Goodbye to the Ghetto
Not longer ago in our private Facebook group I shared that I was experiencing some grief. I feel like I’m losing something and moving on to a new place that is unfamiliar but not unpleasant.
I appreciate that some of you have reached out to me and have asked me how I’m doing. Let me be more specific about what I’m experiencing right now.
I’ve always felt marginalized by the church. Much of it is my fault. I realize that. I’m a non-conformist, and we are notoriously bad for the church. I don’t like toeing the line. And that just doesn’t work for church members or pastors either.
But I always felt like I was still in the game. Maybe benched much of the time. But still in the game. Or, in other words, I’ve always felt that even though I’m an irritant, I still felt I lived in the Christian ghetto.
Let me be honest: I’ve always felt like the bad boy in the family. Always up to mischief. I wasn’t doing it just to be bad, but just to be me.
Even last summer when I met with a couple of pastors, they encouraged me, as they said, because they “counted me among the prophets”. They said I was still in the game, as a prophet, and they are never welcomed in the center but are always marginalized, often rejected, and live in the wilderness the center exiled them to.
I’m not so sure this fits me anymore.
There are so many things living in the ghetto provides. It offers security, comfort, community, food, a common language, law and order, and more.
But now that I no longer feel like I’m a part of the ghetto… I’m not sure whether I was kicked out or left… and now it’s been over four years… it feels like the residue from the ghetto is wearing off. I’m forgetting it. The distance of time and geography between me and the ghetto is long and getting longer, and the ghetto’s provisions are no longer available to me.
So, this is what I’m grieving. The loss of those provisions. I do miss them. I do.
But it’s more than just missing its provisions. It’s starting to feel like my exile’s complete and permanent.
How to live in this new world as a free citizen? Well… I’ll let you know as I learn it.
Does anyone relate?