Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Past Is Always With You

I can live with a really crazy schedule for a good couple of months and be fine, but when I finally stop moving, my body and brain pretty much collapse.  I was in collapse mode yesterday, as I finally had an actual entire day off with no meetings or urgent work demanding my attention.  When I am in collapse mode, I do things like stay in my pajamas all day and barely move from the couch.  I'm not sure it's the most productive or even the most restful way to spend a day, but sometimes it's all I can do.

I counted yesterday a really fruitful day off because I actually turned on my computer, which I sometimes tend to avoid when I am in collapse mode.  Before you get too excited, this is not to give the impression that I actually did work on my computer.  I did sort through my inbox a bit, but mostly I puttered on Facebook.

Now, I have a lot of friends on FB, but I don't actually expect most of those 610 people to communicate with me.  Accepting friend requests is a courtesy, and also the contemporary version of an address book.  I like to know that if I need to get in touch with these people from the various times and places of my life, I can.  But I'm always surprised when people I haven't talked to in years actually use the technology to reconnect.

That said, a friend from college has recently started chatting with me on FB, and it's been good.  Odd, in the way of people who haven't talked in seven years or so, but good.  He and his wife (another college friend) came to my ordination, which seems like forever ago, which was cool, but we haven't been in touch since then.  They now live and go to church with a bunch of our mutual acquaintances, most of whom I haven't had any contact with since I graduated in 1999.

These are people from my short-lived fundagelical phase.  Some of them were very close friends of mine.  They were also some of the most judgmental people I've ever met.  They taught me how to read the Bible and pray, how to value and strive toward community.  They also taught me my first real lessons in rejection and estrangement.  We had some very good times.  By the end, things were not good.  My memories of them are so very mixed that, when they came up in conversation, I felt as shaken as if I were remembering one of those passionate but disastrous romantic relationships that are supposed to forever affect you deeply.

Clearly, these people are still with me.  When he asked what he should report back to them, about how and what I'm doing these days, my snarky side came out.  "You can tell them I'm exactly the horror they expected I would become.  I'm a liberal female pastor who borders on universalist and hangs out with the gays."  And then I thought, wow, I'm still a little bitter.  He answered me equally sarcastically.

"So, you're a nominal believer, still fighting against God's will for women to be submissive because of your crazy feminist tendencies, endorsing sin and heresy."  Pretty much.  This is the kind of language they threw at me back in college, except there would have been some mention of hell involved.  My bitterness is not without cause.

We got to talking about churches, comparing his small, independent house church to my large-ish, denominational church.  I have traveled pretty far from my evangelical days.  But then I saw something I had just typed: the phrase, "really get into the Word together."  Not exactly language that I use every day now.  Apparently, no matter how far I think I've gone, that part of my life is still with me.



  1. Language is ever fascinating -- especially who gets to use what. I use the phrase "the Word" rather often. And I'm UCC. But you knew that. I think it's even more interesting that there is only one way to believe and you're obviously wrong because of your "crazy feminist tendencies." I do believe that would make Jesus cry as he tried to create space in a rigid institution.

    Arg. Pass the wine.

  2. I use "the Word" reasonably often, but not so much in the context of "really getting into" it. That particular phrase is definitely a holdover from college. Anyway, there is a reason I left that group and rarely talk to any of them.

    Here, have some wine :)