Different Journeys

My brother, sis-in-law and nephew dropped by for the day this weekend. As usual, my son and his uncle disappeared to play on the computer, while Sam and I talked up a storm (and tried to prevent little Ethan from systematically destroying the house - for which she apologized in advance as soon as they arrived! :) ).

And, as per the usual flow of conversation, we got onto spiritual matters after a while.

About a year back, that would involve tearing into the denomination we both grew up in, finding fault with this or that sub-group, wondering why they don't "get it" and telling horror-stories of how her parents have been treated.

But these days I'm finding it hard to talk to her about my journey. I've moved on from that (but am I prejudiced or enlightened?), and have been influenced by so many blogs, online articles etc. - which she simply hasn't seen. I delved into the emerging church - she hasn't heard of it. I find myself wanting to disengage bonds with any denomination and be simply "Christian" - she wouldn't dream of it. I enjoy being church-homeless, she longs to get another kind of church for the disenchanted going.

And to find common ground to talk about isn't easy when you don't see each other often! If we chatted every day, if she knew exactly where I was every time the wind shifted my sails a little, we'd have a starting point to our chats. She'd know where I'm coming from - I'd know where she's coming from. But right now it feels like we're virtual "spiritual strangers", trying to find a common language to express our desires, experiences and hopes for the future.

I guess it's a bit like trying talk to folk who have no reference to the life I've grown up with - the church-speak, the cultural innuendoes, the way my mind has been taught to think. Though I suspect talking to complete outsiders would be a hell of a lot harder than to my sis-in-law who knows me very well! :)

But then again, I talk to you lot every day, and you seem to understand me OK. Or am I just attracting "birds of a feather"? Maybe...

Anyway, this weekend taught me two things. Firstly, to keep in contact with family and friends more regularly so we all know where we're at. And secondly, that unlearning (more on that in another Church Thoughts post) may be more complicated than I imagined.

You know, in spite of our different journeys, I know we're headed toward the same goal - God. I guess there are many paths, after all.