Monday, July 25, 2011

Transition Reflections

Been feeling more private lately. Some big transitions. Not pastoring (professionally) anymore. Moved to Camas. Heather will be back to Teaching in the Fall. I've been giving myself a lot of permission to just take the Summer off (outside of my parental and domestic responsibilities). I guess this post is sort of the I don't really know what to say post after some big changes in our life. It's felt awkward. How much do I say? How many times can I have the same conversation? How public should I be? I tried to end my most recent pastoral call with integrity and grace. I can only pray that I was mostly successful in that.

I was talking to a pastor friend of mine who said it took her seven years until she had recovered from one particularly painful church pastorate. Seven years to be able to talk about it without getting defensive and then dumping on someone the whole painful experience. Seven years to find some objectivity. I don't know. Maybe I'm fine. Maybe seven years from now I will realize how difficult it was and I will find objectivity. I don't know. I was talking to some friends recently about my experience and she told me to stop being so nice, to stop defending the church. Honestly, I don't feel particularly hurt or burned. Maybe I do feel a little more jaded. A little more skeptical and cynical about church, politics, change, institutions, power. I always was a little cynical...but that's healthy right?

I saw some of our friends from BFC recently at our yearly Friends conference. I knew I was going to. I wondered how I would feel. Would it be awkward? Would I feel sad, glad, shame, disappointment, resentment? Some of the interactions felt more like joyful reunions. Most of the interactions were pretty superficial, which was fine for me. I didn't feel any really strong emotions. I was glad to see people. But it was a little bazaar... kind of like running into an ex-girlfriend. Everyone's smiling and being polite, but in that smiling and politeness nobody is saying how much things have changed, nobody is saying all the obvious, important, real things. What's the point really? I also saw many of my colleagues. Some were curious, some surprised, some didn't know what to say. I could see that they were wondering what had happened. Who broke up with who? What happened? We thought you guys were great together. Some wanted to know what I was up to now. What was my plan. I would shrug and say that I was playing with my kids, and going on lots of walks. Some thought that I was being funny or intentionally vague. Some tried to hide their embarrassment for me. Others smiled and nodded their silent validation.

I sat through that nights worship time and felt dry. The music team was great, but I had a hard time wanting to sing along. What was my problem? Did I doubt my own sincerity? The sincerity of the group sitting around me? Next, the the keynote speaker, our Superintendent, preached a great message. He talked about the body of Christ, community, unity that transcends diversity - all the powerful, inspiring, idealistic things that would usually stir me...and almost did.

Thanks for letting me process a little with you all, in such an odd public way. We'll see how I do getting back to my regular posting. I do want to reflect on a few things like: our families camping trip, how I got a scooter, my ten year reunion... etc.


  1. Brad, glad to hear that you are enjoying some time with your boys and allowing yourself to process what you have been through recently. We miss you guys and hope that all is well. Just read a book recently that helped sum up what Aaron and I think the church should be and thought you might like's called "Organic Church".

  2. Brad - thanks for sharing. I think your openness and honesty will go a long way in continuing to help in your transition. I'm really glad to have you be a part of our community too and trust that God will aid in the healing process.