. another great yard sale find my 20 buck lap top with windows 7 on it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. April, you win! I'll get it to you this week!

      Delete
  4. The best thing - children's books for my classroom!
    I wish I had never given away my large yellow care bear. I'd love to share it with the kids.
    I'd love to find some vintage sheet music.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just reading this for the first time, but still going to post. I think I'll look into the book too!

    1. Best thing - old electric edger for $10 about 23 years ago.
    2. Given away - (actually sold) the trumpet my Grandfather bought me to play in school.
    3. Nothing - I really don't need anymore junk in my life

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just reading this for the first time, but still going to post. I think I'll look into the book too!

    1. Best thing - old electric edger for $10 about 23 years ago.
    2. Given away - (actually sold) the trumpet my Grandfather bought me to play in school.
    3. Nothing - I really don't need anymore junk in my life

    ReplyDelete

 
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