my (short) story

Now, a little about me.

I think back. What led me here? There’s childhood. A well behaved pastor’s kid though my father wasn’t a pastor but something more—a praying carpenter, a spiritual giant, a minister in his own unique way. I was like him, until l wasn’t. I wanted to be like him, until I didn’t. Even into adulthood my original spirituality is a gravitational force. Whether I want it or not it pulls me in, seemingly against my will at times. I’ll never escape it, for which I am now thankful. It’s as it should be—what I come from, the family history.

Yet as I grow older, little by little I move further away. If I was once the closest planet, like Mercury, now I’m the furthest, like Neptune; still, never free from the gravitational pull. I’ve literally traveled around and across the world, though I can’t say whether to leave my heritage or be closer in my own way. Much of it was an effort for God, whose image of course bore something of it. I wanted to please God, even if or when it wasn’t “me”.

As I became more my own person into my twenties I still retained much of the same idealism, romanticism, and expectation (much of it spiritual), even when I permanently moved away from my roots to Montana. I had shed the old skin partially, but not completely. In this new home I gradually started doing more for myself without attaching as much spiritual significance or performance to it. Still, I wanted to be in ministry, the ultimate pinnacle of what I thought I wanted—or God wanted. It was the gravitational pull still at work, I then a middle planet like Mars or Jupiter. It didn’t take too long, after I got what I wanted, to realize it wasn’t what I wanted after all. The ultimate ideal was less than ideal. After so many years of trying to be someone else, it was being on staff at a church that finally broke me down and laid me bare. For too long I had tried to be two people, or someone else entirely. So I left. In some ways I’m now less spiritual and a worse Christian, though I’m a much more honest one, at least on the days I can still call myself a Christian at all.

And yet the irony is that the more I live an honest life—doing what I love and being who I am as best I can in the present without endless attempts at making it “spiritual” or “Christian”—the more spiritual (and sometimes Christian), or at least authentic and exciting and full of life, and yes, dangerous and risky and unpredictable, it is. And the more I sense a loving Presence woven through it all. My faith is less vivid or obvious perhaps, but more penetrating; less defined, but more inclusive; less certain, but more open. It’s something more than it was, even if not as clear or understood. I had a lifetime of spiritual information, and where did it get me aside from giving me someplace to start? At the end of knowledge the real work begins.

This is a short version of the story. And this is where I am now. Though not everyone will understand or agree with where I end up, it may resonate with some in their own experience.

I mainly speak not to those spiritually secure and confident—the insiders (of whom I am slightly envious at times), but to and for those who aren’t—the outsiders (whether spiritually insecure and without confidence, or who no longer care at all). I speak not to those who believe easily, but to and for those who don’t. I speak not to those who have found and need no more, but to and for those still searching, no matter what they already hold. I can’t tell you what defines the difference, or why it’s easy for some and hard for others. There are countless factors. But I do know which camp I belong to, and the ones with whom I most resonate.

It took me a long time to get here. And now that I’m here, I won’t hide my true colors.

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