Dear sleeper,

I am writing to you from across a divide you don’t know exists. You feel awake, but you are actually sleepwalking. The good news is the alarm clock is about to sound. That is also the bad news.

Right now, you view spirituality as a linear journey, with correct interpretations, right answers, and clear mile-markers for growth. You have heard rumblings about “liberals” and “those who have walked away from Jesus”, and you’re comfortable in that dichotomy because you believe you’re with the good guys.

Soon, though, all around you will be lit up, yet simultaneously immersed in inky-black darkness. You will find what you once gripped tightly has become slippery, and those you looked to as wise will be exposed as biased. It will be disorienting, not just to your path but to who you are.

Don’t rush it.
Don’t avoid it.
Don’t fear it.

Stare into the flames as the fire devours all you knew so you can see what is Real. Because there is the Real, there is the Divine, but it has been co-opted and diseased, and those manipulations are what need to be burned away.

Seek voices to speak wisdom in the void left by those you once trusted, and make sure the new voices come from a variety of cultures, experiences, socio-economic statuses, perspectives, time periods – basically not you and not the voices of dominant culture. You will find that many “liberals” and “those who have walked away from Jesus” are not what they were made out by others to be, and have rich contributions and insights the Church needs. Trust the Spirit within you to guide you in discernment, rather than allowing others to again place ill-fitting doctrines and expectations on you.

Please, talk about this painful process! Don’t hide it. You need others to know what is happening, to encourage you when you need it and to sit silently with you when you just need to lament. Don’t isolate or hide – others are experiencing this, too, and they need to know they aren’t alone.

There will be new life. It seems like the ground is scorched and infertile, but it is not. It is making room for something entirely new, something fragrant and delicious in ways that could not exist with those weeds and corruptions of old. Be patient in the release, and receive so you may expand.

When you are finally and fully awakened, you will see the new life all around you. You will grieve what once was, but you will no longer be able to connect with it. Let it go and move forward in liberation you have never known before. I’m giving you permission to do so.

With deep love,

Your future self, The Reconstructionista

 

Jessica S. Marquis is the founder of Milkweed Ministries and the author of Raising Unicorns. She is working on a memoir about faith stuff.

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